Once, a few years ago during the time I spent wandering around Israel,I found myself in Tel Aviv one night where I was mugged.Kind of.I'm not sure if its still considered a mugging if you never actually give away your money.I ignored them and acted as if I didn't understand what they wanted and kept walking until they gave up on following me.Afterwards on my way back to Jerusalem I thought about what would have happened if I had actually lost all my money and valuables.I would be stuck in a foreign city with no money to pay for transportation back, and probably no cell phone to call someone for help.The only solution I thought of would be to sit in front of the Central Bus Station and tell people my sob story and hopefully get enough money to leave.But you always hear people with all sorts of sob stories why they need money and who ever believes them.
I was reminded of this recently on my way to picking up my afternoon caffeine fix. There was a man outside Dunkin Donuts who claimed his car was towed and needed money to get it from the impound lot.He claimed to be a working man who just didn't have the money on him, the problem was, he looked like a working family man and therefore, believable. I didn't give him any money because I'm a little gullible in these matters and sometimes overcompensate but the whole night I was thinking of him and felt bad for him.That was when I was reminded of my near predicament and put myself in his position and began to really feel bad for him.If only people could have their very own lie detectors
R' Nachman of Breslov fame who contrary to popular belief is more profound than one would think from seeing the dancing speed freaks you see around Israel, once said something interesting. He said its better to be naive and fall for everything than not to believe anything including the truth when it happens upon you.He said it in regard to religion and spirituality but I wonder if it should be applied to the mundane also. It would probably be better to fall for everything even the occasional scam than to once ignore somebody who honestly needs your help.You never know one day it might even be you who receives the help.