Women – Wise and Other Wise
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Women – Wise and Other Wise

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Mrs. Randolph Guggenheimer, Editor

Many, many years ago Beruria, the wife of a well-known Hebrew Rabbi and teacher said that one should hate a sin, but never a sinner. Her precept is an important one, and one of the most difficult to follow. It is almost impossible completely to divorce the person from his principles. If something arouses our indignation we immediately become so blinded by emotion that we no longer reason or see clearly.

Perhaps the difficulty lies in the fact that after all we only know people by what they do to us, and if their actions are unpleasant we must find them unpleasant as people too. If, understanding all this, we are still able to fight the action and not the actor, we have placed ourselves in a position of strength. By allowing personal animosity to become confused with hatred of wrong-doing, we bring ourselves down to the level of the wrongdoer, and what might have been a crusade becomes nothing more nor less than a brawl. When a cause is worthy it should not be so difficult to strive for it with dignity, and dignity opposed to uncivilized and crude behavior is the most powerful of all weapons.


Howling mobs and wild demonstrations, the natural result of the unintelligent hysteria that animates people possessed of this foolish sort of hatred, does very little to help a cause. A group of screaming people rarely sways observers in the direction they mean to, and, in fact, accomplish very little other than the upsetting of the peace, and resultant harm to the cause for which they are screaming.

People who are not intimately engaged in a cause of strife are quick to seize on any idealistic purpose. When only their moral sense, and not their emotions are interested, they will naturally incline towards the side that is morally right. They are quite as ready, however, to criticize either side, and no matter how strongly they concur in one point of view, they will condemn that point of view if its supporters comport themselves without dignity. Public opinion is very easily swayed, and public opinion, in any conflict, is a vitally important factor.


Jewish women have always been powerful influences in home life. It is in the power of the Jewish women to guide into more thoughtful channels the turbulent emotions which may give rise to irresponsible action, and it is her duty to exert her influence in the most helpful way. The important thing to remember is that no cause is justifiable when those who are working for it degrade it by actions that are coarse and objectionable. When a cause degenerates into petty personal feuds, when people are no longer able to distinguish between the principle they are fighting for and the people who represent that principle, then the cause loses all meaning, all dignity, and all force, and it is too often doomed to a very ignoble failure.

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