October 14, 2009 4:55 pm at 4:55 pm #590574
I am trying to build up zechusim I want to try and find the good in everyone. I thought in this thread we could help each other do just that.
I went to a new shul on Simchas torah. During hakofos near me was an 8 year old girl and after her was an older lady. After about 2 hours the older lady got a bit rough and began to push the girl. I eyed the lady because I was a guest was not sure if I could say anything. After 10 minutes she pushed the girl off her seat and brought in her own grand daughter to that seat. I am still trying to find the good in the older lady. Any ideas?October 14, 2009 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #662610
There is good all over the place.October 14, 2009 4:58 pm at 4:58 pm #662611
The 8 year old girl was there to help the old lady in case she needed something. After 2 hours, the lady thought it was too long for such a young girl to be “on duty” and she tried to get her to leave, but the young girl refused to leave until the lady’s granddaughter arrived to take her place.October 14, 2009 5:00 pm at 5:00 pm #662612
There could be plenty of good in the lady, even if that particular act of hers had no good.
Try separating the person from the act. Sometimes good people do bad things…and vice versa.
The WolfOctober 14, 2009 5:01 pm at 5:01 pm #662613
Yes, she’s a nut, so don’t worry about it.October 14, 2009 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #662614
Wow. I have no words for a person who would start a thread like this.
I know this isn’t very good, and I’m not sure if she (the older lady) asked her to give her chair or what, but maybe her granddaughter for some reason needed the chair. Also maybe the other girl was another granddaughter and she wanted it to give up the chair for her sister/cousin.October 14, 2009 5:16 pm at 5:16 pm #662615
Nope. What the grandmother did was pure rishus. Not big time stuff but rishus just the same. Limud zechus – maybe she is troubled or ill and not a reshois, but still this should not happen.
I had something even worse happen where the relatives of a mentally disabled man plopped him down in my expensive MBC concert seat as I had been slightly delayed, and then disappeared. The man did not understand English, Yiddish or Ivrit (or was told not to respond). Worse yet, my back was strained and there were no other seats; otherwise I might have been OK with dancing in the aisles for a bit before taking care of the issue. Finally, I found the man’s relatives and demanded that he be removed.
I told the relatives that they were turning a tohor (the man is not mechuyav in mitzvos and is considered on a higher level) into a gonif. They did not even react or apologize.
Sometimes, rishus is just that. There are times when we must say “shygetz aross”!
Even if the granddaughter were chas vesholom disabled I would expect the woman to ask the first girl or her parents to give up the seat. You don’t touch someone else’s kids except to help out, period.
I don’t know what I would have done had the relatives of this man asked me to trade seats after the fact (probably would have refused as it was geneiva any way you slice it but they did not even offer me another seat and I have no idea what the story was as this was way back and security may have been loose enough to let someone sneak in).October 14, 2009 7:59 pm at 7:59 pm #662616
While I understand the difficulty in dealing with this situation–
How old was the older lady? Perhaps she suffers from some sort of dementia. (Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form, but not the only one.)
In some cases, the dementia can manifest itself in cruel or aggressive behavior.
Many times, such behavior was not shown by the individuals before they became ill.
Any number of people who have been around patients suffering from dementia knows exactly what I am posting about. We need to remember that such behavior is not the people’s fault. They are not responsible for their actions. while those actions can be difficult to tolerate, we must do so as a caring society (and especially as a society of Torah Jews.October 14, 2009 8:18 pm at 8:18 pm #662617
Regardless, we are not suckers and we don’t have to be taken advantage of regardless of someone’s real or imagined medical or psychological condition. If she took the seat for herself I’d also suspect illness. Holding it for her granddaughter is rishus and selfishness plain and simple.
I was pushed once in shul by a mentally ill man in Montreal and he later showed up in 770 and tried to do it again (not smart because he would have been handled by the community patrol had he so much as touched me). Why was he in shul in Montreal or able to get on a bus or train and get to 770? Because the misguided gabboim did not want to have him committed since it was hard to arrange kosher food for him in “Creedmoor d’Montreal”. Instead, others had to suffer from his violence.
