> Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > Kindness Hacks

Don’t Just Criticize, Help

Yitro (Exodus 18-20 )

by Shoshanna Dresner

Yitro saw that his son-in-law Moses was judging the entire Jewish nation by himself, and understood that this was not good for Moses, nor the people. He points out to him, "The thing that you are doing is not good…" (Exodus, 18:17).

It would have been easy for Yitro to stop here, to see something not going well, to criticize, and then move on. But he continues and tries to help by offering a constructive suggestion: "…I will advise you…"(ibid, 18:19).

The Sifre explains that Yitro’s advice caused an extra section to be added to the Torah (which is why one of his names was Yeter – which means extra), and explains that the added section begins with his advice on how to make the situation better, rather than the beginning of the conversation. Rabbi Meir Shapiro explains that merely criticizing someone does not merit the adding of a section in the Torah. But constructive advice – that is worthy of a section!

How often do we just find fault with the actions of others and are quick to criticize or complain, and leave it at that? We don't actually try to help.

It can be easy to point out problems, but a giver will not just stop there. A giver sees someone struggling, notice something going wrong, and works on finding a solution.

Adapted from Love your Neighbour by Zelig Pliskin

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