Monday, June 1, 2009

I Respectfully Disagree

One Torah, One People

The festival of Shavuot, underscoring the one Torah we all hold dear, and its theme of Ruth, the true convert from whom, we believe, will come the Messiah, reminds us that each Jew is precious. We can disagree among ourselves, with respect, but our motive should be compassion, not defeat.


Respectfully disagreeing, truly and genuinely respectful and not lip service, is one of the most difficult skills to learn as a debater, or even just as a citizen. And it is a skill; it takes practice to stay in shape, and some people are better at it than others.

Oh, I understand why; when someone's standing in front of you saying you're wrong, implicitly or otherwise, the natural reaction is to defend yourself by attacking them. Only problem is, that first step leads to a long, escalating path that ends in sorrow.

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