Monday, August 08, 2005

Another quick thought - about the Disengagement

The Disengagement seems to be the major issue on Jewish minds (and blogs) nowadays. To write my views on this issue would take up more time than I'm looking to spend right now, but suffice it to say that I'm conflicted about it. I view the expulsion of Jews from a portion of Israel and the excision of this portion from our borders to be a painful one, but also countenance the view that it might be a necessary evil. Then again, it might be an unnecessary evil.

Am I being wishy-washy? I don't believe so.

The Talmud states that one could not become a member of the High Court in Jerusalem unless one had the intellectual capability to "be m'taheir a sheretz" - i.e., to provide a logical basis using the tools of d'rash for proving something that was clearly incorrect based on the text of the Torah. Although this seems to be a meaningless intellectual exercise, I think there can be a deeper meaning to this concept. If a person immediately comes to a knee-jerk conclusion that a given option is wrong, he is likely to miss certain fine nuances in the idea. An intelligent person must be able to see arguments in favor of all types of options, and only then can he choose the best one. The Talmud writes elsewhere that, although capital cases were decided by a majority, if the court unanimously decided to convict, the defendant would go free, because we are concerned that if no one in the court could find a reason to acquit, the case was not properly thought through.

When it is time for action, of course, one must be direct and decisive. However, as there is little practical application to my ultimate decision on the Disengagement (except for my single conclusion that joining the American branch of the Orange Shirts would not result in any positive result), I am able without regret to reside in the comfortable middle ground of thought-out uncertainty, rather than needlessly limiting myself to one side of the issue.


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