This and This

Everyone’s right
Or everyone’s wrong
These and these are the words of the living God [Eruvin 13b]

For three years Hillel and Shammai argued
Until a Bat Kol – a voice from heaven –
We were eavesdropping on Hashem’s messengers
We heard:
This and also this [eilu v’eilu]

Hillel prevailed because he was either humble
Or polite
Shammai was severe.

Hillel, I am told, led with kindness

Shammai led with potential
What it might be in the future
Far future.

I was thinking —
We need Your wisdom
And we need it now.

The arguments haven’t settled out yet
It’s a someday thing
Someday somebody would get it
But until they do —

Lead with kindness
Both — eilu v’eilu —
Both opinions are Godliness

For the sake of heaven, they used to say
String beads, be compassionate, be humble,
We know they’re right.

There are so many stops on the way
42 to be exact
I can’t be sure any one is more meaningful
Than any other
I do know this:

Every turn necessary
Every stop significant
And if the mountain isn’t mentioned?
It’s not because we weren’t there.

I was there
You bet I was
And I’m going back again.

jsg, s’dot yam