The Tragedy of When We are Both Right

A few years back, I noted the rather discordant nature of the last stories in the Book of Bereshit. Right before the story of Yosef’s death, there is a strange scene in which the brothers show concern that Yosef might still want to take revenge on them, which he quickly dispels. However though life would continue as it had during their father’s lifetime, the conflict is never completely resolved. Many notice that the brothers never came out and asked Yosef for forgiveness.

The unresolved nature of this conflict should help us understand that with it, the Torah turns to a new type of episode – the question of what to do when two people who disagree are both right. Up until now, the conflicts were between right and wrong. Granted we have often noted the nuance in those conflicts, such that right is generally not completely right and wrong not completely wrong. Still, even a nuanced understanding of the conflict between Esav and Yaakov will show it to be of a completely different nature than the moral standoff between Yehudah and Yosef.

The tragedy this represents is the tragedy built into the near impossibility of seeing reality from a completely different – though also legitimate – perspective. For more, go to the full article at the Jewish Press.

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