Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Unpacking naivete

In my previous post, I said:

I believe that naivete has an important place in our lives, in moving us from an ugly world to a more attractive one. Naivete regarding other people, naivete regarding Gd, naivete regarding ourselves. Let me be a cynic all year long, but not now, not in these weeks.

Let me add a few explanatory sentences here:

Normally, I believe in confronting questions, even going looking for them. I would rather read Richard Dawkins or biblical criticism, encountering their challenges and dealing with them, rather than pretend they don't exist; it fits my temperament. I tend to click on links that tout the latest scientific discovery that seems to contradict Bereishit, or that provide evidence tying traits of the soul with hormones and neural circuitry.

As Rosh HaShanah approaches, though, I prefer to turn off all of that noise. Not because its questions are any less valid, but because this isn't the time for it. Elul, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur - these are like a marriage with Gd, a time when we are supposed to feel and express love. It's very hard to express love, to have a real bonding experience, while you're looking over your shoulder.

Hence my Rosh HaShanah derashah this year - naive in the extreme as it touted a relationship with Gd, while eliding the very real questions about just how much (or little) Gd wants that relationship. On Rosh HaShanah, I'm good with that.

As I explained it to a friend on Rosh HaShanah, I see the run-up through Elul like a second marriage. When a young couple, fresh out of school, go to the chuppah, they might have eyes only for each other, thinking the other is the best and the most attractive and the most ideal. But then imagine a couple entering a second marriage; they've seen the world, and they know that perfection is a myth and that their partner has warts and wrinkles in both body and personality. As they walk to the chuppah, though, they had better put the doubts and concerns out of their minds; to start off their marriage in a healthy way, they need that moment when they look at each other as though this is heaven, and there really is no one else in the world. Let the problems wait for another day.

That's my Elul. For these weeks, let me think that the people around me are wonderful. Let me believe that I can be wonderful. Let me trust, untrammeled, in a bond with my Creator, who watches and cares. Next week, I'll go back to wrestling with skepticism, but right now, I'm headed to the chuppah.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A healthy dose of naivete

What's on my mind after Rosh Hashanah and Shabbos Shuvah?

Three music videos that I like not because their music is outstandingly good, but because צמאה נפשי for a world in which the vision of unity presented in these videos was the norm:

Of course, I know that there are real reasons for the schisms among our nation, and there are substantive issues of both philosophy and practice that divide us. All the same, I believe that naivete has an important place in our lives, in moving us from an ugly world to a more attractive one. Naivete regarding other people, naivete regarding Gd, naivete regarding ourselves.

Let me be a cynic all year long, but not now, not in these weeks.

More on this theme of naivete in the days leading up to Yom Kippur, I expect.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Are You my mother? (Derashah for Rosh HaShanah)

Several years ago, researchers at Baylor University in the US published a study entitled, "American Piety in the 21st century".[1] They asked Americans to identify what kind of Gd they believed in. The five choices were:
  • Authoritarian (meaning that Gd is highly involved in day-to-day life, in punishing ways),
  • Benevolent (meaning that Gd is highly involved in day-to-day life, in helpful ways);
  • Critical (meaning that Gd is not involved in the world, but Gd watches and judges and will reward and punish eventually);
  • Distant (meaning that Gd started the world, but doesn't care about it or run it);
  • And atheist.
When the results were broken down by religion,[2] Evangelical Protestants largely believed that Gd is authoritarian. Mainline Protestants and Catholics were split. And among Jews, the dominant choice was D – 41.7% of respondents who identified themselves as Jewish believed that Gd is distant – not watching, not caring, what happens in our universe.

Tanach presents the story of a man who came to agree with that 41.7%, a man who lived in a place called Utz; his name was Iyov.

You might have heard of Iyov; here's a quick outline of his story:
  • Iyov enjoys a large family and magnificent wealth, and is extraordinarily devoted to Gd.
  • Off in heaven, a malicious malach charges that Iyov only serves Gd because Gd protects him. Gd permits the malach to test Iyov; the malach takes almost everything away from him.
  • Iyov is visited by various people who try to justify his suffering. He rejects their claims; he curses the day he was born, arguing that there is no justice, that Gd has outsourced the running of the universe and isn't paying attention. He demands to sue Gd for negligence.
  • Gd then addresses Iyov personally, challenging him: What do you know about running a universe? Where were you when I created the world? What are your powers?
  • At which point Iyov apologizes for his words, accepting Gd's response. Gd then gives Iyov a new start in life, with great rewards.
The book invites many questions – I intend to discuss more about it in a class during the break on Yom Kippur – but for now I want to ask just two:
  • First: How does Gd's "answer" to Iyov address his questions, and why does Iyov accept it?
  • And Second: Iyov seems to reject Gd throughout the book, proving that the malach was right. So why does Gd reward him at the end?
I would like to re-write the book of Iyov, and answer Baylor's 41.7%, with an idea that goes to the heart of Rosh haShanah and the mitzvah of shofar.

People usually believe that the sole problem of the book of Iyov is Iyov's question to Gd: "Why do good people suffer?" But as we have seen, that question is barely answered in the book! Instead, Professor Yaakov Klein of Bar Ilan University[3] suggests that a second central problem of the book of Iyov is the malach's question to Gd: "Why do people follow Gd?" Do human beings revere and serve their Creator to win fabulous prizes, or for something else? And this is answered in the book, by Iyov himself.

The book makes clear that Iyov is loyal because he believes he has a relationship with Gd. When he suffers without apparent reason, he assumes there is no relationship; like the 41.7%, he decides that the Creator is allowing proxies to run the world. Angry and hurt, he rejects this distant Gd. Then Gd responds that He is indeed watching and running the universe, that He is aware of a man named Iyov and his fortunes and misfortunes. Gd declares, "I halt the oceans where they are, I harness the mightiest beings in existence, and I still have time to pay attention to you. I won’t tell you how justice works, but I will tell you that I am watching, and I care." That's Gd's response to Iyov.

Iyov accepts Gd's declaration because that's all he ever wanted – it confirms what he believed at the start of the book, that Gd is watching. Iyov didn't need great rewards, and he didn't need to know the mechanics of Divine justice. What Iyov needed was to know that Gd was watching, listening, caring, at all. Whether Gd is Authoritarian, Benevolent or Critical is irrelevant; once Iyov knew that Gd was not Distant, he was satifisfied.

And because Iyov was satisfied with that response, because Iyov showed that what mattered to him was not fabulous prizes but the existence of a relationship, Gd rewarded Iyov – because with his actions Iyov answered the malach's question in the most positive of ways. The malach had claimed that human beings revere Gd for selfish reasons, and Iyov answered him: We do it because we believe in a relationship. We do it because we believe that Gd cares about the events of our lives. Because even if Gd is מונה מספר לכוכבים, able to number the stars, He is first הרופא לשבורי לב, the healer of broken hearts.[4]

Iyov is not the only human being in the Torah to want Gd to see us, to be near us; the biblical narrative is replete with such people:
  • Avraham serves Gd not for reward, but as אוהבי, the one who loves Gd.[5]
  • After the Golden Calf, when Gd indicates He is going to separate from the Jews, Moshe dictates to Gd, "אם אין פניך הולכים אל תעלנו מזה," "If You won't be our intimate, leave us here in the wilderness!"
  • In our haftorah this morning, Chanah warns us, אל תרבו לדבר גבוהה גבוהה. As Abarbanel explains, she insists, "Don’t say that Gd is elevated and far away from us; Gd is near at hand!"

Our need for proximity to Gd is fundamental to Judaism. To borrow a phrase from the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead,[6] this is one of the "irreducible and stubborn facts" of Judaism, a first principle which must be accepted in order for us to discuss anything Jewish: being one of the 41.7% is to be out-of-step with Jewish theology. The Jew demands Divine immediacy, that Gd pay attention.

