Today, I read something amazing about the Rebbetzin (Chaya Mushka, OBM).
She avoided shopping trips. Not just out of a lack of vanity, or materialism (though I’m sure this applied). Not to avoid attention (once again, this is relevant, but not the real reason). But because she felt that if she went shopping, other people would feel awkward and like they had to treat her specially. She was denying herself a basic habit, out of consideration for others embarrassment!
I think we can all learn from this.
The Torah places great emphasis on avoiding the humiliation or embarrassment of others. So does the Talmud, and the Pirkei Avos. It’s an important message- to humiliate your fellow in public is worse than killing him. Anyone who’s been humiliated publicly probably agrees with this statement!
The Rebbetzin OBM took this to the next level. While you or I might struggle to hold back a snide comment or the opportunity to make fun of someone, she was so aware of the prohibition against humiliation that she even avoided going shopping. And, yes, we all know she was a private person, but this is quite clearly devotion to an important value.
While I’m not asking anyone to cut back on the shopping trips (Heaven forbid!), I am asking everyone to think about the way they act towards others, and follow the Rebbetzin’s example.