Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.

Constructive Criticism Part Two - A Positve View of Your Criticism
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

  Rated by 2 users   |   Viewed 10321 times since 4/28/10   |   2 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend


To begin with, you, as the parent, need to have a positive view of your guidance, since your viewpoint is subconsciously communicated to your children. Think of tochachah as a gift that you are giving your child. But bear in mind that it will be in all likelihood an unwanted gift—at least temporarily—because few people take pleasure in listening to criticism. Your goal, therefore, is to deliver this gift in such a way that it is accepted, even if it is not appreciated at that time.

Many years ago, I heard Rabbi Shlome Wolbe z’tl describe children as little adults—as he put it, “kinderlach zenen kleineh menschen.” Although they are small, children still have feelings just as we adults do. And just as we would be, they are hurt if we present our criticism in a non-constructive manner. Therefore, make sure that your gift of tochachah—even if less than pleasant—is delivered in a positive manner.


One summer I was teaching a group of fifteen-year-old students at camp. When I went through the roster on the first day of class and I called out the boys’ first and last names, one student corrected me with a harsh tone of voice, “My name is not Shloime; it is Scott.”

I was taken aback by his words. I wanted to say to him, “Not that there is anything wrong with the name Scott, but what do you find offensive about Shloime? What’s wrong with Shlomo? You have a beautiful Hebrew name. Why not use it?” I was also quite upset by the tone of his voice. But I stopped myself and thought, “This is the first day of class. I have eight weeks to learn with this child. I would like to teach him Torah, middos, and how to be a proper Jew. He doesn’t know me yet, so whatever message I give him today will probably be lost. So, this is not the time for tochachah.” In all honesty, this child was not my talmid at that time; he was just a child sitting in my classroom. I felt that I would do a better job getting my message across after I had developed a relationship with him.

I did get the message across later in the summer, but on the first day, it clearly was not the time.

Sometimes, delayed criticism comes across much better. But it takes a lot of self-discipline not to give into a knee-jerk reaction. When we see something wrong, we feel the urge to respond immediately. And without a doubt, it is good to correct wrongful behavior on the spot—if we can do so in the right way. But there are times when our closeness to the situation is such that we’re not in the best position to deal with the problem right away. In such a situation, it might be wise to say nothing, or to say, “I am upset with what you did, and for this very reason I don’t want to discuss it right now. We need to sit down and talk about it, and we’ll do it when we both had the time to think calmly about what happened.”


I personally learned this lesson from a renowned Talmid Chacham of the previous generation. I witnessed him do something that made an unforgettable impression on my life when I myself was a teenager.

A child in a sleep-away camp was sent home for a serious infraction. The Rov called the boy’s father and told him that he was putting his son on the bus, so he should arrange to pick him up. With the father listening over the phone, the Rov then delivered a very strong rebuke to the boy. Then he gave him a blessing and told him to leave. But, as soon as the camper was out of his office, the Rov called the father back and told him, “Your son is devastated. I gave him all the bitter medicine he needs. You don’t need to give him any more tochachah. What you need to do now is to embrace this child and help him to get on the right road again.”

To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.

Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:              Rated by 2 users    (2 comments)
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.

Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593