On April 28th a new series for young adults kicks off – Wanderings and Wonderings. One teacher from the series, David Jaffe, shares some musings from his session: Love, Hate and Revenge: A Jewish Perspective. Share your perspective in the comments section below and register for the program by April 14th at www.hebrewcollege.edu/wanderings
You know that a friend of yours is cheating on his girlfriend. He assures you that he is going to end the relationship with his girlfriend but he keeps finding excuses to put it off. He knows you think what he is doing is wrong. Do you tell him again? As a friend, are you obligated to get him to stop doing the wrong thing?
Let me throw a bit of Jewish wisdom into the mix.
In Talmudic times there were two Rabbis who hung around with the Jewish community power elite in Babylonia. One, Rabbi Simon, witnessed some not-so-kosher dealings happening in the court of the community leader, but he didn’t want to say anything about it. A colleague, Rabbi Zeira, took him to task and urged him to bring the shady dealings to light. Rabbi Simon defended himself, saying that even if he brought up the issue, no one would listen. Nevertheless, Rabbi Zeira insisted that Rabbi Simon had an obligation to “blow the whistle.”
In a different part of the Talmud we find a counter opinion – Rabbi Ilai declared that just as it is a mitzvah to point out something wrong to a person who will hear it, it is also a mitzvah not to say anything when you know the person won’t be able to hear it.
With that background, what do you think about the fooling-around friend? How far should you go in urging him to come clean/end the relationship with his girlfriend? Post your responses here… and I invite you to sign up for Wanderings and Wonderings, to continue this conversation in person. We will be talking about relationship issues in my session Love, Hate and Revenge: A Jewish Perspective. I hope to see you in May!
Rabbi David Jaffe is the school chaplain at Gann Academy (Jewish High School) and the founder and dean of The Kirva Institute for Torah and Spiritual Practice. David is a veteran Jewish instructor, teaching widely throughout Boston in programs like LEADS and used to serve as the Director of Social Justice Programs for the Boston JCRC. He is particularly interested in the intersection of spiritual life and social justice. He lives in Cambridge with his wife two boys and their charismatic cat, Bugsy.
Register for Wanderings and Wonderings by April 14th at www.hebrewcollege.edu/wanderings