In order to genuinely learn about the needs and experiences of others, we must put aside our own assumptions, agendas, and even passions. In order to truly listen to the other, we must be willing to admit that perhaps we do not know the things about which we are so certain, so confident.
The Talmud, in tractate Megillah 7b states the following: “Rava said: A person is obligated to get drunk on Purim so that he cannot distinguish between ‘cursed is Haman’ and ‘blessed is Mordecai.’” I’ve never understood this tradition to drink on Purim. Yes, Purim is our mardi-gras, the Jewish day of letting go. The Megillah is full of references to drinking and to excess. But to not be able to distinguish between Haman and Mordecai? It seems absurd! That’s like not knowing our left from our right, our good from our bad, ourselves from another. It’s impossible! And, even more wild, is how the story continues: