Learn from Everyone
Learn From Everyone

We have all heard of the adage “Love your fellow person as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).  While many of us may interpret this teaching as a way of explaining that we should treat others the way we would want to be treated, it also prompts us to realize that each of us can be both student and teacher, and valuing the ideas presented from many perspectives is one way to show our “fellow persons” love.  Just as we would want our opinions, perspectives, and experiences to be considered important and valid, so too we are held accountable for affirming other’s opinions, perspectives, and experiences.  This value demands that we show empathy for others and charges us to identify with others feelings.  

Another aspect of lomed m’kol adam is that even the minority opinion is important.  It is important to note that Judaism suggests that we can never truly and fully know what another person feels or believes, but it does ask us to be in consideration of each other.  The rabbis of the Talmud decreed that in making any decisions, all opinions and precedents must be presented before the court to ensure all sides are accounted for.  As a result, we can, as Hillel taught, be disciples of Aaron and love peace, pursue peace, love all of humanity, and in doing so, attract all to living and studying the Torah (Pirke Avot 1:12).  Pirke Avot 4:1 furthers this notion by explaining “Who is wise?  The one that learns from every person … Who is honored (given respect)?  The one who gives honor (respect) to others.”  In other words, the greatest sign of an individual who understands the concept of kavod is when they give the same respect to others as they would want for themselves.

Questions for Personal Reflection:

1. What is the connection between learning from others and pursuing and loving peace?

2. If you become frustrated over not understanding something, you may limit yourself from understanding the thing that you are frustrated about.  What can you do to raise your awareness of when emotions, such as frustration, can prevent you from learning and understanding?

3. What can you do to model lomed m’kol adam within your life and within the classroom?

Everyone has something to share, so listen to new ideas and learn every day.