Hillel said, do not separate yourself from the community, do not trust yourself till the day you die, do not judge your fellow until you reach his place, do not make a statement that cannot be understood, [intending] that ultimately it will be understood. And do not say, “When I am free, then I will learn,” for perhaps you will never be free. – Pirkei Avot 2:4

Hillel is teaching us a subtle and substantive point: he does not admonish us not to judge, but to understand how a person came to his place before rendering judgment. By seeking to understand, not only will our judgment be fair, but we may find ourselves able to offer help to a person in distress instead of merely condemning a person we believe to be worthy of nothing but contempt.

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