A few days after her death, I was asked to speak at a vigil for Justice Ginsburg [z”l]). I told the crowd that I was honored to be with them, and that there were many quotes [including the one from our Third Night reading] that I could repeat, but that I was going to do something more Jewish by asking a question.
“Does anyone know who Justice Ginsburg considered her closest friend in the court?” I asked.
The answer: it was Scalia, her ideological opposite. They even went on vacations together!
I told the crowd that I knew they were hurting. I knew that given the turmoil in the country, that there were fists clenched tight. And I honored that pain and frustration. For them, it came about honestly.
What I said next took some people back . . .
“I want you to take your clenched fists and turn them into open palms. Because your anger will not bring justice. Only your friendship will.”
I reminded the crowd that there were times, albeit rare, that the two polar opposites judged the same way on court cases. They even wrote a dissent together! They liked to argue, they liked one another, and an unlikely friendship lasted until their deaths.
It is possible to pursue justice while keeping friendships that are unlikely. It is possible to have strong beliefs without putting off everyone around you. It is possible to believe in something that defines you, but does not have to define everyone else.
Pursue justice, but also pursue peace and mercy.
- Rabbi Patrick