Find Your Good Points!
Likutei Halachos on Parshas Devarim
Translated by Dov Grant
Devarim 1:1 "These are the words that Moshe spoke…"
The fundamental of rebuke must stem from an aspect of the shir shel chessed/song of loving-kindness. This means that the rebuke must turn towards chessed/loving-kindness in its aspect of “azamrah lei’lokei be’odee” (“I will sing to My G-d as long as I live”), as Rebbe Nachman writes in Likutei Moharan 282.
The intent is that every one of us must find, both in ourselves and in our fellow, some merit and good point, as hinted in the verse (Psalms 37:10): “And in a little while – and there is no wicked one…” This actually puts the person into the merit side of the heavenly scales, meriting repenting.
Even if someone’s intent is just self-reproof, nevertheless he must be very careful how he does it and not get depressed by his own harsh words. Remembering his evil deeds can weaken his mind and cause utter dejection, G-d forbid. Therefore, he must be careful to incline towards loving-kindness and, come what may, search well for his own good points.
He must chide himself with a chessed orientation, fortifying himself regarding Hashem, trusting in His enormous mercy. He must understand that the chessed of Hashem can overturn all his evil deeds into merits, even if he has been a very great sinner for an extended period of time. For the chassadim/kindnesses of Hashem are great: “For His mercies never end or get spent”, and “chessed and great redemption is with Hashem”
The rule is: A person must rebuke in a way that will cause fortification and arousal to Hashem, rather than in a way that weakens a person’s spirit, causing a further downward slide, G-d forbid. We only merit such rebuke through the tzaddikim of the generation, who are an aspect of Moshe Rabbeinu, meriting an aspect of shir shel chessed.
Orach Chaim Hilchos Tzitzis 5:7