Message for the Week from Rabbi Stein

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Rabbi Jay M. Stein on Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

Mishna Avot 4,8

HE [R. Ishmael] USED TO SAY: JUDGE NOT ALONE, FOR NONE MAY JUDGE ALONE SAVE ONE; AND SAY NOT ACCEPT MY VIEW’, FOR THEY ARE FREE BUT NOT THOU.

Henry Martyn Robert was an engineering officer in the regular Army. Without warning he was asked to preside over a public meeting being held in a church in his community and realized that he did not know how. He tried anyway and his embarrassment was supreme. This event left him determined never to attend another meeting until he knew something of parliamentary law.

There is nothing more exasperating than having a conversation with a person who refuses to hear your side. Robert’s rules of Order were established in order to give every person the opportunity to express their view. The problem is that still doesn’t insure that every person is heard.

In discussions and debates, alike, we often are planning our next rebuttal before the other has even had a chance to finish what they are saying. It means we aren’t listening. Our Mishna tells us there is great benefit in having an open mind. There is great value in hearing others’ opinions. If we are ever to be heard ourselves, we must be willing to listen.