From the Archive: Rabbi Avigdor Miller's handwritten replies to questions from a letter writer.
Thanks to Sam Gindi for sharing this letter.
Text of the letter:
Dear Rav Miller,
Could you please explain to me the laws of "הוכיח תוכח את עמיתך"
To help others understand how to improve. Only for decent persons.
What is our obligation?
Only for those that will not rebel or seek to harm you.
How far do we go?
We must avoid hurting, unless urgently needed, and will help.
How do you weigh this law with the great obligation of getting along with people?
Most people are unwilling to be set right, so we avoid them in a polite way. The less that we associate with them, the less we are obligated to criticize them. The מסילת ישרים states that the company of such people imposes obligations that are difficult to fulfill.
There is an entirely different subject: Protest against evil. To speak up, not to set the evildoer right, but to defend the truth so that the public should not think that the evil is good. This sometimes requires risks that must be weighed.