Famous is the story of the rabbi who invites one of his congregants and his wife to come by one evening to sit with the rabbi and his wife.
When they’re seated, each with something to eat and drink after their choice, the rabbi asks the husband: “Please tell me why you and your wife are always quarreling.” He obliges and the rabbi asks for all the details he can think of. After he told the whole story, the rabbi says to him with a smile: “You’re completely right.”
Now he turns to the wife. “Please tell me why you and your husband are always quarreling.” She tells it all and the rabbi asks for all the details he can think of. After she recounted the complete story, the rabbi says to her with a smile: “You’re completely right.”
Now the rebbetzin can’t take it any longer and blurts out: “First you say he’s completely right and then you say that she’s completely right — you can’t do that!”
The rabbi smiles again when he tells his wife: “Let me tell you — you’re completely right too.”
Though this is meant as a joke, deep wisdom is taught here. People don’t feel and see things for a good reason. That others see it differently does not invalidate their story. There is validity in each honest opinion.
Friends of mine actually stopped quarreling after I friendly told them this story. They now understood to take turns listening to each other and that there was no need to contrast their partner’s story with their own.
One level deeper goes when two Sages in the Talmud explain something in opposite ways. They both represent Absolute Truth. How could they be both right? But the Sages teach us that there are three challenges in such a case. To understand why each is right and lastly why both are right.
A case in point is the Torah telling us: “And a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8). One opinion is that this really was a new king, while another opinion holds that this was not really a new king but that he began to act as if he had not known Joseph. But how could that both be true?
The Torah is extremely precise. Let’s back up a bit and closely follow the text and all will become clear. (This is typically not true. Often a close reading of the Torah teaches more questions than answers.)
The Torah first repeats (from Genesis 46:5-27) that with Jacob, all the remaining offspring of his and their families (their houses here actually mean their wives) came to Egypt (Exodus 1:1). Then comes the list of the sons (Exodus 1:2-4.) And Joseph was already (with wife and two sons) in Egypt, totaling all the offspring 70 (Exodus 1:5). These two latter points are reversed in the verse because the next one will continue to talk about Joseph some more. He is mentioned in addition to his brothers to make the whole come out 70 and separately from his brothers because he was their leader.
Then it reads: “And Joseph, and all his brothers, and that entire generation died” (Exodus 1:6). Who is ” that entire generation”? His daughters, the spouses, and all the Gentiles of his generation — including Pharaoh.
So, if we read that Pharaoh had died, why do we need to read that a new king arose over Egypt? Because he was not a simple continuation of the previous Pharaoh. He had never seen Joseph. And very different is your understanding of someone you only heard or read about but actually never met.
So, he was an actually new king but his behavior towards the Jews was also significantly different. The tow opinions are both right and follow organically from the Torah text.