My Rav reminds me that Ayin Tova is a rabbinic commandment but should it be applied toward assessing the character of non-Jews?

This Halachic article by Rav Zimmerman seem to say that it depends on whether the person has a history of wickedness or righteousness. Should these parameters be applied to judging gentiles as well (https://www.etzion.org.il/en/shiur-05ayin-tova)?

Many thanks.

  • 2
    "Ayin Tova is a rabbinic commandment" could you elaborate what that means? I don't recall anyone saying that the rabbis commanded to have a good eye. You link to a discussion of judging favorably. That's what you mean? I've never heard ayin tova used to mean judging favorably, although that article seems to.
    – robev
    Mar 11, 2021 at 21:20
  • @robev What do you think it means, if not judge favorably? That's I always understood it.
    – Turk Hill
    Mar 11, 2021 at 21:47
  • @robev this is how most commentators understand Rebbi Eliezer ben Horkonus' use of the term in Pirkei Avot 2:13:1 Mar 11, 2021 at 21:52
  • I thought it meant generosity @TurkHill
    – robev
    Mar 12, 2021 at 5:29
  • @robev Yes, it is possible.
    – Turk Hill
    Mar 12, 2021 at 14:19

3 Answers 3


You should judge everyone you meet the way you would want to be judged by God. Which is hopefully with mercy, compassion, understanding, and justice. Or in other words, with an Ayin Tovah.

Iyob 34:19

אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־נָשָׂ֨א ׀ פְּנֵ֥י שָׂרִ֗ים וְלֹ֣א נִכַּר־שׁ֭וֹעַ לִפְנֵי־דָ֑ל כִּֽי־מַעֲשֵׂ֖ה יָדָ֣יו כֻּלָּֽם׃

He is not partial to princes; The noble are not preferred to the wretched; For all of them are the work of His hands.


The commandment to judge favorably comes from the verse "בְּצֶ֖דֶק תִּשְׁפֹּ֥ט עֲמִיתֶֽךָ". Sefer Hachinuch and others say that this refers to the necessity to judge "your fellow" favorably.
However, anyplace where it says "אחיך" or "עמיתך" the Torah refers to those Jews who keep the Torah, and have not purposely "thrown off the yoke of heaven," (see the Chafetz Chaim for how this applies to Lashon Hara, which has very similar laws). Thus, the commandment to judge favorably only applies to Jews who are considered "your fellow." Additionally, the commandment is not to judge them favorably, but rather to judge them "with justice," meaning that you must judge them according to their actions, whether they have a history of wickedness or righteousness, etc.

However, when the Sages in Ethics of the Fathers say, "Judge every man favorably," this is only a "middas chassidus:" it is recommended, but by no means required, to judge someone whose previous actions are unknown favorably.

Havig an ayin tova, though, is less about halacha and more about a way of life. In order to see the good in G-d's creations and other people, especially those who you must see the good in, it is recommended to think this way about everyone. The Chafetz Chaim says that, while one is allowed to speak Lashon Hara about a non-Jew, it is not a good idea, because it trains one's mind to think negatively about people in general, which can lead to transgression. In order to be in the habit of thinking positively, one should refrain from judging negatively when it is not necessary.


We need to show respect to all people. All people are created in the "image of G-d."

Now obviously, G-d does not have an "image" so it must be referring to something else. Rambam felt that this refers to the intellect.

  • Any idea why your comments were being deleted in that other post?
    – Aaron
    Mar 12, 2021 at 17:13
  • @Aaron What other post? I have no clue. Sometimes, comments disappear for whatever reasons. If you could link to the post that would be helpful.
    – Turk Hill
    Mar 12, 2021 at 17:16
  • I saw you asking on a different post (I forget which) why your last comment was deleted. And then next thing I knew your comment asking about the other comment was also deleted
    – Aaron
    Mar 12, 2021 at 17:19
  • @Aaron Strange. I have heard others complain that their comments were deleted. I think mi yodeya tries to keep only relevant (or helpful) comments.
    – Turk Hill
    Mar 12, 2021 at 17:23

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