Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Trying to Judge Favorably

I read an article in a magazine this month (no, I'm not telling which, because that would be Lashon Hara), which struck a bad chord in me.

The article was about seeing things from two sides, from both angles, and realizing the different perspectives involved.

It seems that a group of students asked a question about the fact that elderly people get on at the later stops of a long bus route, and then expected the young students to give up their seats for them for the duration of the bus ride. These students felt it was too hard to stand up for an hour bus ride, and they felt that the older people were being "unfair" by even getting on the bus, knowing that the younger generation would have to get up for them.

The article spoke about seeing things from several perspectives, and came to this conclusion:

"The older people really should not get on the bus if there are no available seats. However, if they do get on, then the younger people must vacate their seats for them, at least for part of the ride."

Huh? So, talking about Israel, how could you know if there are no seats on a bus in advance? And that the elderly should walk to earlier stops to get a seat before the young and strong? And, the author is saying that the elderly should feel guilty about getting on? And that the young people have a point as to not getting up for them? I thought that was a mitzva, and we should get up for those who are older than us.

I know that I've gotten up many a time. I've even stood while pregnant, simply to give another person who needed it more a seat. I'm lost and confused.

Someone please help me judge favorably?


Ezzie said...


Some people are just dumb.

harry-er than them all said...

no way, not justifiable

the rule of judging someone favorably is only when it has nothing to do with you. if someone wrongs you, you do not have to judge them favorably. If they wronged someone else, you should.

but over hear, the reason is just ridiculous. Young people who generally have more strength, should give up their seat for other people who are pregnant, old, and infirm. The same way no-one should park in a handicap spot.

Qtap said...

It is an interesting comment on the times, if you think about it. Even the miztva factor aside, the culture used to simply be that of respect for the elderly. Yet now, it seems more they are burdensome and bothersome. It's rather sad.

Lvnsm27 said...

It reminds me of what I heard in a shiur about there being a lot of chutzpah during chevlei mashiach.

Anyway, I agree with you that the young should have more respect for the elderly

Mikeinmidwood said...

what kind of stupid complaint is that? and then a stupider answer, get up and quit complaining.

nmf #7 said...

Ezzie- I agree. Can you believe this was written in a well known Jewish women's magazine?!

Harry-er- Really? You don't have to judge a situation favorably when it doesn't affect you? Interesting.
No kidding. I always felt that getting up was a privilage- after all, I had the strength, b"H to do it!

Qtap- Couldn't have said it better. Our culture needs a bit of changing if this is representative of it.

Lvnsm27- Chutzpah aside, this is just plain out wrong.

Mikeinmidwood- I'll give the author some small credit- he tried to see both sides. But it's wrong, true.

harry-er than them all said...

you only have to do it when it doesnt effect you.

The brayso in mesechta kallah says judge everyone as if they were armed robbers.

and the story it brings was there was a tanna who had a guest staying in his attic, and was worried that he would steal stuff and take off during the night. so he took the ladder away. in the morning he found the guests dead body on the floor, who tried to climb down the non-existent ladder.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't even have to be about respect - just about understanding.

I know I've felt annoyed standing on the subway seeing a little kid taking up a seat. But then I remember that the very young are easily tired too. Maybe these teens are tired from standing, but others are more tired. They should use their own tiredness to understand why they should be standing!

But on the respect issue, this is simply an intolerable way to think about older people.

ClooJew said...

This is, lulei demistafina, a great question.

Here in New York, I face it many times. My rule is that if there is another bus within a half hour, and the person could have waited and been assured a seat (say, it's at Port Authority, at the beginning of the route), then I'm not giving up my seat.

Having said that, I will tell you that if someone was truly elderly came aboard, I would get up.

True story: Once I was riding on the bus and a woman walked on with what looked to be her teenage granddaughter. It was along the route and I felt obligated to give her my seat. So I stood and she promptly handed off the seat to her granddaughter. Before I could get livid (inside, of course. Outside I'm all Clooney all the time!), the woman explained. "She's pregnant."

So instead of standing for an elderly woman, I stood for a pregnant one - albeit she looked about fifteen.

nmf #7 said...

Harryer- Never heard that before, thank you!

Bad4S- True, they may have not slept the night before, or they may be sick- which is why, if someone sees them sitting, they shouldn't feel bad about it.
But to ask the elderly to get on a stop early, or not to come at all? Disrespectful.

ClooJew- I'm glad that you say that if they were elderly, you would stand up. And, the story is excellent. But, these young ones were just asking chutzpadik in my humble opinion.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

sorry, I can't judge favorably on this one. I love giving up my seat for other people. Just like I love picking this up off the floor for people that dropped things. It just feels good to help someone out.

I guess because of "modernization" such an article like this was published. A couple of years ago, no one would dear say such a thing, with disrespect to elders.

nmf #7 said...

Jewish Side- I know- it was shocking to me too. I always thought our Dor was raised better than that.