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Dear Shma Koleinu and the world,

05/27/2021 08:28:55 AM

May27

We live in a time of ever-extreme polarities.  And with that polarity is a concomitant presumption of “thought purity” just as bit as dangerous as all-out anarchy.  As I shared recently in a sermon, who has ever heard of a healthy, lasting marriage in which each partner must agree with the other on every issue, be on the same page with the other on every issue, especially those that are at best, tangential to their relationship?  These pressures for the extremes are pushing small but not meaningless numbers of people to the right and left.  I am no political scientist, but I would argue, it’s about 20% on either side. A dangerous model for sure.  However, what this also means is that this leaves a 60% opening, not right up the middle of the road, but 30% on both sides that form a wide berth for finding a much needed shvil hazahav, as Maimonides taught, the “Golden Path of Moderation.” 

“The path of the upright is one of moderation in every trait, so that each trait is equidistant from either extreme and not close to either.  Therefore the early sages commanded that human beings should put their traits before themselves constantly and direct them to the middle road, shvil hazahav, so that each person will be complete.”

Maimonides Hilchot De’ot (The Laws of Behavior)

Tone down the rhetoric.  Presume there is more to each other’s story.  Stop feeding the fire and instead, feed your soul.  I believe that this is what 23 Houston Imams and 25 Houston Rabbis did recently by composing, signing and publishing this statement.  It is not nearly enough, but it is a new beginning that we are committed to building upon. And to all those who have said or have written things like:

“If you can’t get on the same page with me on this issue, there is nothing to talk about it, might I suggest you turn the page?”

Click here to read Houston Imams and Rabbis on Events in the Holy Land.

Sat, June 19 2021 9 Tammuz 5781