And in parallel, it is an irreducible and stubborn fact of the Torah's conception of Gd, that Gd longs to be near us; Gd does not want to be of Baylor's 41.7%.
  • Thus HaShem commands the Jews to build a משכן, a sanctuary in their midst, in which He will dwell. And so the Kinos of Tishah b'Av describe the effect of the loss of the Beis haMikdash not only in terms of our human suffering, but in terms of Gd suffering, כביכול, as a newly homeless, rootless being, ונהיית כצפור בודד על גג, like a lone and lonely bird perched upon a roof.
  • Thus HaShem commands us not only to perform mitzvah actions, but ואהבת, to love Gd, to contemplate Gd, to draw near to Gd.
  • Thus the Talmud tells us that when a single person is studying Torah, Gd is present.[7] When just one individual grieves for the death of a good person, Gd counts and stores the tears.[8] When a single person prays in silence, Gd listens.[9] הקב"ה מתאוה לתפלתן של צדיקים, Gd longs for our prayers.[10]
If this relationship is not the reason we were created, it is, at the least, fundamentally necessary to, and inextricable from, the Divine plan.

This is the way Gd planned our existence, from the beginning – to live with Gd, in Gan Eden. When HaShem created the plants and animals and people of this world, He used the same terms to describe all of them. But He did not address the plants and animals. He only addresses humanity. As Rav Soloveitchik explained,[11] "Gd takes [this] man-animal into His confidence, addresses him and reveals to him His moral will."

Indeed, this need for human-Gd proximity is a major reason why large numbers of people, Jewish and non-Jewish, wander the earth searching for Gd, migrating from philosophy to philosophy trying to find Gd. It's like the classic children's story, "Are you my mother?" The baby bird knows he has a mother, wants his mother, and travels the world trying to find her.

It's also one of the causes for angry atheism. Like Iyov, people have sought Gd, and they have been disappointed and frustrated. They are turned off by perpetual Divine absence and perceived Divine abuse - and they are also frustrated by the gross improprieties of human beings who claim to represent Gd, and this drives them the other way, to insist that there is no Gd at all. They have been hurt and let down.

And as a tangent – this one is not only on Gd, it's also on us. Us, the rabbis, and us, the visibly observant Jews. If our behaviour isn't beyond reproach, or if we conflate the laws and lessons of Torah with superstition, or if we are self-satisfied and arrogant, if we fail to inspire the confidence and faith of those around us, then we are the reason why people are unable to find their mother, we are the reason why people become hostile, we are the reason why people choose Option D. They believe Gd is distant in part because people who visibly select Options A, B and C portray a relationship with Gd that is repugnant. But I digress.

Torah is meant to be a way for us to find that relationship with Gd. As the Talmud Yerushalmi says, the goal of Torah is to bring us into that relationship with Gd.[12] It's what Gd wants. It's what we want. And it's what Iyov wanted, all along – not to have his material needs met, but to enjoy a relationship.

To return to Rosh haShanah: This relationship with Gd is a central theme of the day; Rosh haShanah is the day that tells us that there is a relationship.
  • It's not a human-centred day of self-analysis, for us to review our pasts and make resolutions for our future. We spend our day in הכתרת מלך, crowning Gd, in human consideration of the Divine.
  • It's not a Gd-centred day of distant decrees, taking place in some throneroom up in the heavens. It is a יום הדין, a day of Divine consideration of human beings in judgment.

In the very structure of our musaf of Rosh haShanah, our liturgy sends this message:
  • We remember our King – מלכויות.
  • And our King remembers us – זכרונות.
  • And as the Talmud[13] says, ובמה? בשופר. Nowhere is this more clear than in the shofar, forever the symbol of the encounter between human being and Gd. From the ram substituted for Yitzchak on the altar, to the shofar blast when the Torah was given at Har Sinai, to the shofar blasts of Yovel every fifty years, to the shofar of mashiach, the ram's horn represents human and Gd meeting together.

When we hear the shofar blown in a few minutes, let us remember that this is the central point of Rosh haShanah: rejecting Option D. During shofar, we occupy these moments alongside Gd, because Gd is here, and listening, and thinking of us.

Last year at this time, I proposed that shofar is not about verbal exposition; rather, shofar is an experience; existimare aude, "dare to experience." For some of us, the mood of that experience will be apologetic. For some it will be grateful. For some it will be mournful. For some it will be a moment of petition. That's up to each of us to formulate; the key is that we recognize within ourselves that which our ancestors saw when they canonized the book of Iyov in Tanach: That the irreducible and stubborn fact of our Jewish existence is against the 41.7%. Our Creator connects with us, and we connect with our Creator.

