Rabbi Sacks: What is the point of being a religious leader if you don't say something that's difficult for people who follow you? You know, you've got to challenge them and be challenged by them. You have to listen when they say, "Chief Rabbi, you're going too far or too fast for us to follow." Then you say, "OK, we'll slow it down, but I want you to come with me." I will not allow myself to be a lone voice within Judaism.
Rabbi Sacks: I use metaphors. You know, each one may be helpful to some and not to others. One way is just to think, for instance, of biodiversity. The extraordinary thing we now know, thanks to Crick and Watson's discovery of DNA and the decoding of the human and other genomes, is that all life, everything, you know, all the 3 million species of life and plant life — all have the same source. We all come from a single source. Everything that lives has its genetic code written in the same alphabet. Unity creates diversity. So don't think of one God, one truth, one way. Think of one God creating this extraordinary number of ways, the 6,800 languages that are actually spoken. Don't think there's only one language within which we can speak to God.
Rabbi Sacks: By being what only I can be, I give humanity what only I can give. It is my uniqueness that allows me to contribute something unique to the universal heritage of humankind. I sum it up, the Jewish imperative, very simply — and it has been like this since the days of Abraham — to be true to your faith and a blessing to others regardless of their faith.
Ms. Tippett: And come back to this complicated notion of this dance between what is particular and what is universal. I mean you said that the Bible argues that universalism is the first step, not the last step, in the growth of moral imagination.
Ms. Tippett: But I think you're also saying that the most vibrant contribution to plurality, to civil society, in fact is having a vital strong particular identity. Of course, it depends on how it's expressed, but that that in fact is the best hope for the sake of what is universal.
Ms. Tippett: I have not.
Ms. Tippett: And it's a gift, it's a gift.