Text replacement - "S"A" to "Shulchan Aruch"
Embarrassing another person is one of the most severe prohibitions in the Torah. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most often violated. It is essential to learn the Halachot of [[embarrassing others]] in order to avoid causing this terrible pain to others.
= = Source of Prohibition
There are two possible prohibitions that one violates when he or she embarrasses another.
In addition to violating the above prohibitions, anyone who embrasses another is also failing to fulfil the Mitzvah of V’ahavta L’reach Kamocha <ref> Vayikra 19:18. </ref>.
= = Punishment = =
There are three opinions about whether someone who embarasses somone else receives the punishment of Malkos (lashes):
# The Sefer HaChinuch says there is no punishment of malkos for [[embarrassing others]] <ref>Sefar chinook</ref>
Punishment in the World to Come
# The gemara says all who descend into Gehenna (hell) eventually leave. Except for one who publicly shames his neighbour. <ref>R. Hanina in Bava Metziah 58b</ref>
= = Atoning for Embarrassment = =
In order to achieve full repentance for sinning, one must undergo a complex process of asking for forgiveness. The steps of the process include: <ref> Rambam, Hilchot Teshuva Chapter 1</ref>
# First acknowledging, then regretting one’s sin. # Privately confessing the transgression to God.
# Devoting oneself to not committing a similar transgression in the future.
# Make amends with the person you have transgressed against.
# You must try to appease your friend at an opportune time, or until he agrees to listen to you. You must then feel you friend’s pain in your heart and resolve not to embarrass others. Finally, if one embarrasses you in the future, you should not feel upset, rather you should view it as fair. <ref> Sefer Chassidim 54</ref>
# One should give gifts to the person they oppressed as a means of making amends. One should give [[Mishloach Manot]] to the person on [[Purim]], or confront them before [[Yom Kippur]] when they’re more likely to listen. One may also have friends help him lay the groundwork for his apology. <ref> Reuven, Rabbi Nitzan Kitzur Hilchot Smirat HaLashon</ref>
# “If the humiliation took place in the presence of others, make your apology in their presence, as well as in private. Otherwise the victim has the right to say, “You shamed me in front of others, and now you want to apologize in private. Bring me all the people who heard you embarrass me, and then I will accept your apology.” <ref> Yalkout Shimoni, Hosea 14 </ref>
= = Giving up
your life = =
The Gemara compares embarrassing someone in public to killing them<ref>Gemara Bava Metziah 58b</ref>. Murder has a special status in Halacha. It is a subject of debate if the comparison the Gemara makes between embarrassing and murder is meant to be taken literally with implications for Halacha or not.
Two comments in the Gemara seem to suggest that the comparison should be taken literally.
# When the Jewish people asked King David “what manner of death befalls he who has relations with a married woman?” David quickly replies “He is executed with strangulation, and then receives a portion in the world to come; however, one who shames his fellow in public has no portion in the world to come.” As you can see from king David is it “Better for one to have relations with a possibly married woman than to shame his fellow in public”<ref>Gemara Bava Metziah 59a</ref>.
# When Tamar, Yehuda’s daughter in law, is accused of adultery, to save herself she privately gives Yehuda a hint that she is pregnant with his baby without embarrassing him publicly. As you can see from Tamar is it “Better for one to hurl himself into a fiery furnace rather than shame his fellow in public” <ref>Gemara Bava Metziah 59a</ref>
On the other hand, some later commentators assume that when the Talmud makes comparisons between an act and some other much worse act (such as comparing stealing to murder or comparing disrespecting the [[Chagim]] to Avodah Zarah) the comparison should not be taken literally <ref>Rabbis Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Zvi Ashkenazi and Yaakov Etlinger as cited by Feldman, Daniel Z. “Emotional Homicide: The Prohibitions Of Embarrassing Others In Public”</ref>
In the following five instances Rabbis have argued about the implications of taking the comparison between embarrassing and murder literally<ref>All five are discussed in detail in Feldman, Daniel Z. “Emotional Homicide: The Prohibitions Of Embarrassing Others In Public”</ref>:
# Can you violate [[Shabbat]] to avoid embarrassment just like you can violate Shabbbat to avoid death?
# Is a kohen who embarrasses someone prohibited from ascending the duchen to say Birchat Kohanim just like a Kohen who has murdered someone is?
# Are you allowed to give permission to someone to embarrass you or not just like you are not allowed to give someone permission to kill you?