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The Other Side of the Story - Giving People the Benefit of the Doubt

Judging favorably is a mitzvah that can bring a strained relationship ...

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This past summer, a friend here in Israel asked if I knew anyone coming from England. His Kenwood mixer had broken and he wondered if I knew anyone coming from England who could bring one. (Kenwood mixers are considerably cheaper in England where they are manufactured).

It just so happened that my sister from England was due to come to Israel in just a few days; so, I told my friend that I would ask her if she would bring a mixer.

Shortly thereafter, I bought a fan in Jerusalem to make my sister's stay more pleasurable, as the heat had been quite stifling! As I was not going directly home that evening, I asked this friend, who is also my neighbor, if he would take the fan home for me.

Now, my friend and I both live in a suburb 20 minutes away from Jerusalem. We both study in a "kollel" (yeshiva) in Jerusalem, and a minibus takes us directly to and from the kollel. Therefore, I did not think it would be a major imposition on my friend to ask him to bring the fan home for me.

He felt it, indicated towards his briefcase as if to say, "sorry, got my hands full already," and asked if I could ask someone else!

"What chutzpa!" I said to myself. This "friend" expects me to ask my sister to go out, buy him a 13 pound mixer and shlepp it across the ocean; yet he won't do me a favor and carry a fan across the street!

The next day my friend came over to me and apologized for not helping me. He explained that around a year ago he had done his back in and had had to spend a month in bed, and that was why he had to be careful!

G.W. Israel

The Other Side of the Story Archives

Based on "The Other Side of the Story" by Mrs. Yehudis Samet, ArtScroll Series

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