Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Being Pareve

I know some people who have complained about others who are pareve. There are many people out there with very strong opinions, your everyday "baal shittoh." They're loud, they're clear, they're stubborn. And then there are others that, when you ask them their opinion, they'll either say "I don't know," "I'll have to think about it," or give a long-winded answer to the effect of, "well, it depends on this, and assuming that's true and if Rabbi X is right, then maybe you possibly can say that...." Which way is better?

On one hand, you have some people who just don't think about anything. So a spaco will just say "I don't know" because they don't think about anything. But at least I respect those people for being honest. On the other hand, you'll have some insecure egomaniacs that attempt to prove they have a position on a matter, when in fact they're totally clueless. And you can't argue with some of these people. They're just too dumb to understand what you're saying! I can't stand 'em.

But the fact is, I respect most people who are of the outspoken baal-shitoh type. The fact is, most of them are well thought-out. And the ones that can argue their cases well and bring solid evidence to their views really impress me. So, in many cases, the baalei-shittoh are more thought-out and intellegent than the pareve types.

You can make the case, however, that some pareve people are more thought out than baalei-shittoh. Especially the type that go through every outcome and possibility. The fact is, most things in life aren't black-and-white. And the people that can coherently express the many shades of gray score a bunch of points in my book. And I believe that the ability to discuss many possibilities and factors and their consequences separates the spaced pareve people from the highly intelligent ones.

One example that comes to mind is ESPN baseball genius Peter Gammons. When you ask Peter a question like, "How do you think the Red Sox will do in the second half?" he doesn't just say, "they'll do good enough to get the wild card." Rather, he'll say something to the effect of, "well, if Derek Lowe can start pitching well, and if the defense improves, and if Francona can get the players focused, then the Red Sox have a decent shot at making it. And if they manage to get Randy Johnson, and if Pedro reverts to old form, and if Bellhorn and Reese do well enough to make up for Nomar, then they have a very solid chance of going all the way." Now that's my kind of guy!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things are not black and white, and most people who have strong opinions on things have their minds made up and will not listen to other sides of an issue (which always exist.) I really respect you for being the kind of person who has strong beliefs, yet is still quite willing to listen to what others say and even -gasp- change your viewpoints based on new data. You are a rare bird.


10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:29 PM  

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