My family gathered together at my brother's kever as we do every year. We had just started the tefillos when someone's cell phone rang.
Why didn't they put their phone on silent? I thought to myself.
I turned to see whose phone just rang. It was my mother's. She picked up the call.
Why is she picking up the phone?? She knows we are at the kever now. My mother, of all people, should know that now is not the right time or place to be on the phone.
As I listened to her side of the conversation, I understood exactly why she left her ringer on and why she picked up. At my brother's kever. She was expecting this call. Someone had called to give her a name to daven for. I could tell from my mother's response that the person on the other line also mentioned something they would be doing as a zechus for my brother's neshama.
It's so easy to jump to conclusions. We see people doing things that look or seem strange and we guess and wonder. Even when we know it's so not like them to do that.
We need to try, instead of judging favorably, not to judge at all. Think I don't know why she did that. But knowing her, she must have had a good reason. If it's too hard not to judge at all because your brain is already on a little road trip, then try to come up with excuses for why the person may have done what they did.
A great way to work on this is to turn the tables around for a minute. Think to yourself, if this would have been me, what would be my reasons for doing that? It's so much easier to come up with excuses for your own behavior than to figure out why someone else may have done something.
There are so many dan l'kaf zechus stories. So many times, you are just missing one detail and if you had that little piece of information, the whole story comes out differently.
Something came up one morning and I was going to be late for work. I sent my coworker a text message letting her know I'd be late and another one later when I was on my way. There was no response to any of my texts but I assumed things had been busy and she didnt get to respond.
Later that night, she told me that after her battery died and she charged it, she turned her phone back on and a whole bunch of messages popped up on her screen. She had been wondering why I never let her know I'd be late to work that day...and there was her answer. I did let her know but she never got my messages.
She knew it was so not like me to roll in to work so late without letting her know in advance. She didn't jump to conclusions but she just wondered what was up and why I acted in a way that was a little less than responsible. It took a little time...and then she got her answer.
Sometimes you'll guess and you'll be right. Right on the mark for the reason the person acted that way. Other times you'll never know the real reason. But as long as in your head you are seeing things positively and if you are wondering you are judging favorably, you are doing good.
Just remember: there is so much you don't know. There are so many details to the story you may never know. Try to look at people and situations with a positive eye. Come up with excuses for others-the same excuses you'd come up with for yourself if you were in the same place.
You will be doing a world of good for yourself and for the people you come in contact with. You will be more positive when you are not pointing fingers and getting upset with people when you may just be missing one small detail. And those around you will enjoy being in the company of someone who is pleasant and positive.
May you always be able to view things in a positive light and refrain from judging people and situations in the wrong way. May working on this make your own little world a happier place to be.