118. בֵּין כָּךְ רָאוּ אִישׁ אֶחָד שֶׁהָיָה בָּא, וּמַשָּׂא אֶחָד לְפָנָיו. אָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּיא, נֵלֵךְ, אוּלַי הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה עוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדַת כוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת הוּא, אוֹ עַם הָאָרֶץ הוּא, וְאָסוּר לְהִשְׁתַּתֵּף עִמּוֹ בַּדֶּרֶךְ. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי, נֵשֵׁב כָּאן וְנִרְאֶה, אוּלַי הוּא אִישׁ גָּדוֹל.
119. בֵּין כָּךְ עָבַר לִפְנֵיהֶם, וְאָמַר לָהֶם, בַּסִּבּוּב שֶׁל הַמַּעֲבָר הַמְסֻכָּן הַזֶּה צָרִיךְ לִוּוּי, וַאֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ דֶּרֶךְ אַחֶרֶת, וְנִסְטֶה מִכָּאן, וַאֲנִי רָצִיתִי לוֹמַר לָכֶם, שֶׁלֹּא אֶחֱטָא בָכֶם וְלֹא אֶעֱבֹר עַל מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב (ויקרא יט) וְלִפְנֵי עִוֵּר לֹא תִתֵּן מִכְשׁוֹל, וְאַתֶּם כְּמוֹ סוּמִים בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזּוֹ, וְלֹא תִסְתַּכְּנוּ בְנַפְשְׁכֶם. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי, בָּרוּךְ הָרַחֲמָן שֶׁחִכִּינוּ כָּאן. הִתְחַבְּרוּ עִמּוֹ. אָמַר לָהֶם, לֹא לְדַבֵּר שׁוּם דָּבָר כָּאן עַד שֶׁנַּעֲבֹר בָּזֶה. סָטוּ לְדֶרֶךְ אַחֶרֶת.
When the deepest river, which is Binah, is drawn out to go to the heavens that is Zeir Anpin, all the levels become joyful. The Queen, who is Malchut, receives the glory of the King, who is Zeir Anpin, and all worlds are filled with happiness. The dominion of the other nations is removed before the Queen, and all who hold to her raise their heads.
While they were studying, they saw a man coming their way with a load in front of him. Rabbi Chiya said that it would be better if they get out of his way because if he is an idol worshipper or a know-nothing person then they should not share the same way with him. Rabbi Yossi said let us sit here and observe, he may be a great man.
When the man passed by them, he said that the curb on this path is very dangerous and he needs company to walk together because he is afraid to walk alone. He told them that he knows a different path to walk. He didn’t want to make a sin by not warning them about the danger because the Torah says (Leviticus 19:14) “לֹא תְקַלֵּל חֵרֵשׁ וְלִפְנֵי עִוֵּר לֹא תִתֵּן מִכְשֹׁל וְיָרֵאתָ מֵּאֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲנִי יְהוָה.”
“You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am YHVH.”
The man considered them as blinds because they didn’t know the danger on the way.
Rabbi Yossi said, blessed is merciful that we waited here. They joined him, and he asked them not to talk until they passed away from there. They took a different way.
Even though the person that they saw looked like a simple working man, Rabbi Yossi waited to find out if they should avoid this person or join him. It is very hard to know in what way each person on our path can benefit us. The best way is to avoid judgment and give time for the truth to come out.
Pirkei Avot 1:6
(6) Yehoshua ben Perachiah and Nitai of Arbel received from them. Yehoshua ben Perachia says, “Make for yourself a mentor, acquire for yourself a friend and judge every person as meritorious.”
Bartenura on Pirkei Avot 1:6:3
(6) “and judge every person as meritorious:” when the matter is hanging in the balance and there is no way to decide it in this way or that way. For example, a man from whose actions we do not know if he is righteous or wicked, who performs an act that is possible to judge favorably and possible to judge unfavorably, it is pious to judge him favorably. But it is permissible to judge a man who is established to be evil unfavorably. As they only stated (Shabbat 97), “one who suspects righteous people is afflicted on his body” – [and so] it is implied [from this] that one who suspects evildoers is not afflicted.