Our daughter’s medical journey, though not an enjoyable one, has led our family to meet new people and experience situations we would have otherwise not had the opportunity to. One such recent encounter was with a scientist who shared with me a fundamental approach in medicine, derived from the teachings of Sir William Osler, a father of modern medicine.
When faced with a perplexing set of symptoms, we always seek the economy of diagnosis, meaning, one unifying story that ties the whole picture together in lieu of several diagnoses that invoke a confluence of disparate, unrelated events.
This reminded me of a method I learned from the Rebbe's teachings about how to best resolve apparent contradictions, complexities or challenges in Jewish thought. When dealing with questions on a passage of Talmud, a halachic ruling from Maimonides, or a commentary from Rashi: if one idea successfully answers more than one question, and especially when the same idea answers multiple questions across various topics, one can be more certain this is indeed a correct answer.
This parallel method to approaching, discerning and resolving challenges, also further demonstrates the idea that embedded in the Torah is the methodology and resolution to every conceivable issue one can face in life. Often we may feel that Torah, modernity and scientific discovery are at odds. In truth, however, the more deeply we delve into it, we realize that there is a true convergence. The only question might be how far are we willing to go.
Discovering this harmonious balance and holistic approach is what we need as we prepare for Rosh Hashanah. The heightened spiritual awareness we experience during the High Holiday season can not simply be limited to an isolated time on the calendar or the specific location of the Synagogue. We must be able to adapt and live with this awareness year round, wherever we may be. Tapping into this energy, may also be the secret key to unlocking a happy and sweet year for us all.
Rabbi Mendel Alperowitz Blog
Serving the spiritual needs of the South Dakota Jewish community. Based in Sioux Falls and travels the state.