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    Judging others favourably – K’doshim

    The sidra of K’doshim is said by the Talmud (Shevu’ot 30a) to be the source of the ethical principle that we must judge other people favourably: The sidra says b’tzedek tishpot amitecha, “Judge your fellow fairly”.

    The temptation is to write someone off without realising all the facts of the case. Looking for extenuating circumstances in others puts everyone and everything in a new light.

    This is a way we can emulate God (Lev. 19:15).

    When we ask Him for forgiveness, we pull out all the stops to persuade Him to be kind and merciful even if we don’t really deserve it. The Talmud actually makes this point when it says, “He who judges others favourably is himself judged favourably by God” (Shabbat 127b).

    There is a teaching in the Sefer Mitzvot Katan that says that when we see the good points in another person we see ourselves in a new light. We see other people’s good points and we hope that other people see our own.

    Of course we realise that we are far from perfect and this stimulates us to improve our own deeds and attitudes in case other people look for our good points and can’t find them.

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