To Reach Across Divides

In the seven days of Creation, the second is distinguished by not being called “good.” Why is that?

According to one commentator, it is because on the second day God separated the waters [Genesis 1:6]. It is one thing to separate light from darkness, since both cannot serve together. But waters are the same substance, and to introduce division in the two things that are the same cannot be called good.

We live in a time of deep divisions: between Jews, between Americans, between civilizations. In the story of Creation, the Oneness of God superintended the divisions and made ultimate unity possible. Now it is our human task to heal, to reach across divides, to believe in the common goodness and humanity of others.

Once, the Ba’al Shem Tov was told by a father that despite all the love he had lavished on his son, his son had gone astray. How, asked the father, should he react to the division? The Ba’al Shem Tov answered: “Love him more.”

Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @RabbiWolpe. His latest book is “David: The Divided Heart” (Yale University Press).


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.