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Jul 21, 2023Liked by Rabbi Jack Cohen, EdM

Rab, so is there a healthy space for blame? if so, where and how?

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Hi Kevin, I'm happy you're pushing back. My understanding is that blame and guilt are heavy, damning emotions, which even if they can lead to some good, generally have way more negative side effects. Responsible parties need to feel responsible and see what they can do to make a situation they were responsible for better. Feeling guilty will only make them temporarily miserable until they feel that they have sufficiently expiated their sin, and then will likely repeat their mistakes because a) they didn't do anything productive to change, and b) they have seared the label into their identities that they are "guilty parties" i.e. "bad people." And naturally, bad people do bad things. Blaming others usually will not get them to take responsibility. It will only make them get defensive, and possibly offensive as they fire shots back at you who accused them. Please keep pushing back if you have thoughts on your mind!

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Jul 28, 2023Liked by Rabbi Jack Cohen, EdM

Hi Rab, Thank you for your response. I do have a follow-up. So, don't we have any sort of responsibility to help kickstart that process of taking responsibility in someone else, i.e. pointing places where the other party might have dropped the ball (only if they do not show any initiative to assume any responsibility and, after having accepted our part of the responsibility)?

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We do. It’s the mitzvah or “Tochecha,” rebuke. But it is known to be one of the hardest mitzvot to fulfil precisely because blaming is so easy and helping someone else come to have enough clarity to take responsibility for themselves is so hard, and requires so much compassion to do without getting rejected.

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