Stanley's blog

A lesson from the Maharal

There are two roads to peace, according to the Maharal (the famous Chief Rabbi of Prague in the 16th century): separation or active co-existence. Of these, only the latter is durable. Although there is no overall consensus, European thinking – whether about Russia, China, Iran or wherever, tends to favour integration. This is should not be surprising when we recall where separation and balance of power policies led Europe. US policy, on the other hand, tends to favour separation unless its conditions are met – Cuba, North Korea, Iran…

The Maharal was preaching several hundred years ago that we must banish zero sum games and strive for win-wins. To him, aggressivity is inherent in the very nature and essence of the human being. For each individual human being is the nullification of the other. Divided human beings can never be satisfied except by the conquest of the part they lack and the lack of which, is maiming and pricking them.

The Maharal’s ‘golden rule’ is: “May your brother live with you but in such a way that you do not encroach on him.”

Russians, Georgians, Ossetians and others would do well to heed these wise words uttered a half a millennium ago, but totally valid today.

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