Hillel and Shammai, two of our towering rabbinic figures, didn’t agree on much. Shammai was a stickler for rules and Hillel was far more flexible. Shammai drew a line in the sand and Hillel would find a way around it while still respecting the spirit of the law. The Rabbis asked if despite their great division, were their children allowed to marry each other. The answer was a resounding yes, for they were still Jews, they were still menschen, they were still united by a love for Israel. “Eilu v’eilu divrei Elohim chayim” – “These AND these are the words of the living God,” our Sages insisted, no matter how divided their two schools of thought may have been.
Eilu v ‘Eilu – These AND These – we don’t hear enough of this these days. Not just since November 8 or January 20, but also for a long time, our politics, schools of thought, cultures have caused greater and greater divisions between us all. And this is terrible for all of us – the “losers” AND the “winners.” Except in rare instances, long term peace – not the absence of war but peace – a wholesome, affirming, testament to the best of our Divine Images is what we pray for and must redouble our efforts to bring to fruition.
I don’t care how certain and affirmed and sure you are about your thoughts on Israel but a real peace will only come from the deep listening to the other side, the stories in which they understand their place, the contexts of the events that happen from sunrise to sunrise.
Please join your fellow members of the Houston Jewish Community for a “Conversation About Israel.” Join J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami and JINSA President and CEO Dr. Michael Makovsky for a conversation about securing Israel’s future.
Wednesday, February 8, 7:30 pm – @ the Becker Theatre at the Emery Weiner School.
Only when we hear both sides, can we find our way to the middle, which is the only solid ground we have.