Posts Tagged ‘Richard Friemann’

Mulling over deep disagreement (again) I came across this nice little piece by David Suissa at the Huffington Post from a little over a year ago.  In it he talks about the traditional Jewish narrative of the houses of Shammai and Hillel, who differed over how to interpret the Jewish law (Shammai insisted on strict adherence, while Hillel counseled in favor of compassion):

This idea of looking at more than one “truth” is at the heart of the epic debate in the Talmud between the house of Shammai, which represents the strict, uncompromising voice of Jewish law, and the house of Hillel, which represents the more lenient voice.

Rabbi Moti Bar-Or, who runs Kolot, a bridge-building Torah study institution in Israel, explained to me that “the uniqueness of Hillel is that he truly believes there is validity in the Shammai approach, although he totally disagrees with him.”
In Shammai’s world, there’s “no room for pluralism” because it’s the world of “true or false.” It is Hillel’s ability to see the other side, Bar-Or says, that makes Judaism follow his approach today — not the fact that he was “smarter or right.”


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