Self Expression Magazine

But Are You Sure?

By Challahbackgirl
We live in a time of uncertainty. By that, I am not only referring to the war and strife present in the world, but to all of the second-guessing that comes with technology, which does not allow me to delete any information without a pop-up asking me nervously if I really want to do that. I can't help but juxtapose this against the increasing polarization in politics, and yes, the Jewish world. By all means, take a moment to think over deleting that photo, lest you regret it for the rest of your life, but do plow ahead unchallenged in your beliefs without a moment's pause.
The Talmud warns us not to be too sure of ourselves. The statement is attributed to Hillel, whose students had the honor of being backed up by a bat kol in a disagreement with the school of Shammai. Even then, the reason given was that Beit Hillel had included Beit Shammai's arguments within their own. Can you imagine a Rabbi from one movement doing the same for a leader of another today? Sadly, such a case would be the minority, and subsequently protested by their respective communities, I'm afraid.
I have a confession, though given my recent disavowal of labels, perhaps it will not be so shocking. I do not believe that any one movement has it completely right. In fact, I'm pretty convinced (can't be too sure) that when Moshiach comes, mistakes will be realized on all sides and every Jew will be humbled. I do not say this to antagonize or argue for argument's sake, but because from my perspective, Olam Haba could simply not kick off with one group of Jews saying, "BOOM! Knew it! Called it!"
This of course does not mean that we are free to desist from the work, as Pirkei Avot also advises; we have to work with what we have. But if we continue to define ourselves in comparison to those we consider in the wrong, then we do more harm to Judaism than a liberal approach to halacha ever could. In the spirit of Hillel's quotation, perhaps I have it completely backwards. Maybe we must take the first steps to humble ourselves and cease the finger-pointing before we deserve redemption at all.
Shavua tov,

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