Monday, May 23, 2016

It Takes a Village

I had been very turned off when I heard the rabbi say it. "How can Jews get along?" he opined. "It's impossible. The only thing we can do is daven." 

I'm not a fan of claiming defeat before even trying. This was the first shiur I ever heard from this rabbi; I did not voluntarily click on another one. 

Walking home from shul one Shabbos, Ta mentioned this rabbi and his genius. 

"I don't discount his brilliance," I said, "but I just can't listen to him after what he said." 

"What did he say?" 

I told him. "After all," I concluded, as the connective tissue formed, "remember what Rabbi Yisroel Reisman said? You don't have to like someone to work together and have the same goal. Like—like—like Penn and Teller. They have such different personalities that they just grate against each other. Penn's loud and obnoxious, Teller contemplative and reserved. But they realized that together, they can get farther than alone. They've been together for decades! And have been insanely successful!"

"That's like me and Fred," Ta replied. 

Fred has been Ta's business partner for as long as I can remember. Fred is the Penn-equivalent (although Ta is no Teller). He talks big, avoids detail work, and has a potentially alarming "what's the big deal" attitude. But Ta finds in him an invaluable mind to bounce ideas off of. Fred, in turn, benefits from Ta's awareness of important minutia and organization.

So, what if instead of insincerely thinking, "I love every Jew. I love every Jew. Dear Lord, I have to love him too?" go about it this way: It takes all types. That's what they really mean, I have decided, by "It takes a village." Not that it takes a hundred people to raise a child, but that everyone has something of value to contribute. 

We aren't all the same. Yes, I often wonder what sort of qualities that person could possibly have that is of value. But they do. 

So while I may not like her . . . she and I are heading for the same goal. We can give each other a hand, even though there is no love lost. 

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