Friday, July 01, 2022

A New Vocabulary Word?

 The purpose of this blog is to expand everyone's vocabulary to the Shabbat table... Please print and share...

In memory of my grandmother Yehudis bas Alexander, whose yahrzeit was observed this week.

Here's an interesting question to try at your Shabbat table:

Can you guess what's the #1 question asked to rabbis?

In my opinion, the answer is: "Why the Holocaust?"

Or some version of that.... 

Next question: What's really bothering someone when they ask that question?

It seems to me that what's bothering them is: How can a putatively good God allow innocent people to suffer?

Not a new question, not unique to Judaism, yada yada. 

But I'd like this week to focus on one aspect of that question that came up recently.

Recently, someone asked me, "OK, let's say for the sake of discussion that I accept that there is a reason for everything and that God has a masterplan and that one day it will all make sense. But why does it appear never-ending? We're supposed to be good to each other, we're not, we're going in circles, it looks like a never-ending cycle."

So again, what's the question? What's bothering this person?

Maybe what's bothering him is: How are we meant to get out of the cycle? How are we meant to repair the world?

It seems to me that the key to humanity's "salvation" is learning how to master maklokus.

Maklokus means argument or disagreement. 

The Talmud says that there are two kinds, good maklokus and bad maklokus.

Good makokus is when we're loving and respectful and we happen to disagree, and we're both arguing - sometimes passionately - not because we each want to win but because we each want to arrive at the Truth. Arguing is like playing tennis - I need you to argue with me either to help me see flaws in my thinking or to help me solidify my thinking. 

Bad maklokus is when we're neither loving nor respectful, we're not seeking clarity, we're both convinced a priori that we have the Truth and the only goal is to win.

Bad maklokus is thesis-antithesis.

Good maklokus is thesis-antithesis-synthesis.

Question for your table - How can you make sure that every maklokus is a good one?

Shabbat Shalom

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