Across The Great Divide

As a nation, we suffer from imputing bad intentions. Too many people on the left assume that those on the right must be racist, and those on the right too often assume those on the left must hate America. We have never been more desperately in need of the simple wisdom of the Rabbis, to judge people favorably.

We can cherish certain values and defend them without thinking that people on the other side are venal or wicked. It is helpful to remember how often in life we have believed something we later decided was wrong; perhaps we were where someone else is standing now. Perhaps we will one day be there.

Social mistrust is corroding the coherence of our nation. When we learn to see people as we wish to be seen, as characters and not caricatures, everyone benefits. Try to get to know people who are unlike you, who disagree with you. You may discover a common passion, or even better, a simple common humanity. The Torah’s greatest teaching is that all human beings are in the image of God — even those without the simple good sense to agree with you.

 

About the Author
Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.
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