Shabbat Talmud Study: Should We Make Ourselves Smaller to Give Others the Space to Be


Contraction. Self-contraction.  Is that a good idea?
In Multipliers, Liz Wiseman devotes an entire chapter to this essential quality of great leaders.  They “create space.” They “release others by restraining themselves.”
How should we think about this notion of intentional self-restraint for the purpose of unleashing other people’s voices, contributions, potential?
This question has implications for any work environment, but also home.  Do we make ourselves smaller so that our spouse shines?  Do we not give voice to our concerns so that our children can do their thing in peace and with our support even if we really wish they would do what we want them to do?  This question also has implications for any community of meaning, our shul, your child’s school, your alma mater.  What happens when any of these institutions makes a decision  that you deeply disagree with?  Do you contract your concern? Do you go along to get along?
How should we think about contraction?  There is a profoundly Jewish angle to all of this–a Kabbalistic and Rabbinic notion called tzimtzum, which means God’s contraction.  God, who fills the universe, has to contract Godself to make life possible for everyone else.   We will encounter a sparkling essay by Rabbi Shai Held on how the Kabbalists and the Rabbis have very different understandings of God’s contraction.  Their creative tension, on a seemingly technical theological point, connects directly to what keeps us up at night.
See you tomorrow at 8:30.
Shabbat shalom,
Wes