Another misguided wannabe ohev Yisroel in Moscow managed to arrange for the release from psychiatric incarceration of an halachic shoiteh (we could not count him for minyan, plain and simple) who did not know where he was but did manage to burn down his apartment with his mother inside. Oh, how he loved seeing the Shabbos lights burning in shul – and we were very afraid he would burn the shul down too.October 14, 2009 9:03 pm at 9:03 pm #662618
I made no diagnosis–I offered an hypothesis that “tried to find the good”, as was requested by the original poster. Perhaps if everyone would do that instead of looking for the bad in the world–we would all be in a better place.October 14, 2009 9:16 pm at 9:16 pm #662619
Thank you Mr Obama.
No, sometimes there is just no revealed good in a situation and while it is hard to brand anyone, especially a Jew, a rosho, there are acts of rishus out there. (Actually tzibur is tzadikim, benoinim, reshoim so we do not exclude even out and out reshoim from the klal*). As such acts go, this is a very minor one, but rishus is what it is.
*The Admou”r meCreedmoor, whose Yeshiva veMachon leRishus trains the next generation of reshoim and reshoiois, explains that we need a supply of same so that we can be mekayem the posuk “ubeavoid reshoim rina,” where we spread joy as we rejoice in the passing of the reshoim who he is so carefully training. Since all his talmidim are phantom anyway and he kills off a few million a year for death benefits and life insurance payouts, he allows us to do this with no real loss of life, ensuring him a real chelek in Oilam Haba, or at least a chelek in the reshoim section of the Muslim cemetery in Chevron, known as Shechunat haAravim haTovim al pi the graffiti written on its walls.October 14, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm #662620
Joseph, I see I have finally gotten across to you.October 14, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm #662621
Pashuteh, I always held there had to be some good in you. 🙂October 14, 2009 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm #662622
A600KiloBear: Have you ever read Hanoch Teller’s book “Courtrooms of the Mind”? There are a lot of scenarios in the book in which you would be hard-pressed to dan the person l’kaf zechus, and in the end there are reasonable explanations for seemingly “obvious” aveiros.
Even if a person turns out to actually be doing wrong, it is still a mitzva to judge favorably.October 15, 2009 12:04 am at 12:04 am #662623
Joseph, do you think there is any good in me? LOLOctober 15, 2009 12:05 am at 12:05 am #662624
It is very important to judge people favorably but until when there is a line of being a fool and judging people properlyOctober 15, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am #662625
You said older lady, but didn’t give an age. However, it is very possible she was either hallucinating or experiencing a situation of post-traumatic stress. She was gripped with fear and pushed the girl away in order to be calmed by a familiar face, or to protect her granddaughter. Everyone has their own issues they deal with from the past. I am sure YOU would never want HER baggage, and she wouldn’t want yours either.October 15, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am #662626
estherh- Try saying tehilim for the woman that she can change. Hashem will help you with your efforts.October 15, 2009 1:17 am at 1:17 am #662627
“Joseph, do you think there is any good in me? LOL”
Yes, yes, most certainly! I see much of it.October 15, 2009 1:29 am at 1:29 am #662628
nobody answer my questions, where do we draw the line? JUDGING GOOD or being a foolOctober 15, 2009 3:17 am at 3:17 am #662629
mazca, in my opinion there is no element of “being a fool” in this case, because a favorable judgement only changes how one views the elderly woman (assuming estherh does not encounter her again). But in general, I don’t think judging favorably requires one to expose himself repeatedly to negative situations, especially if someone feels threatened physically/ emotionally/ mentally.
I remember learning a vort on the words “Tamim Tiheya in HaShem Elokecha”, you should be “simple” with Hashem–this means that one should be trusting with Hashem, with simple, unquestioning emuna. The vort I heard in the name of one gadol is that this is telling us that we display this simple emuna towards Hashem, but not towards other people. If I recall correctly, this vort is from the Chafetz Chaim. It seems to me that there’s a powerful lesson to learn here: even the Chofetz Chaim, who epitomized ahavas yisrael, believes that we should recognize that other people aren’t perfect, and protect ourselves as necessary.October 15, 2009 3:42 am at 3:42 am #662630
We read these stories about how wrong we were to think a certain way so many times. for example there is this story of a counselor in a sleep away camp on visiting day who was standing and greeting all the campers parents when a strechted limo pulled up in front of the bunk house. The counselor said to himself who is this guy coming here in a limo driving up to the bunk house rather than the parking lot, and he said okay time to meet some mean nasty rich guy.To make a long story short it was one of the campers father who was deathly sick and on his death bed and he really wanted to see his son and he didn’t want to come in an ambulance so they had him brought to see his son in a limo.October 15, 2009 6:36 pm at 6:36 pm #662631
anon for this Thanks for your beautiful explanation. I love it.October 15, 2009 7:10 pm at 7:10 pm #662632
Maybe she forgot to take her meds that day? We should be impressed at the length of time that she was able to control herself for. 😉October 15, 2009 8:17 pm at 8:17 pm #662633
The older lady was probably in her early seventies. She seemed to be quite normal. The girl she pushed away was no relation to her.
