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"He's Is A Really Neat Guy.....Woops I Take It Back - He Is Not. I Mean He Is But I'm Not Sure If I Can Say So."

Normally we will ask regarding a certain act if it is a mitzva or not a mitzva. Alternatively we will ask about a different act if it is an aveirah or not an aveirah. Seldom do we ask about the very same act if it is a mitzva or an aveirah.

Here is one such question. The Gemara in Erchin [16] says that one should not praise someone else because it might lead to lashon hara. Yet, the Rambam [deos 6/3] says that if one praises ones fellow man it is a fulfillment of the mitzva of "Love your neighbor as you love yourself".

So should I compliment other people or shouldn't I?

Maybe complimenting a person on a certain specific act rather than a general "He is amazing..." comment, minimizes the "yes, but..." comments

You are supposed to compliment a kallah and tell her how good she looks even if she is really ugly.

Besides כיצד מרקדין being a separate דין, where one could say it applies despite what people would say, the practical reality dictates that it doesn't relate to this discussion - when you are in front of the כלה praising her to her חתן no-one there will object. Because a) that's just disgusting, and because b) that undermines their חיוב of being משבח.

In this case, as in most, both are correct. No extreme is good (no praise or full praise), so know the audience and definitely make sure not to exaggerate (above and beyond the normal problems of דברי הבאי etc.). From a different perspective, praise doesn't always have to be verbal.

Dear Yehuda and Will -

I wasn't talking about praising a kallah [that was a previous post]. The question applies to every person [like you guys who will never be kallah's].

Sorry Will - That is what you were saying.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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