Last week’s stretch of the week was: If you call someone by a nickname, check with them this week to make sure that they are okay with your calling them that. If someone is calling you by a nickname that you don’t like, let them know in a kind way that you don’t want to use that name anymore.
לא תונו איש את עמיתו
Lo Sonu Eesh As A'mi'so
Do Not Hurt Another Jew
The Torah teaches us that we are not allowed to embarrass another, Lo sonu eesh es a'mi'so – “Do not hurt a fellow Jew” (Vayikra 25:17).
Rachel’s True Performance
My name is Goldie, I’m in the sixth grade, and I can’t wait to tell you my story. Ever since second grade, my best friend, Rachel, and I wanted to be in the Shira Girl’s Choir. Everyone knows that only sixth-graders and above are allowed to try out, and only the good singers make it in. Landing a solo in the Shira Choir is also pretty competitive. Not everyone can get one, period.
Well, G-d blessed Rachel with a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice. My voice varies. Sometimes it sounds like a recorder blown a bit too hard; other times it sounds like a flute. Rachel and I laugh about it, but the truth is, when I really practice singing, my voice has potential.
You can imagine how really nervous I was when I tried out, but a week later I was accepted into the choir. Both Rachel and I had solos and a duet to end the concert. Some of the other girls didn’t land solos, and I heard that they were a bit jealous of me. I ignored some of their comments. I just kept on working to get ready for my part.
When the concert finally arrived, the auditorium’s seats were filled. The concert began, our choir danced and sang, and the audience loved it.
And then came our turn at the end. I dragged myself, weak legs and all, out front and grabbed my microphone and looked at Rachel, who held hers. I shook but took a deep belly breath. And then I heard a little burst, almost like a balloon popping.
I noticed that my microphone stopped working. Rachel sang, and when it was my turn, I sang into nothingness. No one could hear me. My face turned beat red, and I looked over at Rachel. She smiled and continued, then turned to face me. I stood there completely stunned and wanted to be buried under the stage, never to be seen again.
I looked to face some of the other girls, who just shrugged their shoulders. Maybe I didn’t deserve this solo. But that’s when Rachel ran next to me, handing me her microphone toward the end of her solo. Now it was my turn to sing, and she was to sing again after me. She stood with my broken microphone while I stood and sang clearly and beautifully into her perfectly good one. I couldn’t believe it. Rachel was
giving up a bit of her solo to help me sing mine. I closed my eyes and sang as beautifully as I could, and then I put my arm around Rachel, and I tried handing her back the mike. She leaned into it, but let me hold it, and we ended with a duet that sounded mostly like my singing.
I was shocked. I stood on stage frozen, not knowing what would happen next. My eyes moved out to the audience, which was standing and clapping for us. “What?” I thought. “They really liked our song, even though we messed most of it up.”
And then I saw how Rachel actually saved me from embarrassment by giving up her solo for the sake of mine. That night as I stood there smiling, I realized how lucky I was to have such a sensitive friend and how together we had shown the audience much more than anyone had thought possible.
The Torah teaches us that we are not allowed to embarrass another. How praiseworthy it is then to save another from embarrassment.
Story published in the Baltimore Jewish Times, March 27, 2014.
Why is it so important to save someone from embarrassment
How would embarrassing someone be like murder?
What are other ways we can help prevent others from being embarrassed?
Stretch of the Week:
Be on the lookout for opportunities to save someone from embarrassment. (Examples: Perhaps a friend is wearing a shirt with the tag sticking out--privately tell them, or help them tuck it in with permission. Or maybe you notice a friend with food on their face after a meal, or hair sticking up that they missed when brushing.) These are all opportunities for you this week to help save a fellow Jew from embarrassment.