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Monday, March 20, 2017

Judging favoraby


This is a footnote I just wrote for Likutay Moharan - Torah-lessong 282 Azamra:

Judging favorably is actually one of the 613 commandments according to the count of Maimonides. However it is important to note that the matter of judging favorably as discussed throughout the Oral Torah by the Sages, refers to when there is doubt of a person's standing, if he did something wrong or sinned, then one is obligated to refrain from assuming the face value of what the person ostensibly did or is, rather one must give him the benefit of the doubt and even if the odds are extremely against him, one must stretch and reach out to figure some justification for the person in question which exonerate him and maintain his innocence and good standing. Here, in this Torah-lesson Rabbi Nachman is revealing a new construct and practice of judging favorably, that is, even when there is no excuse for a person's conduct, one must not the person at all by that bad which he did, rather one must judge the person by some favorable point he has. Elsewhere Rabbi Nachman himself uses the standard understanding of judging favorable, e.g.. in Character – The Alef Bet Book of the Traits, Rabbi Nachman says it is forbidden to judge a wicked person favorably and one who does so is wicked, and that it is forbidden to judge homose*uality favorably, that is referring to trying to find justification for the persons conduct, to that end Rabbi Nachman warns that in certain cases it is forbidden to do so, whereas here Rabbi Nachman made it very clear, in the actual Torah-lesson and in other talks pertaining the lesson, that he is addressing even the most wicked sinner, not to judge his general conduct favorably, but to find some point of good to look upon and associate with him and judge him with that favorable angle.

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