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Looking at Things in a New Way

July 10, 2015

I have a cousin who is a rabbi and very wise. I always read his posts on Facebook. Sometimes, like today, his posts give me the inspiration to write too.

Today my cousin the rabbi published a piece about our weekly Torah portion, called Pinchas (Numbers, 25:10-30:1).

In this Torah portion, among other things, new laws of inheritance are recognized, including permitting daughters to inherit from their father if there are no sons. (Numbers, 27:6-8).

This constituted a radical change at the time.

Recently, in our country, we have also had a radical change:

In Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. __ (2015), equal access to marriage licenses for same sex couples was recognized nationally for the first time.

In each case, a new way of looking at things (i.e., evolving societal views) caused the change.

More specifically, a recognition of evolving goals and interests caused the change.

In the biblical instance, the goal was to keep the land in the family to the extent possible (and in so doing equality and justice advanced).

In the same-sex marriage case, the goal was to provide equal protection of a fundamental right to a class of individuals previously subjected to unequal treatment (and in so doing equality and justice advanced).

Change for some is hard to swallow. It takes looking at things in a new way.

In mediation, people can change too if they can look at things in a new way so as to make peace with one another.

To bring about resolution, they need to recognize and accommodate to the underlying goals and interests of the other participants, even if they disagree.

This, of course, requires an openness and willingness to understand one another better, which requires, among other things, the facilitation of open communication and nonjudgmental respect.

Once there is open communication and mutual understanding, the parties are then free to choose resolution or continued conflict.

It just takes looking at things in a new way.

As Aristotle reportedly said:

“When we are free to act, we are also free to refrain from acting, and where we are able to say ‘no’ we are also able to say ‘yes.’” (See, Leo Rosten’s Carnival of Wit (1994). New York, NY: Penguin Group, p. 233.

***

David I. Karp is a full time independent mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California. His website is at http://karpmediation.com .

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