Sunday, February 26, 2017

An Individual Or Social Being?

לזכות נעמי מרים בת רחל לברכה והצלחה כל מעשי ידיה!!

Is man primarily an individual who also must function within a community? Or is he primarily a "social animal" who also has a unique, individualistic side?

Both Rav Soloveichik and Rav Hutner tackled this question and came to the BEST Jewish conclusion - we are both!

Let us see:

Rav Soloveitchik refers back to the Creation story and notes that man is created alone but we also learn that "it is not good for man to be alone". This leads to the conclusion that ... 

"The answer to the problem is rather a dialectical one, namely, man is both... In fact, the greatness of man manifests itself in his inner contradiction, in his dialectical nature, in his being single and unrelated to anyone, as well as in his being thou-related and belonging to a community structure." [The Community p.8]

Rav Hutner ALSO refers to the Creation story and reaches the same conclusion:

The takeaway lesson is that we must strive to constantly be unique, sui generis, unequalled human beings and at the same time strengthen and fortify our communal connections, forge friendships etc.