The Torture Debate in America

There is an old Jewish joke about two Yeshiva students who go to the rabbi to settle a heated legal dispute over which they have been arguing all day. Max, the first student, offers cogent theoretical and pragmatic arguments that forcefully make his point. The rabbi listens carefully and declares, ‘Max you are surely right!’ Next the second student, Joshua, presents his side with vigour. He makes clear and concise counter-arguments and demonstrates how his position is supported by precedent. He argues with such passion and persuasion that the Rabbi, after listening closely, says, ‘Brilliant arguments Joshua – you are clearly correct!’ After the students leave, the rabbi’s wife, who was listening in on the exchange, says to her husband, ‘Are you crazy? Max and Joshua had conflicting arguments, how can you say both of them are right? When one is right the other must be wrong!’ The rabbi thinks long and hard on this and finally says to his wife, ‘You know what? You too are right!’

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