While gun applications are up, and people are training to confront the wave of anti-Semitism that has once again hit our communities, it is also important to remember that not every incident is anti-Semitic or an attack on us.
In this regard, I was standing on the Metro platform in Washington, D.C. waiting for the train during rush hour.
Many people tend to be pretty nasty, pushing and shoving, and otherwise just miserable from their day at work or whatever.
As I’m standing there, I feel someone coming up behind me and then running into me.
Of course, with anti-Semitic attacks prominent and growing, I may have been at a slightly higher state of alert, and I turn around ready for whatever or to give someone a few choice words…
And then I see the cane from a blind person.
He was not using the cane, just holding it sideways, and was being led by someone else, and so, he just bumped into me.
I thought to myself while it’s important to be ready the best you can for trouble that can come your way, you also shouldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions.
Sometimes it’s truly a blind person just bumping into you by accident and you’re the one who feels the fool and sorry.
I was reminded of the famous Jewish saying (Pirkei Avot 1:6):
(Judge everyone favorably) וֶהֱוֵי דָן אֶת כָּל הָאָדָם לְכַף זְכוּת
So even in these times, when there are gangs, drugs, violence, and anti-Semitism, and “we can’t be careful enough” (especially given our long, deep history of religious persecution), at the same time, we need to judge our fellow man favorably first and foremost, and still we must be prepared for, G-d forbid, the worst at any time.