Dear Friend,

You see a person with a dirty face, torn clothing, and a sign that says “Will Work for Food,” and you might assume the person is homeless, jobless, and is not very interested in work or food.

We may hate to admit it, but it’s normal to judge people. Most of us do it all the time, to just about everyone.

In this week’s chapter of Ethics of the Fathers, we find a teaching of Hillel the Elder: Do not judge your fellow until you’ve stood in his place.

How can we possibly do that? Think of it like this. Suppose someone told you that the guy with the “Work for Food” sign was an actor. Suddenly you realize that your previous assumptions were all wrong. Under the grime and rags lives a person you hadn’t even bothered to look for.

The truth is that every one of us is an actor. We may act rich, poor, wise, foolish, proud or humble. But none of that defines who we are. We really are our G‑dly souls.

With that in mind, it’s all that much easier to take a step back and see that we may not know the people we think we know.

The Editorial Team

P.S.: Have you ever misjudged or been misjudged? We’d love to hear about it. Please share your experiences in the comments section.