Question:

Hello,
Thank you for your help.
My question is: I was recently walking in a large city and was asked by a stranger if I “had a minute.” I said, “I’m sorry, I have to be somewhere” and kept walking. She then said “you don’t even have a minute?” and I kept walking. For whatever reason, I felt there was something off about the interaction and I did not want to stop to speak more with this person. My question is: did I do the right thing? If a person gets an “off” sense of someone, are they required (somewhere in halacha that I am not aware of) to stand there and speak to the person? Is there a distinction in judging others favorably in that we know a Jew should judge another Jew favorably- does this apply to strangers (who may or may not be Jewish). And- if for some reason, a stranger is “holding a grudge” on me for not speaking with them, is teshuva to G-d enough to clear it up? Please advise as this interaction was very confusing for me.
Thanks again.

Answer:

You are not obligated to stop for someone if you suspect that they may be interested in manipulating you into something, and you are not talking to them in order to protect yourself. It could have been a chesed to stop to talk to the person, if you would have felt that there was no danger to yourself in doing so. from what you are writing, it sounds like a manipulative person, that did a good job on you and managed to put a guilt trip on you in less than two seconds.

Regarding being dan l’kav zechus, the Chofetz Chaim says that a person is not obliated to be dan klaf zechus to a person that he doesn’t know anything about, however it would be midas chasidus to do so. If he is a gentile or doesn’t keep the mitzvos, there is also no obligation to be dan him lkav zechus.

Before you examine if you have to do teshuva, it is skeptical that you did anything wrong by not stopping to talk to the person. Personally I wouldn’t be concerned about it.

Best Wishes

Sources:

Sharei Teshuva 3-218, Chofetz Chaim -Be’er Mayim Chaim Esen ftnt. 3.

Tags: Dan lkav zechus

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