Another scenario: While backing into a parking space, someone who I know suddenly grabbed it from the other side….
another scenario: Being told how good it is that I have become redundant…
Help me find the good??October 15, 2009 9:07 pm at 9:07 pm #662634
Your welcome mazca! Sometimes I feel that nobody reads my posts, so it’s nice to see such a rewarding response.
estherh, I think that in some situations “seeing the good” means that we should recognize that everything comes from Hashem, and is therefore for the best. But in my opinion it’s all right to also acknowledge that we cannot currently recognize the good in a particular situation, and that Hashem doesn’t expect that we will always be able to do so. And as I posted before, I think we’re also permitted to protect ourselves from repeated encounters with negative people.October 15, 2009 9:12 pm at 9:12 pm #662635
anon. I couldn’t agree more. I doubt it is our function to try to fabricate some far-fetched story for every event. We just need to tell ourselves that there may be a valid reason for the seemingly wrong behaviour and we are not to judge the person unavorably.October 15, 2009 9:40 pm at 9:40 pm #662636
LeiderLeider…, when learning about the halacha of dan l’kaf z’chus I asked my teacher if one is required to imagine even the most farfetched circumstances in order to be m’zakeh someone. For example, if I get on the bus laden with packages, & another frum person doesn’t offer me a seat, do I have to assume that she c”v has a degenerative nerve disease or broken leg that isn’t visible? Or is it enough to assume that she’s had a very difficult day, & is too exhausted to bring herself to get up? I was told that the latter is sufficient, if I would exonerate myself under the same circumstances.October 15, 2009 9:47 pm at 9:47 pm #662637
What practical difference is there anyway which of the two ways you used in your example you utilize to be dan lkaf zchus? It seems to me there should be no difference.October 15, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm #662638
Estherh maybe the lady in the parking lot was running late and had to pick up her kid somewhere.October 15, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm #662639
Joseph, perhaps there is no difference for you, but for me the second is easier; sometimes the first is impossible for me. So I was pleased to learn that this is sufficient.October 16, 2009 2:38 pm at 2:38 pm #662640
Joseph. The practical difference (at least for me) is that if I would need to cook up an elaborate story each and every time, I will eventually tire. I just know that a time will come when I won’t have the mental energy to deal with it.
If all I need to do is disregard it, by saying to myself that I am not in a position to judge the person simply because I don’t know the circumstances and the whole story, this will allow me to keep up this middah throughout the rest of my life (hopefully).October 16, 2009 3:16 pm at 3:16 pm #662641
Leider: I like your answer.October 18, 2009 8:19 am at 8:19 am #662642
estherh, In reality, for many people, it is hard to “try” to find the good in every situation they may come across. My only advice/input I can offer you from my experiences in such occasions, is to “let it go.” If someone takes your parking spot you were intending on using, take a deep breathe, say a little corny joke, and sing a little ditty, and drive off to look for another spot. Forget about them, and the parking space.
Bad things happen, and are going to happen, but if you are consumed by the situation, You will suffer, and not the perpetrator. All that will happen is your stress level will go up, or your day may be ruined.
It’s easier to type this on a keyboard, or say, but try it a couple times, and you will find yourself to be happier and content. Remember, there will still be days where you will obsess over a negative situation, but only look at those days as a hiccup, and not the real you.
I wish you luck!October 18, 2009 3:45 pm at 3:45 pm #662643
To add to what yoshi said above, I find it helpful in those type of situations to say to myself, “This is just a test from Hashem. The person who did this is just a shaliach. If I were on camera right now, how would I react?”
In fact, I heard that that is the rationale behind forgiving everyone who has harmed you in the “Ribono Shel Olam” before krias shema al hamitah. Why would we forgive all who have harmed us during the day? It is an expression of emunah. We are acknowledging that it was sent by Hashem, the person who actually insulted us, etc. was only a shaliach.
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