The Talmud (Shabbos 31a) relates how someone tried to get the great sage Hillel angry by continually interrupting him on Friday afternoon when he was in the middle of bathing for Shabbos. Although the man asked Hillel ridiculous and irrelevant questions, Hillel answered him patiently.
The Talmud says we all need to strive to reach this level of humility. That is, we are all obligated to work on ourselves to develop the total patience of Hillel whom no one could anger.
Love Yehuda Lave
How Could a Religious Person Commit a Crime?
Question:A high administrative official in our synagogue embezzled a great sum of money from the congregational offerings. He is well versed in the Bible, and certainly knows the difference between right and wrong. So, how is it possible that he did such a thing?
Answer:I'll answer with a story.
Rabbi Chaim of Sanz (Polish chassidic master, 1793–1876) once sought an honest man in the marketplace. First he stopped Yossel and asked, "Yossel! If you found a wallet on the street, what would you do?"
"Of course, I would return it to its owner!" replied Yossel.
"Yossel, you are a fool!" exclaimed the rabbi. "Now stay here."
And the rabbi called over another man.
"Feivel, if you found a wallet on the street, what would you do?"
"Rabbi, you know me," answered Feivel. "I would probably keep it for myself. I need the money badly, and I'm not such a good Jew."
"Feivel, you must repent! In the meantime, stand here!"
And he called over another man.
"Laibel, if you found a wallet on the street, what would you do?"
Laibel began to tremble.
"Answer me, Laibel, what would you do?"
"Rabbi," Laibel spoke, his eyes to the ground, "I really don't know what I would do! I don't know who would win inside me, my yetzer tov (good inclination) or my yetzer hara (evil inclination)!"
"Laibel," the rabbi replied, "you are an honest man!"
Such is human nature: When temptation stares a person in the face, no one can guarantee what he will do. Especially if the temptation is there day after day.
Even when the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, when a priest would enter the treasury, he had to enter with two of his colleagues.
So, this is what Torah teaches us: Don't be so quick to condemn your fellow man for dishonesty. You yourself can never be sure what you would do in his circumstances.
The Torah teaches that the man must pay his penalty and lose his post. But it also teaches that we should all recognize that any of us could have done the same thing in his situation.
There is a law that a very old man cannot sit on a beit din (Jewish court). The reason? Because he has forgotten the troubles of having to work to support a family, and he will not be able to sympathize with the petty criminal.
Torah is a harmony of many opposites.
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman for Chabad.org
Oboma on small countries
Speaking of repetition ...
This is from Denmark but with English subtitles.
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