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 Five - Setting a Personal Example
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

  Rated by 5 users   |   Viewed 10893 times since 5/5/10   |   4 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend




Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch, zt”l, offers an insightful point regarding the well-known statement of our Sages: K’shoit atzmecha v’achar kach k’shoit acherim, “Criticize yourself [first] and after that [you can] criticize others.”[i] The phrase is traditionally understood to mean that one should reflect upon one’s actions and self-evaluate before having the temerity to criticize others.

Rav Hirsch says that the first time that the term k’shoit is used in this phrase, it is related to the Aramaic word kushta, meaning “truth” (as in alma d’kshoit – the world of truth; a reference to the World to Come). In other words, be truthful with yourself before rebuking others.

Effective tochacha only occurs in an environment of intellectual honesty. Rav Hirsch implores us to look at ourselves honestly before we address the faults of others. We transmit best to others what we believe in ourselves.


Many years ago, when I served as an eighth-grade rebbi, I had the pleasure of teaching a grandson of Rav Shimon Schwab zt’l. At the bar mitzvah of my talmid, Rav Schwab zt’l related a beautiful dvar Torah on the topic of parents as role models, which he later published in his sefer Ma’ayan Hashoeva. He used an incident that took place in the months preceding the birth of Simshon Hagibor (Samson) to illustrate his point.

The Navi (Shoftim 13:3) relates that an angel came to Shimshon’s mother and told her that she was going to have a special child, who would be a nazir. That meant that for the boy’s entire life he would live as an ascetic—he would not be able to drink wine, cut his hair, nor come in contact with the dead.

When the woman related this incredible episode to her husband, Monoach, he prayed, (Shoftim 13:8) “Yovoi no oid ailaynu v’yoreinu mah na’aseh l’nar hayulod – Dear G-d; please send the angel to us again, and teach us what to do with this special child who will soon be born.” The angel then appeared to them a second time and told the father, “Mikol asher amarti el haisha tishomeir – Whatever I told your wife (the first time that I appeared); that is what you should do.” The angel then shared with Monoach some halachos about nezirus. Upon hearing these instructions, Monoach expressed his gratitude to Hashem for the additional directives.

Rav Schwab asked, “What additional guidance did he receive during the second visit of the angel?” Didn’t Monoach trust his wife? Why did he need the malach to repeat his instructions? And if, in fact, Monoach needed assistance as to the laws pertaining to a nazir, could he not have read them directly from the Torah?


Rav Schwab offered a fascinating interpretation as to the request of Monoach and the response of the angel. He explained that Monoach was troubled by the fact that he was being asked to raise a child with a set of halachos that he would not subscribe to. He asked Hashem, “How can I raise my child as a nazir when I myself will be drinking wine? How can I possibly be mechanech my son when I am following a different set of rules?”

During the second visit of the angel, said Rav Schwab, the angel told Monoach, that he, Monoach, should also assume the role of a nazir. Mikol asher amarti el haisha tishomer – YOU should do all that I told the woman. Hashem agreed that Monoach would have great difficulty raising a child with different standards than he himself would ascribe to, and instructed him to take upon himself all the stringencies of a nazir.

Setting a personal example is the most effective manner in which to transmit our beautiful traditions and value system to our children.

[i] Sanhedrin 18a

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 5 users    (4 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