May we merit to connect with our Creator, to build that relationship, today and for the rest of the year, to live lives which convince others that there is such a relationship, and so merit a כתיבה וחתימה טובה, to be inscribed and sealed for a great year, and then to live a great year.

[1] http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/33304.pdf
[2] Pg. 32 of the pdf
[3] Olam haTanach, Iyov, pp. 9-10
[4] Tehillim 147:3-4
[5] Yeshayah 41:8
[6] The Influence of Western Medieval Culture Upon the Development of Modern Science, http://www.inters.org/Whitehead-Western-Development-Science. And see R' Eliezer Berkovits in Tradition 3:2 (1961) "What is a Jewish Philosophy?", who attributed the phrase to Galileo. I know no basis for attributing it to Galileo, but I am channeling R' Berkovits's use of the concept to define a " Jewish" philosophy here.
[7] Avos 3:2, 3:6
[8] Shabbos 105b
[9] Yerushalmi Berachos 9:1
[10] Chullin 60b
[11] The Emergence of Ethical Man, pg. 5
[12] Yerushalmi Chagigah 1:7, Eichah Rabbah Pesichta 2, based on Yirmiyah 16:11
[13] Rosh haShanah 16a

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Adrian Peterson's Rosh HaShanah Moment

Adrian Peterson is a top-level, record-setting, award-winning star athlete. He is also a father of six children, and this past week he was indicted by a grand jury for "reckless or negligent injury" for beating one of his children, age 4, with a switch - a leaf-stripped tree branch, apparently on bare skin, causing deep wounds.

Mr. Peterson's defense is simple: he never intended to cause harm, he was trying to help his child. "I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child." Indeed, other athletes and public figures chimed in that this is a standard way to discipline children in contemporary society. The implication: I was disciplined with a switch and I grew up to be a healthy, well-adjusted, normal human being, and so in my mind, this is a good way to raise a child.

This is not the place for a discussion of Jewish tradition's complex approach to disciplining a child (but click here for a source sheet on the topic from a class of mine). Rather, I want to focus on Mr. Peterson's implication that he is healthy, well-adjusted, etc. It would be wrong for me to assume anything about him, especially when I have so many flaws and abnormalities of my own, but I would ask this about football players in general: are we sure that someone who makes his living playing a sport in which absurdly bulked-up humans crash into each other in front of millions of viewers on a weekly basis for several years (if they are lucky and good), before retiring with severely damaged backs and knees, and frequently with serious concussion damage suspected of leading to unusually high rates of depression and suicide, is... healthy?

Similarly, a while back I heard a radio pundit talk about how her parents were worried about the impact of high doses of television on the childrens of the '70s and '80s, and how "we turned out fine". Perhaps that generation - my generation - is fine, but when we read about out-of-control obesity, high rates of emotional and anxiety disorders, poor levels of social and civic engagement and so on, shouldn't we at least question whether we "turned out fine"?

Perhaps many of us naturally think of ourselves as having turned out fine, like Adrian Peterson and like the woman on the radio. But this is part of the Rosh HaShanah challenge: to look at ourselves and ask, "Are we healthy? Or do we need to change something?"

As long as we go about our lives believing that we are okay, we lack the impetus to re-evaluate and determine a more positive direction; we will go right on doing what we've always done. But consider the words of Cris Carter, a former football star: "My mom did the best job she could do, raising seven kids by herself. But there are thousands of things that I have learned since then that my mom was wrong...  She did the best she could, but she was wrong about some of that stuff she taught me." The same is quite possibly true for ourselves; we've done our best, but that doesn't mean we've been right.

As we approach Rosh HaShanah, let us ask ourselves whether we are where we ought to be, whether the way we were raised and the way we have raised ourselves has brought us where we should be, and whether we want to try something different as we move forward.

May we thoughtfully re-examine ourselves in the coming days, and enter the year 5775 wiser, more realistic, and with a path toward the people we wish to become.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Good Privacy and Bad Privacy

(From this week's Toronto Torah, hot off the presses)

Several years ago, late night comedian and band leader Paul Shaffer and the OU produced a video offering five reasons to speak lashon hara (harmful speech), including the observation that “speaking lashon hara lets the world know you care… about yourself.” The line was clever, but inaccurate; lashon hara is generally spoken in private, and the world doesn’t know anything about it. This privacy is not a mere detail; according to Rashi, our parshah suggests that privacy is a uniquely malignant characteristic of lashon hara.

