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Foundation of Law

01/17/2019 02:34:53 PM


Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Brexit. An ongoing government shutdown. What caused these crises, and how can we fix them?
The Talmud teaches in Masechet Taanit that Torah scrolls are written with quills made from reeds rather than cedar trees. Why? Because a person should always remember it is better to bend like a reed than be rigid like a cedar. Each time a scribe would pick up his quill, he would no doubt remember the foundation of law comes not from a place of rigidity, but from flexibility.
Do righteous people really grow like the cedar of Lebanon, as the Book of Psalms teaches us? I’m afraid that today, it is only the self righteous who grow like the cedar. Once fearless leaders in Washington and London are in fact full of fear of what will happen if heaven forbid, they bend like a reed. And so they have become even more unyielding than cedars. Opponents are transformed into mortal enemies. Politicians are more interested in total #winning with their voter bases than winning for the country as a whole.
In England, stubborn, hard line cedars may take down what was once a beacon of leadership in Europe. In America, if this shutdown continues much longer, I dare say, we are not all that far off. Real lives have been affected, including members of our congregation who are now furloughed: not to mention the psychological cruelty which comes from telling a person that they are “non-essential,” when in reality, so many of those furloughed play critical roles in our society and country.
To solve this crisis, we cannot forget Western Civilization once understood that the foundation of law came from compromise. All sides must stop digging their heels. I only pray it is not too late.
Wed, July 17 2019 14 Tammuz 5779