A Torah Minute: Lesson Learned In Shul

By Rabbi Moshe Katz

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Jewish tradition says we need to give people the benefit of the doubt.
We need to judge them favorably.
And I once really blew it!
Big time!
What happened?
I was in shul for Maariv.
We were about to begin the Amida.
And out of the corner of my eye?
I noticed the fellow next to me adjusting his smartphone to the right angle.
And I thought to myself…
“This is really getting out of hand. 
Do we always need to be looking at our phone?
At the dinner table?  In the car?  Walking in the street?
Even in shul!”
And I felt bad.
I knew I shouldn’t be judging another person.
Especially him!
Because he’s a person that I respect very much.
But it did seem compelling!
… After we finished the Amida?
I noticed his smartphone again.
He had a list on the screen.  And it looked like it was Hebrew.
I realized what it was.
And why he was positioning his phone as he began to daven.
It was a list of Hebrew names of people who are sick.
Because of this special person?
Doesn’t just pray for himself and his family.
He gets beyond his own needs and thinks of others.
He prays for people who are ill!
… After davening I approached him sheepishly.
I confirmed my theory.
Apologized for jumping to conclusions.  For judging him.
I thanked him for reminding me not to do that.
And I thanked him …
For teaching me how to daven!

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