In our parshah; Devarim 27:24 curses one who “strikes his friend in secret,” and Rashi states, “This refers to lashon hara.” [This comment appears to be based on Tehillim 101:5 and Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer 52.] Along the same lines, the talmudic sage Rabbah claimed that harmful speech uttered where its subject could hear it is not lashon hara. He declared, “Anything stated in front of its subject is not lashon hara.” (Arachin 15b) In practice, Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deiot 7:5) prohibited even private harmful speech, but the intent of our parshah, Rabbah and Rabbi Yosi requires clarification: Why should privacy involve a special wrong? Might public slander be worse?

Perhaps the Torah sees private slander as a unique wrong if it involves a certain type of privacy.

Positive privacy excludes the world by default and only invites in intimates, with whom we wish to share ourselves. The Torah encourages this, terming it tzniut, as expressed in the instruction of Michah 6:8, “walk privately with your G-d.” Or as Ben Sira warned, “May many people ask after your welfare, but tell your secret to one in one thousand.” (Sanhedrin 100b) From this perspective, the world is outside of ourselves, and we invite in rare others based on a shared ideology and vision. As Rambam (Avot 1:6) cited from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, “A friend is a second self.” Privacy is an expression of alliance. [For those interested in talmudic methodology, this is an approach of klal and prat; the klal is excluded by default, and only the prat is invited in.]

Negative privacy, on the other hand, includes the world in our lives by default; our ideas, speech and bodies are open to all, like posts on a public blog. The privacy limitation is for those whom we exclude because we view them as antagonists; privacy is an expression of hostility. [Returning to talmudic methodology, this is an approach of ribui and miut; the universe is included under the ribui, and specific cases are excluded by the miut.]

Seen in this light, Rabbah’s point and the lesson of our parshah is that while all slander is wrong, the grave sin of lashon hara is worsened by hostile privacy, a weapon. Privacy which aids its circle of participants, without harming those who are excluded, is no crime. Privacy which exists solely as a means of harming others is as dark and destructive as the lashon hara it protects. [We may also use this distinction to justify Section 184.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which affords protection to most private communications, but that is beyond the scope of this article.]

The distinction between negative, weaponized privacy and positive, allied privacy may also be seen in the way Moshe introduced our parshah’s litany of curses. Moshe declared, “Today you have become a nation for Hashem your G-d.” (Devarim 27:9) Today we have become a nation – and so we would find it repugnant to even contemplate speaking against each other. And we are a nation for Hashem our G-d, a holy nation, a nation capable of much good through our alliances, and a nation for whom gossip is, literally, unspeakable.

In Shemot 2, Moshe Rabbeinu witnessed an Egyptian beating a Jew; he saw that no one would halt the beating, and so he killed the assailant. On the morrow, Moshe saw a Jew attacking another Jew, and he again intervened. The aggressor said to Moshe, “Are you going to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian?” After which, “Moshe became frightened and he said, ‘The word is out!’“

A midrash (Tanchuma Shemot 10) suggests that Moshe was not concerned regarding being caught; rather, Moshe accused, “The word is out, there must be lashon hara among you! If so, how will you ever earn redemption?” Hostility expressed in negative privacy which shields the spread of slander is inimical to our status as a nation of G-d. If we wish to earn the redemption which Moshe mentioned, then we must recognize, “Today we are a nation for Hashem our G-d,” private only in the most positive of ways, a true nation of Hashem.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Is "take it easy" a Jewish idea?

The past week has been humbling for me. Eight days ago, my family completed our move to a new home, and I spent a great deal of time hauling boxes and doing amateur landscaping. The result was not only a cluttered new house and an attractive oakleaf hydrangea, but also waking up Monday morning with severe back spasms. I was largely bedridden for the next few days, and I am still using a walker and having difficulty sitting. Acknowledging my need for rest and rehabilitation during the past week did not come easily.

I grew up in a hockey-mad family that adored players who fought through pain and ignored injury, who lost teeth on the ice but did not miss a shift. My New York Rangers role models were Tom Laidlaw, Ron Greschner and Dave Maloney - not the scorers and finesse players but the scrappers and checkers.

