Honorable Mensch-ion


This week, I sat on a panel of Rabbis from all denominations. Our audience was unique, consisting of mayors and heads of regional councils from various areas in Israel. Some of the distinguished guests were religious and others were secular.

This is the most fascinating question we were asked, “How do you have the ability to sit and talk with Rabbis who have different theological beliefs with you?” One Rabbi responded, “Gathering together with our colleagues of different beliefs allows my own beliefs to be expressed in a more thorough manner.”

Our Torah teaches that each offering brought to the Temple must be sprinkled with salt. The Midrash writes, “On the Second Day of Creation, when God separated the heavenly and earthly waters, the lower waters cried because they would be too far away from God. God therefore promised the lower waters that salt-which is a product of seawater-would be offered upon the altar with every offering.” The lower waters were envious of the heavenly waters. The Talmud teaches that while envy can remove a person from this world, envy between scholar increases wisdom.

As I sat on this panel of Rabbis, I thought of the salt we place on our offerings. We should be envious of the wisdom around us, allowing us to strive to learn, come out of our comfort zone, and return to our homes enlightened by the entire people of Israel.

At the conclusion of the discussion, a mayor from outside of Tel Aviv, and thanked us for our honesty, proclaiming, that the entire Jewish world, can learn from what they had witnessed.

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