Dan L'Kav Z'chut.
It means, basically, giving the benefit of the doubt but it actually means more than that -- when you dan l'kav z'chut you see the good in something.
I used to have a neighbor who was a world expert in dan l'kav z'chut. No matter what anyone did, she would find an excuse for their bad behavior or a way to mitigate something that they'd done.
"They must be having a hard day" she would say. Or "he didn't really mean what he said" or "she'll wake up tomorrow and everything will look different."
Whenever I think of the concept of dan l'kav zchut, I think of this wonderful woman. She died in her 40s of brain cancer. Yes, I know that you're not supposed to say The Word -- you're supposed to say "The Illness" or something like that. But .... whatever. She had cancer and if there was anyone who should have lived to be 120, just on pure goodness, it was her.
I always think of this neighbor whenever I notice how different people react to things. It really says a lot about a person. Someone who's overly critical is probably not someone who I want to spend a lot of time around anyway. On the other hand, someone who goes out of their way to see the best in a situation is someone who I want on my team.
I was thinking about this recently when a few of my recent guests left reviews about my guestroom. The truth is, I can usually tell who's going to leave a nice review and who's going to find things to pick apart, just based on the way that they interact with me and with the other people that they're traveling with.
The people who are happy, upbeat and generally thrilled with life are happy with the guestroom (which is, I fully admit, a simple room with simple amenities -- clean, bright and well cared for, but, by no means, luxurious). The people who have trouble smiling, I can always predict, will find something to complain about.
Same guestroom, same host (me), same location....but different outlooks on life.
I have an aunt whom everyone always called "the smiley one." From the time that I was young, I knew that i wanted to be like her. Lately, a few people have commented to me "you're always smiling." I take that as the biggest compliment.
I don't have a lot of goals in life but I hope that dan'ning l'kav z'chut will always be one of my traits.