The same message was broadcast in the holier context of yeshiva; the highest value was self-denying hatmadah (constant, continuous commitment to study), as the Talmud made clear with its choice of role models. Hillel froze on the roof listening to Torah being taught. Rabbi Eliezer scowled when students left the beit midrash (study hall) for a Yom Tov meal. Rachel endured abject poverty when her wealthy father disowned her for marrying Rabbi Akiva. And so on. I'm having a hard time thinking of a talmudic role model who takes a break when he is tired or hungry or ill. [Yes, the Talmud does discuss the importance of looking after our health, and see midrashim like Vayikra Rabbah Behar 34, but there is a difference between that broad approach, and a specific imperative of surrendering to physical challenges rather than trying to tough it out.]

So cancelling chavrutot and classes was more than disappointing; it felt like failure. Of course, I know it's not failure - and that incorrect response raises the question of how we ought to educate our young students. Training them to ignore the messages sent by their bodies is unhealthy and unsafe, but then why does the Talmud present scores of models for "toughing it out", but none come to mind who took it slow and easy when suffering? [The biblical Yitro does tell Moshe to set up associate judges rather than handle the nation's entire caseload himself, but it is pitched more as a concession to the nation's needs than to Moshe's.]

Did none of our heroes have moments of physical weakness? Unlikely; no one makes it from 40 to 80 without their body failing them at some point. So either all of them overrode their personal suffering, or the Talmud felt that discussing the times they surrendered was not worthwhile. If it's the latter, then is the Talmud's logic that life will teach us to take it slow, but playing through pain requires indoctrination via talmudic role models? Or is there some other reason why "take it slow" was omitted from the canon? What do you think?

Monday, September 1, 2014

What is an Assistant Rabbi's job description?

Note: I've been holding this post for a long time, because at least three of Toronto's synagogues went through a search for an Assistant Rabbi this past year, and I did not want to be misunderstood as commenting on any of those processes. This post has nothing to do with any of them.

I never served as an Assistant Rabbi, something which I think is a very good thing; I would likely have been awful. I would have been careful to avoid invading the Senior Rabbi's domain, of course, and I would have done what I was asked, but tzimtzum (reduction of one's presence) does not come naturally for me. But at one point I was asked by one of my avreichim for my thoughts regarding the Assistant Rabbi model, and here is what I told him.

To my mind, there isn't a single job description for an Assistant, any more than there is a single job description for a Rabbi (as we have discussed elsewhere on this blog). Each community has different needs, each Rabbi has different needs, and each Assistant has different skills.

Here, though, are three possible models, based on examples from the Torah:

1. Eliezer, servant of Avraham - Eliezer has no real voice of his own; he is meant to speak Avraham's words. Indeed, when he tries to improvise ("perhaps the woman I seek for Yitzchak won't want to come to Canaan") he is shot down. We don't see any special talents in him. Eliezer is assigned to take care of specific jobs, and he does them. [Gechazi, Elisha's servant, may also be of this model, but Gechazi proved untrustworthy.]

2. Yehoshua, student of Moshe - Yehoshua has positive traits as well as weaknesses, which are displayed in moments of crisis like the incident with the Spies and Eldad and Medad's prophecy. Yehoshua is given areas that are under his control, like war with Amalek, but he clearly answers to Moshe. It seems clear that any autonomy he owns could be withdrawn by Moshe at any moment.

3. Aharon, second to Moshe but also his peer - Aharon aids Moshe in conveying his message to the Jewish people; he is Moshe's navi, speaking on Moshe's behalf. In this sense, he is like Yehoshua. However, Aharon also has his own particular job as kohen gadol running the rituals of the Mishkan, and his own particular relationship with the community, largely independent of Moshe.

To my mind, the Eliezer model is unhealthy; if you apply for an Assistant Rabbi job and it sounds like that one, run the other way. It is unlikely that someone will go through rabbinical school just to become an Eliezer.

I could see the Yehoshua and Aharon models being healthy, in various circumstances. Perhaps a young rabbi could be a Yehoshua, and like Yehoshua he could evolve into someone who is ready to be a leading Rabbi. And the Aharon model sounds great - but it would require complete bi-lateral trust. Good luck...

There are probably more biblical models out there; what would you add?