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We Need Less Tolerance

Friday, 6 December, 2019 - 12:17 pm

This world needs a little less tolerance. No, that is not a typo and I have not gone over to the “other side.” Let me explain. Tolerance has become a buzz word and a major focal point in the shift toward progress in the area of combatting racial and other forms of discrimination.

But let’s think about the usage of the term. Here is how the dictionary defines tolerance: The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. The second definition is: the capacity to endure continued subjection to something. So it seems that tolerance is a (somewhat) painful or challenging state of existence. We tolerate pain, we tolerate adverse conditions, and we tolerate people that are “other” to us.

Essentially tolerance is saying to the other that “really, I can’t stand you, but I have trained myself to not allow my distaste for you to cause me to run away and stay far from you.”

What we need is less tolerance and more love. We need to stop seeing people as “other” and start embracing them as “same.” This doesn’t mean that we embrace or even tolerate all that they think or do. It means that we look deeper into the essence of who they are beyond what they do or think. That they are Hashem’s children, Hashem’s handiwork, formed in Hashem’s image, and each one has a spark of Hashem within them.

What we need is less tolerance and more love.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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