This young man also recognized me while I was touring Yeshiva. We too entered into a discussion about last night’s post. I asked him to send me a letter with his thoughts. I’d like to preface his letter by saying that I personally remain very confident about my assessment of yesterday’s situation. However, Simon’s letter contains great wisdom:
I figured our paths would cross serendipitously. I’ve been thinking a lot about the picture you posted last night of an Orthodox Jewish man propositioning a Sudanese woman.
You have a microphone that now reaches beyond the humans of New York. You can speak to the humans of the world, using your art as a medium for good, for awareness, for change. It’s a task that requires nuance. Nobility is a slippery slope, and often, in our quest to do justice,
we rush to false judgment. To be virtuous, it seems we must be patient. We must be incredulous even about our own suppositions—especially about our own suppositions—in order to do right by others.
It’s a foundational imperative in the Jewish tradition of dan lekaf zechut—judging another favorably—or refraining from judging another unfavorably in the absence of proper evidence.
**UPDATE: The original post has been removed out of respect for the man’s family. After 1,000 comments, I believe the discussion had run it’s course**.