I saw that the Tallelei Oros brings from Reb Yerucham in the דעת חכמה ומוסר that the mitzva of Hochacha is primarily one of explaining, demonstrating, showing the other that what he did was wrong. It is not limited to preventing him from doing wrong in the future. He proves this from the story of Yonasan's reproof of his father Shaul for his hatred of David. I wasn't so nispa'eil from that proof, but not having seen it in the דעת חכמה ומוסר I don't know what else he says there.
But later I realized that he has to be right. We already know that there is a din of Arvus/Areivus, that makes us liable for the sins of others that we might have prevented- the failure to prevent or to protest creates a dinei shamayim liability similar to aiding and abetting in dinei adam. We learn this from the passuk in Devarim 29:28 that says הנסתרות לה' אלוקינו והנגלות לנו ולבנינו עד עולם. What does our passuk of Tochacha add to the general din of Arvus? It must be that Arvus only requires our intervention to prevent future aveiros, while the din of Tochacha adds an obligation to help our friends see that what they did in the past was wrong, even when there is no reason to think they will repeat that action.
Our Parsha also contains the passuk (19:32) מפני שיבה תקום והדרת פני זקן ויראת מאלהיך אני יה, which is the source of our mitzva to show honor to Talmidei Chachamim. A few days ago, two members of our community came over to me and expressed surprise about a story in the Gemara (Bava Metzia 84b) regarding Rebbi Elazar B'Rebbi Shimon:
The story in Bava Metzia is echoed in Rashi in Sanhedrin 44b, who says the following:
They were wondering why a bystander would be obligated to mix in to someone else's conversation.
I think it is clear that there are three dinim that obligate us to mix into other people's business and protest their disparagement of a Talmid Chacham:
- We are obligated to honor Talmidei Chachamim. The Gemara tells us that the honor of a Talmid Chacham is comparable to Kvod Shamayim, and the Gemara in Nedarim 7b says אמר רב חנין אמר רב השומע הזכרת השם מפי חבירו צריך לנדותו ואם לא נידהו הוא עצמו יהא בנידוי- one who hears another say Hashem's name in vain is obligated to excommunicate the malefactor, and if he does not, he himself ought to be in Cherem; the positive requirement to honor Hashem demands that you stand up for Kvod Shamayinm. Silence, indifference itself, is inherently disrespectful and transgresses the mitzva. I assume the same applies to Kibbud Av V'Eim and to Mora Mikdash;
- the din of Arvus, which creates a parallel between a failure to prevent or protest and participation,
- and our parsha's din that we may not stand silent when we hear about or see the transgression of any issur.