Put yourself in that person's shoes is what, I assume, most of us have been told to do before we judge someone. I find that putting yourself in another person's shoes is just another way for people to judge other people. People put themselves in the other person's shoes then proceed to explain how they would be able to do things so much better. I include myself in this vast array of people as well. The most recent example of this that comes to mind is when my brother-in-law and sister-in-law told me about their experience in Me'ah Shearim (a very, for lack of a better word, religious area in Israel). They told me that they were holding hands and all of a sudden one of the townsfolk starts hitting my brother-in-law in the arm. My sister-in-law had not idea why this guy was doing this. Turns out that they guy didn't appreciate that they were holding hands in public in his area so he did something about it. My reaction to this story was, "That's ridiculous! What's it any of that guy's business? If that was me, I would have started hitting him back though!" After I said it I thought to myself, What the hell is wrong with you?! You weren't there, why do you assume you could have/would have done anything differently?
I think that if we truly did put ourselves in other people's shoes we would probably realize that we wouldn't be doing anything that much different from what those people are already doing. When you take into account every part of the shoes that you put yourself in, it is really not as easy to do things differently as you would think. Most of the blogs I read are very judgmental toward the yeshivish community. They do this silly, they do that silly. I can't say I disagree, but when you're brought up in that type of community, how do you expect to know any different? If you're told to trust only what your rebbeim say, even if someone came up to you and explained to you that you are wrong, why would you believe them? The only person you can trust is your rabbi, why would you trust this random person?
If we're going to continue putting ourselves in other people's shoes I think we need to take a long walk in them before we can even begin to understand what it's like to be someone else.
//Brand New's The Archer's Bows Are Broken