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    • 7.6

      Understand other people.

  • 1.

    Doing acts of kindness for others is one of man’s essential obligations (Hosea

6:8). A person who wants to do acts of kindness must know a great deal about the ways of the world. You must have an awareness of the differences between people and their individual needs. (Chochmah Umussar, vol. 2, p.190)

2. Essential to getting along with other people is being able to see things from their point of view even if you disagree with them. When dealing with someone, try to see how he perceives the situation. For example, Rabbi Yisroel Salanter (cited in Michtav MaiEliyahu, vol. 1, p.99) said taking way a broken box from a child is similar to sinking the boat of an adult. To a child, his box is his boat and in dealing with him you have an obligation to understand how he views things.

Though difficult to master, this skill is crucial to obtain. Realize that no two people view things exactly the same way. Being aware of how someone else perceives a matter will decrease the chances that you will quarrel with him even though you might disagree.

3. To deal properly with other people it is not sufficient to have a general knowledge of how most people behave and react. You need specific information about the individual with whom you are presently talking. People react differently to things since they have diverse personalities and experiences. In order to love other people and do acts of kindness it requires that we look at the specific individual we are dealing with. Try to understand what exactly will give this person pleasure. Decide in which areas and to what degree to honor this specific person. We have to be aware of his personality traits to know what his needs are. To do this properly requires much thought. (Toras Avraham, p.400)



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