The gemora (Nedarim 66b) tells the story of a man from Bavel who married a woman from Eretz Yisrael and had a language problem with her. He asked his wife to make “a couple of beans” for dinner; she took it literally and made him only two beans. Not wanting this to happen again, the next day he asked her to make “A large amount”; she proceeded to make enough for many people! He asked for a certain vegetable, but she understood differently and brought him a candle. (All this was because of the language barrier.) Beyond frustration, he told her to break the candles over the doorpost. At that time, Bava Ben Buta happened to be sitting by the doorpost; she again misunderstood and broke the candle over Bava Ben Buta’s head (“Bava” means “doorpost”)! Bava Ben Buta was very surprised by this attack, and inquired as to the reason. The wife responded that she was only listening to what her husband told her to do. Bava Ben Buta then gave her a brocho: “Just as you listened to what your husband wanted (even though it wasn’t easy for you), so too you should merit to have two children like Bava Ben Buta.”
I once saw an explanation as to what the gemora is trying to teach us with this story. We are privileged to read the beginning of the story and understand that there was a communication problem between the husband and the wife, so we know when she hits Bava Ben Buta with the candle she may have meant it for the good. However, from the perspective of Bava Ben Buta, all he saw was someone attacking him because her husband told her to do so. How would WE respond in such a situation? Many people would have some nasty words to say about both the husband and wife, and unfortunately in this situation they would be angry for something which he didn’t even do. Possibly we could understand that the lesson of the gemora is to judge people favorably, just as Bava Ben Buta did.
However, I saw a lesson that was more moving. Even if the husband had an axe to grind against Bava Ben Buta, and the wife listened to her husband because she felt compelled due to her marriage, would you expect that Bava Ben Buta give her a brocho? Where does one get the strength after being humiliated publicly to turn around and give a brocho to the person who embarrassed him? I think the answer is to put yourself in the other person’s position and we can sometimes appreciate this dilemma. What would you do if you were forced to make that decision? V’ahavta l’reiecha kemocha: You should put yourself in the other person’s shoes and judge him favorably.
Though she did the wrong thing, Bava Ben Buta”s love for his fellow Jew expressed itself in the brocho he gave to her: That she should have children who would also have an unbelievable desire to see the good in others.