|The Torah Connection-Avot-Chapter 3-Eggs Or Cheese|
|Written by Rabbi Yaakov Shlomo Weinberg|
On Embarrassing Someone In Public: “… Hamalbin p’nei chaveiro b’rabim (one who embarrasses someone in front of others) … ein lo chelek l’olam habo’oh (has no portion in the future world).” That he has no chelek in olam habo’oh is only if he does it time and again, not if he only does it infrequently. Yet we see from there how awesome even a one-time episode is. In fact, Chazal tell us regarding the episode of Yehuda and Tamar,
“It is better for one to throw himself into a fiery furnace rather than embarrass someone in public.”
Yet people often transgress this precept, not so much out of maliciousness but because of non-thinking carelessness.
Eggs or Cheese
Some friends of ours went on a vacation trip to Switzerland shortly after their marriage. They stayed at a kosher room and board lodge. At breakfast, which everyone ate together, my friend had some eggs. A little later he thought he would have some cheese also. At this the baalebusta (owner [fem.]) called out bifnei aam v’eidah (in front of nation and congregation – an expression), “Eggs or cheese, cheese or eggs. Not eggs and cheese, not cheese and eggs.” My friend’s face turned several different colors. He had been unaware of this “policy.” It was not a malicious act that the baalebusta did. It was unthinking, perhaps uncaring. The dollar she saved cost her much more than she realized.
It’s a sensitivity one needs to cultivate and be on top of. It happens more times than we may realize.
1 Avos chp. 3, mishna 15
2 Genesis 38: 13-26
3 Rashi ibid 25; Sotah 10b