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

Pesach comes from the word "to skip" or "jump." G-d "skipped" over our houses in Egypt when smiting the first-born. But the Pesach season does not give us the right to "jump" to conclusions when judging others. Take the case of ...

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The countdown was on. One more week until the Seder. Our cleaning and searching for chametz was right on schedule. We had been working hard for two weeks — cleaning closets, pockets of clothes etc. We were going to my in-laws’ for Shabbos Hagadol to avoid the danger of spreading challah all over the house. My in-laws would be spending Yom Tov with us and wouldn’t need to do as thorough a cleaning.

As I was contemplating how everything was running so smoothly, the phone rang. It was a close friend from out of town. "We’ve been invited to your area for all the Shabbos meals, but we need a place to sleep." This was a big test for me. Everything was going so smoothly! Why take a chance on someone bringing chametz into my home? Then I remembered a lecture I heard about Pesach, that one of the reasons that the Jewish People went out of Egypt was because they made a covenant to perform chessed (kindness) to others.  I said yes, but on condition that they not bring in any chametz. Before Shabbos I reminded them again: "No chametz!"

We left Friday and returned Sunday night. Entering the house, we noticed crumbs on the floor. It wasn’t coconut macaroons. It was bread crumbs. How could they do such a thing!

Suddenly I remembered! Our next door neighbors left the country that day, and I had told them that if they had any food left, they could leave it in a certain closet in our house. I told them to please be careful to put it in a bag. I went straight to that closet and sure enough, there was a bag of chametz. I noticed a little hole in the bag.

When we judge favorably, we protect the innocent.

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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