I would like to propose a new law whereby one can predict the efficacy of tokhekhah (rebuke or admonishment) based on the volume of tokhekhah delivered.
Tokhekhah refers to the biblical commandment from Leviticus 19:17 – “Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.” In other words, one is supposed to admonish a peer if she is doing something wrong.
But as Rabbi Tarfon said (in BT Arakhin 16b): “I wonder whether anyone in this generation could accept reproof, for if one told another, ‘Remove the pick from between your teeth,’ the other would answer, ‘Remove the beam from between your eyes!’”
Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah sadly concluded: “I wonder whether anyone in this generation knows how to reprove.”
And yet, in each generation, we strive to achieve this lofty goal because there are, sadly, many who are thoroughly reprovable. But, in each generation, the reprovable, more often than not, prove unmovable.
Hence my law, simply stated:
The more admonishment piles up on an individual or a group, the easier it is to ignore.
So, as the tokhekhah-filled blogposts from North American rabbis pile up (there are so many, one can hardly keep track of all the links being passed around), one wonders if gleefully linking to them indulges in another sin, the one of schadenfreude.
I must admit that I, too, have indulged.
So what is to be done now that the Torah from Zion has well been brought, and the word of God has been dispatched to Jerusalem and its exurban environs?
I suppose all there is to do now is wait.
And call the police when necessary.