A Peace-Loving Attitude

Breaking news (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
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(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
"Please separate from me: If you go left then I will go right, and if you go right then I will go left." (Genesis 13:9)

The words above were spoken by Avraham, to his nephew Lot.

We would be wise to follow our Patriarch’s example in dealing with Machlokes (dispute).

As we see in the passage cited above, Avraham took pains to adopt a conciliatory posture and avoid arguments.  “If you want this, then I’ll take that … and if you want that, then I’ll simply take something else!” 

Instead of digging in his heels and taking an intractable stance, Avraham’s approach to dispute resolution was to be M’vater (yield to the position of another). 

The most important value to him was: No matter what, let’s not fight! 

Experience shows, it takes two to have a Machlokes.  It’s essentially impossible to argue with a person who’s willing to yield to your point of view and give you what you want.         

Interestingly, the classic commentary Taam V’Daas sees an additional lesson in this verse cited above, namely -- that the Torah is teaching us how strident we must be in our commitment to escape negative influences. 

The verse makes it clear that whichever way Lot would travel, Avraham would go in the opposite direction. In other words, it was insufficient for Avraham that only one of them should move. No -- if one went right, the other would now go left as well! 

Taam V’Daas explains that when it comes to escaping the influence of evil, it is insufficient for one to move only a little.  We cannot take our chances with the Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination) nor leave it any openings. 

We must break ties with evil in such a manner so as to ensure that we will have no contact with it ever again.

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Bregman is an internationally recognized Torah scholar, #1 best-selling author, matchmaker, entrepreneur, attorney, and media personality. His energetic and empowering messages currently reach over 350,000 people per week via social media, NYC radio, and newspaper columns worldwide. His website is www.RabbiBregman.com and his email is RabbiBregmanOfficial@gmail.com.