How Far is Too Far?
Who has not been faced with the following predicament: You get into a serious conflict with a close friend, and you aren’t sure whether you should sever ties.
Or the other way around: Your loved one is terribly angry at you for a good reason and is not inclined to reconcile. How much should you push before giving up?
Should you ever give up? What line, if any, must be crossed before cutting off from a loved one? When hurt or betrayed, how far is too far? Is there a point of no return?
The same question can be asked about any idea or project that we believe in: When faced with setbacks and difficulties, is there ever a point when we should give up and try something new? How do we know when an obstacle is only a challenge to be overcome, or a sign that this initiative is not worth pursuing?
Finally, we can ask the same of our relationship with G-d: Is there a point where our connection can be so compromised that there is no room for reconciliation?
A powerful interpretation of the Baal Shem Tov on a verse in this week’s Torah portion provides us with a formula to know the line we should never cross – for the sake of our very own survival.