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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

How to Know You're Right While Thinking You Could Be Wrong

By Rabbi Benjamin Hecht






Meeting the demand of integrity


JewishWorldReview.com | How often, do we, even as we fully believe we are right, question ourselves: what if I'm wrong? And, similarly, even as we begin to wonder about whether we are really pursuing the right path -- and consequently begin to waver -- how often do we question: what if I'm right?

We actually should be asking both these questions, and should continue to do so even as we act, because both of these questions are necessary in every decision-making situation.

The fact is that life does not give us the luxury of avoiding decisions; it does not allow us to simply get by without ever taking a stand. In being called upon to act -- with actions, by definition, being black-and-white -- we are called upon to inherently make clear-cut decisions. You do, or you do not. There is no middle possibility of acting and not-acting at the same time. In action, a definite choice must be made.

The difficulty is that the issues behind the facts are rarely so black-and-white. The most honest call of the situation is often, actually, the impossible middle choice of both acting and not-acting. You wish you could do and not do at the same time. Any action is almost never, as such, truly, totally appropriate to the situation. It is simply the best that we can do given that our physical world demands an active conclusion. Despite how difficult the choice, we still must act.



Unfortunately, many people, in order to enable them to act as demanded, try to further support their decisions by simplifying the reality. They try to make the issues behind the acts also as black-and-white as the acts themselves must, inevitably, be. The result is a foundation that provides a clear mandate, without any hesitation, for the determined action -- but the cost is the honest presentation of the situation. What is then further lost is the true knowledge of the issues -- and the resultant ability to respond to reality's actual dynamic nature. Included in this loss may also be our ability to relate to the other.

These words are not just theoretical but have practical import.

Consider almost any significant issue facing society. Those who have definite conclusions regarding what to do, often, also present a simplistic vision of reality in support of their conclusion. As such, when two such positions then confront each other, there is no room for dialogue -- for the true, complex nature of the issue, which would provide a common ground, is not even recognized.

Alternatively, though, those who do recognize the complexity, often avoid taking a stand -- which can be tragic when a definite decision is necessary.



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The demand of life is, indeed, to act -- built upon unambiguously determined conclusions -- but not through ignoring the true complexity of reality.

This is the call of doubt and surety. We must -- for we are inherently called upon to act -- make decisions as demanded. In order to assert ourselves properly in this regard, we must have a sense of surety. We must assert: what if I'm right? Yet we can still never lose sight of the true complexity of existence and the fact that reality is not black-and-white. Even as we must undertake a black-and-white action, we must simultaneously recognize the multi-layered spectrum of issues with which our decision must relate. To truly see to the extent that we must, we also must have a sense of doubt. We must also therefore assert: what if I am wrong? There is no Hegelian synthesis that brings this sense of doubt and this sense of surety together. Unity of the two in some new sense is not the result. The call is but for both to co-exist at the same time. For the demand of action, we must experience surety and believe in the conclusion that we have reached.

To meet the demand of integrity, though, we must also experience doubt and believe that there is always more to perceive.

In the most basic of terms, we must act even as we recognize that the true complexity of our world may be beyond us.

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Previously:


Can You Respect a Religion You Disagree With?
Does Following a Methodology Make You Religious?

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Rabbi Benjamin Hecht is the Founding Director of NISHMA, an international Torah research, resource and educational endeavour devoted to the fostering of individual inquiry and the critical investigation of contemporary issues. He also serves on the Rabbinical Advisory Board of Koshertube, as Rabbinic Advisor to Yad HaChazakah: the Jewish Disability Empowerment Center and has a regular monthly column in the Toronto-based Jewish Tribune. In addition to his rabbinical ordination, he holds degrees in law (Ll.B.), psychology (B.A.) and administration (M.B.A.).



© 2013, Rabbi Benjamin Hecht. This appeared on the Huffington Post

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