.Rabbi David Weissman
There is a story told about a chasidic sage by the name of Rabbi Israel, who was asked by his disciples to tell them what they should do to serve God. The question surprised Rabbi Israel and he said: How should I know? But I’ll tell you a story.
Two friends were accused of a crime, found guilty and brought to the king for judgment. The king loved them and wanted to show them mercy, but even the king had to obey the law. So this was the king’s decision: Let a rope be stretched over a deep canyon and the two men were to walk on the rope, one after the other. If either one reached the other side, he would not be executed. It was done, and the first man got safely across. The other man then cried to him: How did you manage to walk that rope? The first man called back: All I know is this -- whenever I felt myself toppling over to one side, I leaned to the other.
I think the message here is that there is a virtue in clinging to the golden mean. I think that many problems are caused by the failure to compromise, by the failure to realize that the concerns and values of those whose views are different from our own may have some merit. So we cling to one side or the other side without realizing that we have to move toward the middle in order to provide a meeting ground with people who don’t think the way we do. So whenever he felt himself losing his balance by toppling too much to one side, the man on the rope moved toward the middle.
James Harvey Robinson once said that we like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true. And when doubt is cast upon any of our beliefs or any of our ways of looking at things, we think of all kinds of excuses for continuing to justify our beliefs. As a result, most of our so-called reasoning consists of finding arguments for going on believing what we already believe. Our egos prevent us from changing our views. We get stuck with a system of beliefs, whether it be beliefs about religion or beliefs about politics or beliefs about anything else that might be important in our lives and regardless of how valid the arguments presented disputing our beliefs are, we still stick to them. We just refuse to realize that there might be a different point of view which is valid. Our beliefs are stuck in hardened concrete and we won’t change.
In this sense, we are often our own worst enemies. We refuse to grow. We refuse to see things in a different perspective. We refuse to concede that no one has a monopoly on truth. We refuse to accept that life isn’t all black and it isn’t all white -- that there are many shades of grey in this very complex world. And so I think it’s important for each of us to accept that there may be validity to the opinions and concerns of other people and that other people’s opinions and concerns have to accommodated. This doesn’t mean we have to compromise our deepest- held principles. But it does mean that we should be open-minded to the possibility that our own entrenched views may not be the only views that have validity and that living with other human beings often requires compromise and accommodation.
President Lily Ann Revitch
I was hoping to report that we now own the new building. At our board meeting the conversation from those that were not ready to move forward was very compelling . The discussion was about the scope of work and the cost. I had reported to the board that the parking lot that we have to create in the rear of the building would cost around $18,000-a high price to pay. This would only be doable if and when we receive the money from the estate of Eva Katz. That may not happen until the spring. The only other way is if we could raise $50,000.
We are very concerned about Gabe Brenner and wish him Raffuha Shlemah, a speedy recovery. We think it will take him several months to be totally back to himself according to Cookie. Gabe was our lead person on the renovations. So what now? The owner asked us to wait a week before making a final decision as he would like to have his contractor look at the situation and see what solution he might have. Bob Post, Linda Post and I thought it was worth a try.
On other news, my thank you to Rabbi David Weissman on a wonderful High Holiday and other festival season, I know all that attended were moved by the services. Sisterhood is in high gear and planning the November Sisterhood Shabbat.
Our Biannual Mah Jongg Marathon will take place on November 4th. We already have a full house. So as you can see life around the Temple is in full swing.
See you all after our well deserved vacation.