Every day I make several big and small decisions, often without thought, sometimes with a brief pause to consider the options and,sometimes, I come to a full stop to consider the consequences – both intended and unintended – of my next action.
We can’t come to a full stop and carefully consider each decision.
I live in an area where there are homeless people begging in the streets. If I put change in my pocket before I walk on the street, it is more convenient and quicker to give some money to some of those people. My first decision was to prepare for the inevitable question: Spare change? I am not sure how to explain why I give to some and not others.
I am sitting in a social grouping. One person talks about another whom we all know in a disparaging way. Another nods in agreement and is ready to add this story. How do I move the conversation in another direction so that the subject of discussion does not get trashed? Going against the group might turn the group’s next conversation against me. Should I do the right thing?
I am sitting on the subway. I realize that the woman who was sitting next to me and got off two stops earlier has left her monthly TTC pass on the seat. I stop and think about it but instead of handing the pass in to a TTC booth, so that the woman who lost it might get it back, I decide to give it to a poor person. Did I do the right thing?
During the “stop and consider” moments, I consider what I know about what Torah teaches about how to make these decisions. For me, my limited knowledge of Torah is a helpful and steadying influence in addressing challenging questions.