Kindness In Disguise

By judging others favorably and responding to them with kindness, we add holiness to the world.

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It is difficult to follow Joshua ben Parachyah's admonition to judge everyone favorably (Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Forebears) 1:6), but Levi Yitzchak reminds us that we can't always be sure of another person's motives. We may think that someone is treating us badly, when in fact, they are trying to protect us from something worse. In assuming the best of others and reacting kindly ourselves, we have the opportunity to add holiness to the world, just as we do by increasing the number of Hanukkah lights each night.

May this portion and the holiday of Hanukkah remind us to bring more light and more kindness to those around us!

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Rabbi Lisa Goldstein

Rabbi Lisa Goldstein is Executive Director of Hillel of San Diego, and Campus Director for UCSD. Originally from a small town near Pasadena, she studied history at Brown University and then went on to Rabbinical School, where she also earned a Masters in Jewish Education. She has lived in five cities across the United States and has also spent significant time in Germany and Israel.