The Far Side of the Story
Judging favorably means finding excuses for questionable behavior. When we find ourselves suspecting others, we must ask ourselves: Are there any redeeming factors? Did I miss something? Did I jump to the wrong conclusion? For instance, take the case of...
THE SABBATH STROLL
Moe and Lenny are strolling home from shul one Saturday morning. Suddenly a cab speeds past, and their friend, Irving, is running frantically behind it, flailing his arms wildly.
"Well," said Lenny, "I never imagined our good friend Irving was a Sabbath violator! Look at him running for that taxi."
"Wait a minute," Moe replied. "Didn't you read that book I lent you, The Other Side of the Story, about the command to judge other people favorably? I'll bet we can think of hundreds of excuses for Irving's behavior."
"Yeah, like what?"
"Maybe he's sick and needs to go to the hospital."
"Come on! He was running 60 miles an hour after that cab - he's healthier than Arnold Schwartzenweis."
"Well, maybe his wife's having a baby."
"She had one last week."
"Well, maybe he needs to visit her in the hospital."
"Well, maybe he's running to the hospital to get a doctor."
"He is a doctor."
"Well, maybe he need supplies from the hospital."
"The hospital is a three minute walk in the opposite direction."
"Well, maybe he forgot that it's Shabbos!"
"Of course he knows it's Shabbos. Didn't you see his tie. It was his paisley beige 100% silk Giovani tie from Italy. He never wears it during the week."
"Wow, you're a really observant Jew! I didn't even notice he was wearing a tie."
"How could you not notice? Didn't you see how it was caught on the back fender of the taxi?"
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