I remember as a teenager going to shul with my father. He one time made a comment about one of my Hebrew school classmates. I was quick to defend this individual. Later on, he made a comment about someone else in the class and I did not defend him. My dad (who not only was the Rabbi but also ran the Religious School since it was a small synagogue) asked my why I was quick to defend one of my classmates but not the other. Without hesitation I simply said, “Because he’s my friend” of the one I was defending. My dad always loved that answer and the honesty of how we are quick to defend friend and look past their faults because they are our friends.
This past Saturday, there was a Bat Mitzvah in shul. My wife made a comment about one of the males in the synagogue who was not wearing a head covering (Kippah, Yarmulke, skull cap, take your pick). The truth is, I do not even notice these things. I do not concentrate on what others are doing, or are not doing at shul, I try to focus on myself. My wife (seemingly) can notice all of the things people should be doing differently there).
Once my wife brought this to my attention, I found myself looking around the synagogue, at the different people. One thing I noticed was the length of the skirt of the Bat Mitzvah. It certainly was not obscene but it did seem a little short to me. I asked my wife what she thought.
My wife knows the mother of the Bat Mitzvah. She has served on committees with her at the Hebrew school. Although I do not think of them as friends, they are clearly very friendly towards one another. When I asked my wife about the length of the skirt, my wife told me it was fine, she did not see a problem.
I found myself thinking back to the comment I made to my father. We are quick to overlook the shortcomings of those with whom we are friendly, with those of whom we want to overlook the shortcomings. With others, we are not quite so forgiving.