To what extent should we compromise our values for the sake of harmony?
Is it possible to maintain absolute standards in a world where disruption is the future?
To put it simply, what language can we use to communicate our timeless values to Millennials?
Human beings are a complex species. On the one hand we are essentially an agreeable race. We become aggressive or violent only when we feel threatened or frustrated. Ideally we would all like to live in peace and harmony.
On the other hand we all sense the need for discipline and structure in our lives. A value system that sets a common moral standard to which society at large should adhere. Without which we are in effect encouraging anarchy and chaos.
This timeless dilemma is dealt with in this week’s Torah portion. In a fascinating account we read in detail how G-d chooses both Moses and Aaron for the pivotal mission to Pharoh.
The challenge at hand is overwhelming. How does one communicate effectively with a tyrant? How does one convey the plight of a nation suffering to the very person who has orchestrated the oppression?
The secret: A two pronged approach working harmoniously side by side can assist in overcoming all communication barriers.
The Midrash says Moses personified the attribute of “Truth” whilst Aaron personified the attribute of “kindness”. Each one both needs and compliments the other.
A “truth” that is not applied in the real world is lacking in its authenticity. An idea is only real when it finds its practical application. And “kindness” is the tool needed to help each and every individual discover his or her unique truth.
The same is true for “kindness”. Alone it certainly has good intentions. It wants to give to everyone without any inhibitions.
However in its strength lies its weakness. Because there is no discernment in the outpouring of love, there will be recipients who will exploit this good will in an unhealthy manor. Kindness needs to be anchored in a transcendent value system in order for it to be healthy.
Moses and Aaron also personified humility. Because of which they both recognized each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They worked together to overcome the challenges facing the Jewish people both externally and internally. They led their people out of Egypt and prepared them for revelation at Mount Sinai. They imbued our people with these combined qualities that would ensure our survival notwithstanding the greatest odds.
In approaching our day to day challenges we should seek to apply this lesson. On the hand it is vital to retain our timeless values which constitutes our core identity. At the same time we need to listen very carefully and fully appreciate the new challenges and concerns of the next generation. Only then will we be able to discover a new language, loyal to our past whilst at the same time embracing the new opportunities of the future. For this we must have lots of patience and empathy