Friend or Foe?

Politics is not a dinner table topic in good times, but it seems more true this year than ever before. But even if we vehemently and passionately disagree with a person, there is no need to become disagreeable. We can respectfully and even vigorously debate the issues, never allowing personal animus to influence the discussion.

But this is only possible if we look at ourselves and others in the right way. If we remember that we are all, at our core, pure and holy souls — then we will maintain the appropriate respect for one another. If, however, we allow ourselves to slip into the “physicality paradigm,” we will soon find ourselves locked in bitter conflict, employing harsh words and personal insult.

All too often we make the egregious mistake of thinking of people from a wholly physical standpoint. This inevitably leads to conflict, because physical beings take up space, and when one space is occupied there is no room for another.

When we feel our space being intruded upon, we defend it with any means possible, sometimes even employing the lowest form of communication — personal attacks. We berate the intruder and vilify them; this pushes them away from our space and we feel safe once again. But this is short-lived, it’s not long before we have to defend our space again.

Because as long as we take up physical space, there is no room for another.

This Tuesday, Americans will vote for a new president. Whatever the results, there will inevitably be a large number of people who will be deeply disappointed, to say the least, that their preferred candidate didn’t win.

The question is, will you allow your disappointment to spill over into animosity towards supporters of the winning candidate? Or will you, while disappointed, continue to love and respect even those with whom you bitterly disagree?

There is one key to success in this regard and that is to maintain a proper perspective in viewing others. Remember to view others in the correct light; no matter your disagreement, they still are souls in a physical body — holy and pure souls, with whom we share much more than we disagree.

About the Author
Rabbi Yossi Grossbaum is the co-founder and Executive Director (and chief cook and bottle washer) of the Chabad Jewish Community Center located in Folsom, California and serving the entire region. He relishes the opportunity to discuss religion and politics with anyone who is interested and he is passionate about sharing age old Jewish wisdom with anyone who will listen. One day he will write a book entitled "Never Fall in Love."