Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thoughts on Parashat SHOFTIM

Photo: Miriam Woelke


“Judges and Justice !” An important Jewish concept is to judge everyone favourably. 
However, there are situations in life when I feel that certain people just use the concept for their own purposes. Suddenly you know that when a person is doing such and such that you cannot carry our any “Kav S’chut – Benefit of a Doubt”. The dilemma is that if you say something other people may accuse you of speaking “Lashon HaRah – Slander” and remind you of your “Kav S’chut” duty. 

On the other hand, there are plenty of situations where others see you doing something but the situation itself causes them getting the wrong impression. I am giving you an easy personal example: I hardly wear skirts if I don’t have to but for frum Jews, women in pants are automatically secular. Other frum Jews regard us people living in Tel Aviv as leftists, totally secular, anti – religion, pro – Palestinian and eating pork all the time. Usually people making those claims only know Tel Aviv from a few brief visits. 

The questions comes up whether you should justify yourself once being “caught” in a questionable situation and explain others the real reason and background or if justifications are not always necessary. I can say for myself that already a long time ago, I have decided that I am sick and tired of justifying myself. I have stopped carrying about what people think of me. Maybe because I live in a big city where no one really cares.

The month of Elul grants us a great opportunity to sit down and think about what we have done, how we have dealt with situations and how we see ourselves. I have done so within the past few days and was surprised how I sometimes considered something in my life as so important and later on, it turned out to be a short period in life; just in order to pass through and me continuing with something else. People I have met and how we lost touch. Plenty of missed opportunities and too much time I have invested into projects and people what turned out to be a waste of time and thought. But this seems to be the way of life.:-)

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