Resemblances and Differences Oh Israel

Resemblances don’t make us ‘one’, as much
as differences make us into the other.
We ought to find with all a common touch,
every woman, sister, and a brother,

because of similarities, but dif-
ferences in fact are what we focus on
far more than similarities, whose whiff
we hardly can perceive, oblivion

their fate, while, unprevailing, we proclaim
our vaunted individuality,
safely distanced from those not the same
as us, extinguishing sodality.

The solace for this is: society
can not suppress its great variety.

Catherine Morris (“On Trials,” TLS, 8/5/11) discusses the literary form of the essay:

Montaigne affected the idea put forth by Aristotle that a particular experience could be turned by reason into a universal one. Montaigne wrote: “There is no quality so universal as diversity and variety….Resemblance does not so much make one as differences makes another.”

Reading this endnote I was not only inspired to write my poem but to think how much Montaigne must have influenced Shakespeare, whose words provided costumes for the customs I describe.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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