DAY 685: Important Conversations for Our Relationships

May 16, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 685: Important Conversations for Our Relationships

Dear Hevreh,

When it comes to relationships, it is often easier to not “rock the boat,” perhaps because of our worry of the potential consequence of causing a rift within our relationships by engaging in difficult conversations. Yet not engaging with those difficult issues at all can lead to resentment, mistrust, and separation that limits the closeness we feel with one another, which is why when we engage in these issues in a thoughtful and appropriate manner we build the trust needed to know that at the end of the day, we can move on from any disagreements that linger so that we can continue to be in relationship with one another.

The same can be said of a community which is built on the myriad of relationships among its members. There are many difficult issues that have challenged Jewish communities, and it may be easier to focus on the things that bring us together — like Shabbat, lifecycle events, schmooze cruises — than split us apart. Yet, I believe that the communities that are the strongest are the ones that recognize that in order for us to truly be close with one another, in order to truly listen to each other’s Unique Torah, we must find the find the appropriate spaces (and opportunities) to discuss challenging issues. That is why we spent time discussing American Jewish views on Israeli politics during yesterday’s “Ask the Rabbi” session at Menlo Park Mall, and that is why we will discuss the role women are obligated (not just allowed) to play in Jewish life, tomorrow morning (11 am) prior to our potluck picnic in the park.

We have many different opinions — after all, we are the religion of the back-and-forth debate of the Talmud, and we are the culture of “2 Jews, 3 Opinions.” We are at our strongest when we can discuss and debate important issues related to our Judaism in a respectful and thoughtful manner, because we know at the end of the day, even if (or more likely “when”) all of that conversation that will not resolve all of our disagreements, we will find a way to move on in order to continue to be in relationship with one another.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Ari Saks

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