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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 13:05:32 -0400 Subject: Do we interpret Tzitzith as Hypocrosy or Religiosity I would like to suggest that this discussion be inspired by halachic sources. The Chafetz Chayiim in his classic halachic work on speech clearly deals with the general issue of how we may reqard other people's actions and considers 5 cases according to STATUS OF THE PERSON and the STATUS OF THE ACT. They are as follows: 1) All acts of a righteous person are interpreted favorably. A famous Talmudic story about a Rabbi who went to a house of prostitution and asked his students "What did you think when I went in" says that they (correctly) replied "To get money to redeem captives and/or to find government contacts (I forget the exact details)". 2) All acts of a wicked person are interpreted disfavorably. The classic example is the statement of the Holy Lamp (Rabbi Simeon Bar Yochai) that the Roman government only made baths and public roads to get taxes (not to help the populace) If a person is "middle of the road" there are 3 cases: 3) His good acts must be interpreted favorably 4) His bad acts should be interpreted disfavorably 5) His middle of the road acts should not be interpreted disfavorably. To often we classify as "character traits" matters that are strictly legal. The issue of how to deal with a Yeshiva boy who is wearing Tzitzith is NOT a psychological issue but rather a halachic issue. I hope this brief introduction helps steer the discussion in the right way Russell Jay Hendel; PH.D;ASA; RHendel @ MCs Drexel edu