You Can Only Blame Yourself

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


DYS said...

Are you talking about being in your sis & bro in law's shoes or of being in the shoes of the guy doing the hitting?

I agree that it's important to try to understand differing perspectives and that there's way too much harsh judgement on blogs.

But physical attacks on people go beyond any sort of acceptable behavior. I can try to imagine myself in the shoes of someone who would go up to your brother in law quietly and tell him that in that neighborhood holding hands isn't appropriate. I don't agree with that attitude, but I can try to put myself in the shoes of someone who does.

But the mind of someone who resorts to physical violence to enforce his religious beliefs isn't a mind I can fathom in any way. My feet won't even wedge into his shoes.

Jessica said...

I guess I should have been clearer. I meant the perspective of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, not the guy doing the hitting. I would never ask people to imagine what it would be like to be abusive, not my style.

The Babysitter said...

Jessica: "but when you're brought up in that type of community, how do you expect to know any different?" Excellent point.

This reminds me of an issue that came up in one of my classes, where some were saying that the blacks in the bad neighborhoods are so unlucky to be brought up that way, then they have no choice but to raise their kids the way they've been raised, by being abusive.

The only difference there, is that I would hope its common sense to be caring to your children, so even if you see everyone around you being abusive to their children, you should naturally want to be good to your children.

Jessica said...

Babysitter- But if you were brought up to think that the only way to raise a child is by hitting them, why wouldn't you raise them that way? There's no influence telling you that hitting a child is bad, so how could "common sense" kick in, when that's not even part of that type of person's common sense.

The Babysitter said...

Jessica: You may be right, but then how was Avraham Aveinu able to notice that there is a Hashem? if everyone around him was doing Avodah Zorah. There has to be something within a person that pulls them. Same with BT's, if they were brought up non religious, and lived in a non religious community, how do they all of a sudden become inspired to be Jewish?

Jessica said...

Babysitter - excellent point. I have nothing in my arsenal that can refute it.

frumskeptic said...

"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?"

You see, 100 maybe even 50 years ago that example could've worked. When you said "sheltered" you were literally capable of being sheltered. Not having the TV in the home and not getin "secular" newspapers was fine. But these days, like it or not, we live in the information era. And even the sheltered of the sheltered communities have somesort of access to the outside world. So for them to be so set-in their ways and so trusting of their Rebbeim makes no sense.

And the super high off the derech rate (amongst the yeshivish/chassidish crowd) as well as the rising divorce rate in these crowds, prooves that they should have some sort of common sense before they practice their craziness. Especially when it comes to hitting people

Babysitter: Awesome point :-)

The Babysitter said...

Jessica and Frum Skeptic: Thanx!

Jessica said...

My point really wasn't that people can't change. My point was that we assume that we would do things so much differently when we're in certain situations than those people who are currently in those situations. If we were brought up in a yeshivish, only listen to rabbis type atmosphere we'd like to think that we'd be able to use our common sense to weed through the silliness, but there's no way for us to know. And now, rather than "putting yourself in another person's shoes" being a way to sympathize with people, it is a way to further judge them.

frumskeptic said...

I see your point. You're right.

but judging people makes blogposts just so much more interesting and fun to write. lol. :)