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 Four - A Chance to Make Amends
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

  Rated by 2 users   |   Viewed 11005 times since 11/22/06   |   3 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend



When giving criticism to our children, it is important to offer them an opportunity to do teshuvah—a way to make amends, to right the wrong. It is important to tell our children what they did wrong, but it is equally important to tell them how they might make it right.

More than twenty years ago, at the age of twenty-two, I was a rookie rebbi, teaching a challenging class of eight-graders. With the help of Hashem, things worked out well, but it was, shall we say, an interesting year.

At Purim time when the students were a little bit restless and in a mischievous spirit, I got a complaint from the proprietor of a local fish store whose business was just around the corner from the yeshiva. It seemed that two of my students had rolled a smoke bomb into his store just as he was in the midst of preparing orders for Shabbos. It was a disaster. The store was filled with smoke, and all the customers came running out; his entire day was disrupted.

From his description, I figured out who the perpetrators were. I called the fellows out of class and spoke to them. I said, “Look gentlemen, it seems to me that you two guys were involved in last week’s activity at the fish store.”

To their credit, they didn’t deny it.

I said, “Look guys, you need to accept responsibility for what you’ve done. Here are your choices: you can get punished or you can try to make amends. If you choose punishment, you will probably get suspended or expelled from school.”

They pleaded and begged me for a way to make amends. I suggested that they “walk a mile” in the shoes of the store owner—that is, go into the fish store for an hour that Friday morning; put on a pair of gloves, and prepare orders for Shabbos.”

They looked at me stupefied. “Rebbe, come on!”

I said, “Look guys, I don’t think that you have any idea how hard this man works to provide for his family. I think that working there for an hour will give you perspective and allow you to make amends for what you have done. If you don’t want to do what I am suggesting, that’s fine. I’ll just play this one by the book.”

They talked it over and decided that my approach was far better than punishment. I explained to them once again that after they do the work for an hour, they will have a better understanding of the damage they had caused by disrupting the man’s hard day at work, and that would be a giant step on the path to their teshuvah.

After school was over that day, I took them to the store and introduced them to the owner. We made an appointment for Friday afternoon. As it turned out, but by the time Friday came, many of the kids in the school knew about our arrangement and began playfully ridiculing them. My talmidim begged me not to humiliate them, now that it became public knowledge (and they were getting orders from their classmates for fresh fish!).

So, I had rachmanus (mercy) on them. I told them that instead of working, they could buy the fish store owner a gift from their own money. I insisted that they devote some time over the next few weeks to earn some money and use it to pay for their gift to the man they had wronged. They bought him a $25 gold pen and pencil set, and inscribed a card to him. The fellow was satisfied and impressed with the sincerity of the children.

The point was, of course, that these boys had a significant consequence for what they had done, and I do think that this resolution offered them an opportunity to right the wrong that they had done.

And, while the vast majority of misdeeds do not require creative solutions, our emphasis as parents should be on constructive consequences – with an opportunity for sincere teshuvah.

© 2005 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved

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    (3 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