After the inauguration of President Trump and the nationwide protest marches, I am planning what I think will be a series of Shabbat morning sermons. I want to attack from various directions the question of how to weigh or integrate pursuing one's convictions with creating and sustaining a broad political community where there is fundamental disagreement.
For my first one, I am hoping to use the following text from the Talmud Bavli, Eruvin 13b. I am looking for any comments or insights you have on the text and its lesson -- please post comments! Two questions that are calling out to me right now: Is Beit Hillel's way of listening to Beit Shammai's opinions is inherently good, or just a good solid tactic for winning people over in an argument? What is the best translation for the way Beit Hillel conducted themselves?
Anyway, here is the text. The full text with Hebrew/Aramaic and context is here at Sefaria. I look forward to your ideas, which will help me frame my teaching next Shabbat.
Rabbi Abba said in the name of Shmuel: For three years, Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai were engaged in a dispute. One said, "The halakha (law) is like us," and the other said, "The halakha is like us."