October 30, 2000 | Joshua Schwartz
Jewish society of the Second Temple period was fragmented, sectarianism was rampant, and strife was widespread. There was corruption at the highest levels of leadership and the atmosphere was often charged with messianism. Inter-communal conflict often seemed to be the natural order of things and the results of all this were catastrophic. There are, though, a number of lessons to be learned from all this, particularly regarding the need for pluralism in the intellectual and religious spheres of Judaism, but within the framework of some agreed upon common ground. It is also especially important for communal and religious leaders to recognize the existence of problems, even if sometimes they are the source and cause of those problems.