This weeks Parsha is Parshas Kedoshim. In the Parsha, there are a tremendous amount of commandments, including some of the most basic and important ones. One of these commandments is “Btzedeck Tishpot Amisecha” – Judge your fellow man favorably. (Levitcus 19:15) This is a very important concept. When we see an action done by someone else, we are obligated to give them the benefit of the doubt and to assume what they have done is correct. Our Sages teach us that the way we “judge” others when we form an opinion regarding their actions, is the way that we will be judged in Heaven regarding our own actions. “One who judges his friend favorably, will be judged by Heaven favorably. (Talmud Shabbos 127). What does this mean? Why does Heaven have to decide how to judge our actions? Is there any sort of doubt in heaven regarding our actions?
Rav Avrohom Pam, zt’l, explained that there are often within the same deed that we do various factors and motivations. There is no clear only reason we have done it. Part of the motivation was good, and part of it was bad. How does Heaven look at this mixed bag? That all depends on how we looked at others. If we gave people the benefit of the doubt, and judged them favorably, then in Heaven they also give us the benefit of the doubt and judge us favorably. If not, then we are looked at in an unfavorable manner.
How do we enable ourselves to judge another Jew favorably? The root of this, Rav Pam explains, is love. Why is it that we are always ready to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt? Because we love ourselves. The more we can attain real love for a fellow Jew, and feel for him or her, the more we can enable ourselves to look at them and judge them favorably.
When we hear something about someone else, we must realize, how often is a detail missing? How often were things said with a different tone or manner? Even if what we heard was exactly what happened, could there have been extreme circumstances that caused this action?
The bottom line is, if we can elevate ourselves to fulfill the mitzvah of loving another Jew, and caring for them properly, then the next step of judging them favorably should be sure to follow. If we can open ourselves up to this, who knows how much blessing we can usher in upon ourselves and the entire world!!