Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Truth and Peace - A Balancing Act

Welcome one and all! Let's kick things off with a quote from the Talmud:
משה היה אומר יקוב הדין את ההר אבל אהרן אוהב שלום ורודף שלום
"Moshe used to say, 'Let the judgment/law pierce the mountain,' whereas Aharon loves peace and pursues peace." (Sanhedrin 6b)
Moshe is identified in the tradition with אמת ("truth") and his brother Aharon with שלום ("peace"). Two brothers, both working together, both a part of our "soul" as a people, yet coming from two very different orientations.

Truth and peace are both vital, but they're often difficult to fully express at the same time. Sometimes the desire to do what's "right" comes at the expense of peace. And sometimes the desire to keep the peace comes at the expense of what we ideally believe to be right and true. The question is, how do we know when to do which? We know that neither is expendable, and yet it seems like we're frequently having to sacrifice one to achieve the other.

I don't think there are any easy answers. And yet we have real-life issues which depend on which approach we take. So the best we can do, it seems to me, is just put in the work and try to hash it out, one issue at a time. That's what I'd like to do (at least in part) with this blog. Because even if on a given issue we believe the right thing to do is to come out strongly for truth, or strongly for peace, at the same time we might keep in mind the words of Zecharya the prophet: "Love truth and peace." The goal is to strive for both.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely one of the nobler pursuits - both are cardinal values to meaningful lives. I wish you much luck in gathering and formulating more and more insights in both, David, as well as with this blog. I'm sure the world will be a richer, finer place for it.

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