Choose Harmony

There is almost always a way to maintain harmony in the face of different views, even if the solution is to agree to disagree.

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Reprinted with permission from Torah Topics for Today.

As parents, we are often handling disputes between our children.  Isn't it amazing how each child thinks he or she is justified, correct, and not at fault? Because fighting within a family is very common, our efforts have to focus everyone on the importance of living in peace. Disagreements will  happen, and we may feel very justified in our positions, but that doesn’t mean that acrimony must prevail.

In this week's Torah portion, Lekh L'kha, Abraham feels forced to asks his nephew Lot to part ways.  Lot had accompanied Abraham through many of his travels, but staying together has become too difficult because their shepherds are constantly fighting.Abraham realizes that the disagreement is bound to continue, as each side was very sure of its position. Instead of allowing matters to deteriorate, Abraham chooses to put distance between himself and Lot. His goal is to preserve the harmony between them.

Separation is an extreme solution to a problem that could be handled by being willing to try to understand others. We can make that choice even when we think (or know) that the other person is wrong. Whether with a colleague, friend, or family member, there is almost always a way to maintain harmony in the face of different views, even if the solution is to agree to disagree. With creative thinking, humility, and acceptance, useless fighting can be avoided. Teach your kids to show humility, understanding, and acceptance of the views of others so they can avoid useless fighting.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about being smart enough to choose peaceful solutions. 

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:

· Give an example of a fight that you could have avoided

· What possible compromises can you think of that would have prevented ongoing fighting?

· Should we always be so sure that we're right?

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Rabbi Moshe Becker is a co-founder of the Jewish Renaissance Experience, an innovative Jewish education and outreach program in Westchester County, NY. He has done advanced research in Jewish Law, philosophy and history at The Jerusalem Kollel and with the Hashkafa Circle and has lectured and written extensively on these topics.