by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
As he begins to give the Children of Israel rebuke, Moshe says: “The Almighty, the G-d of your fathers, should add (to the number of your people), similar to you – a thousand-fold” (Deut. 1:11).
Why did Moshe add the words, “similar to you” when giving them a blessing for increased multitudes?
Rabbi Leibel Eger explains that since Moshe was reproving the people for their errors, he wanted to make sure that they would not feel depressed and discouraged by his criticism. Therefore, he told them that he did not consider them to be evil, but rather there should be a thousand-fold more just like them!
Our lesson: If we need to admonish someone, then the goal is for them to change. To do that, the person must feel good about himself and feel that you value him. Therefore, 1) don’t condemn the person 2) find something positive to praise 3) gently show the person the negative results of his behavior 4) set out the benefits to him for changing his actions. Anyone can make a person feel awful; it takes a real artisan to build someone up.