Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mussar: iThink - Judging Favorably (Avos 1,6)

Rav Hutt

  (הוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות (אבות א, ו

Innocent until proven guilty.  This fundamental precept rings so loudly in the courtrooms of the Western world, that it echoes in our hearts as well.  Albeit similar, there is a Jewish code of conduct which conveys an extra degree of nuance – beyond the assumed absence of guilt.  The creed to 'judge your neighbor favorably' encourages us to attempt to perceive the presence of positive behavior.  The primary objective is to foster a mentality of searching for favorable explanations of another's actions.  Ironically, the judgment itself is of secondary concern.  The same way that we desire to see ourselves positively, imagine a world, a county, or a culture where everyone wanted to see the good in his fellow.  We all know that we tend to see what we want to see.  If we want to see people in a favorable light, it will naturally follow to see them that way.  This is not just a code of conduct – in fact, it's our code of life.

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