16 Heshvan 5767, November 7, 2006

Pay attention, open up and allow HaShem to speak His Words of Living Torah directly into your mind and heart...
By HaRav Ariel Bar Tzadok. Copyright (C) 2006 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.

Which is better, to confront a wrongdoing, or let it go unchallenged?  Which is better, to confront one who selfishly hurts others or to ignore the behavior and move on?  Which is better, to speak out or shut up?  In order to answer these questions, let me first ask you some more…

Do you want to change what is bad and make it better?  Do you want what hurts to stop hurting?  Do you want to heal that which is sick?  Do you or do you not want a better world?  If you answered no to any of these questions, then we have nothing further to share.  You are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

If you have answered yes to all the above questions, then we have more to learn and to do.  Just remember, it is not the learning that is essential, it is the doing that counts.

How do you expect what is bad to be made good if you are not willing to do it yourself?  How do you expect what hurts you to stop hurting unless you take personal action to ease your own pain?  How do you expect to recover from your own illness unless you personally follow a course of required healing?  How do you ever expect the world to become a better place unless you contribute to making it so?

It is all too easy to sit back and complain how bad things are and how poorly people behave and at the same time do nothing to help correct the problems.  For it is when we sit back and do nothing that problems persists and even get worse.

It is only when we make the efforts to pursue what is often uncomfortable and unpopular confrontation that we bring to public attention a wrong that needs to be addressed.  Unless the individual is willing to stand out from the crowd and be different, to be outspoken, to complain and yes, to confront, nothing will ever change; nothing will ever get better.

Sometimes it is right to yell; sometimes it is right to confront another directly to their face and demand their response.  Although this may lead to some heated exchanges, sometimes such exchanges are necessary and the right thing to do.

Today, most people are afraid of confrontation.  Most people do not like to fight.  This is too bad.  For those who shy away from necessary confrontation and a justified fight are sure to be beaten.  Freedom and what is right only survive because of those willing to fight for them.

Therefore, when you witness a wrongdoing, you should be aroused to indignation and motivated with passion to yell, scream and do whatever is necessary to bring attention to the issue.

When you witness someone’s selfish behavior that is hurting another, you should indeed confront the person on the spot, in that place and at that moment.  Challenge their selfishness, expose them, and embarrass them if you must.  Believe me this is a good thing to do, one that is blessed by Heaven. 

Make the selfish party face their selfishness and respond.  Let them choose publicly, right then and there to behave either as unselfish human beings or like selfish animals.  Let them and everyone else around witness the choice that they make.

We must learn to confront.  We must learn to challenge.  We must learn to fight, not with fists or bloodshed, but rather with confrontation and admonition.  Only when we confront that which is wrong can we create the opportunity to make it right.  Only when we speak out and expose hypocrisy and demand change can we ever expect change to come.

If we do not do it, who will?  Do not wait for Heaven to act; Heaven is waiting for us.

Shalom, Ariel Bar Tzadok

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