Month: February 2014

  • Struggling with Shammai and Hillel in the tough spots


    Originally published in The Times of Israel

    My entire life’s trajectory of peace work was determined at an early age by Hillel’s words and deeds, his compassion and love for all human beings, his commitment to patience with everyone, his passionate search for peace. When he responds to a particularly difficult potential convert who, mockingly or arrogantly, wants the whole Torah while standing on one foot, I watched every word and reaction. This stranger in fact directed his hurtful question at two men, Hillel and Shammai, who had studied and taught day and night their whole lives, examining and teaching thousands of years of tradition. What a hurtful and disrespectful gesture this stranger made! While Shammai violently chased the man away, Hillel responded with the famous dictum, “What is hateful to you, do not do to others,” a searingly simple statement that should be on the walls of the …