Rabbis Without Borders
Rabbis Without Borders is a dynamic forum for exploring contemporary issues in the Jewish world and beyond. Written by rabbis of different denominations, viewpoints, and parts of the country, Rabbis Without Borders is a project of Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
The light turned green. But the cars ahead of me stayed still. Perfectly still. The light turned yellow. And then red. Yet, I hadn’t move a single inch.
By the time that the light turned green again, there were more than a few cars behind me. And yet, we didn’t move. Only this time, there was some honking. Impatient drivers with no other way to express themselves.
It wasn’t until the third light cycle that the reason for our lack of movement became clear. At least, that is when it became clear to me. There had been an accident just beyond the intersection. Until the cars could be safely towed to the side of the road, traffic was stopped. But there was simply no way to know this unless you were sitting in the very first car at the light.
I’d like to think think that if those drivers behind me knew that people had been involved in an accident, they might have refrained from honking. And provided a sense of calm to those who were clearly shaken by their experience.
So too it is in life. We encounter people each day, but without seeing or knowing what is happening in their lives that might cause them to behave in a certain way. Without that clarity, their behavior might seem perplexing, rude, or even downright hurtful. If only we were to step back and give them the benefit of the doubt, rather than reacting out of frustration, we might provide a calming force in the midst of their despair.