Shabbat Talmud Study: Our Moral Blind Spots–What Are We Not Seeing?


Moral blind spots. We don’t see what we don’t see.

When King Solomon builds the Temple in Jerusalem, the House of God, which we read in our Haftarah last week, there is a huge moral blind spot. As is the nature of a blind spot, he does not see it. The author of 1 Kings 5 and 6 does not see it. But we, the modern reader, see it clearly.

The House of God was to be a House of God, which meant that there had to be a moral core to its construction and use. The builders could not use any hammer, ax or iron tool on the stones that would compose the House of God because those are instruments of war, and the stones must be happy, peaceful stones, not befouled by weapons of war. While seeing some moral problems (war), other moral problems neither the King nor the biblical author could see.

Similarly, when Ari Shavit’s great grandfather Herbert Bentwich goes from England in 1897 to visit Eretz Yisrael, he has a blind spot. He does not know it at the time. He does not see what he does not see. But it is crystal clear to his great grandson Ari Shavit what he did not see.

How do we understand the phenomenon of a moral blind spot? What causes us to have moral blind spots? What are our moral blind spots? What do we not see that we do not see?

What do we do about it?

See you tomorrow at 8:30.

Shabbat shalom,
Wes