Our congregant, Donnie Cohen-Cutler (now a big-wig in the Marketing Department of the Union for Reform Judaism), tossed me a link to an interesting posting on Jewcy using the Broadway version of Legally Blond to teach Martin Buber’s I/Thou philosophy.
Writes Elisa Albert in Jewcy:
[There] is the undeniable fact that Ms. Ellie Woods is the perfect embodiment of the philosophy of beloved Jewish thinker Martin Buber. Two words, people: I and Thou…
In much the same way that Groundhog Day is really a profound meditation on reincarnation, Legally Blonde’s Elle embodies an ideal realization of Buber’s seminal philosophy that the best we, as human beings, can strive for is complete, unfettered interrelation with every single human being we encounter. Yes, even the irredeemable [jerks]. Buber held that life could be suffused with joy when we sanctified the everyday world via our connections with other human beings. The divine is to be found in the encounter between the unique self (the “I”) and the unique other (the “thou”)….
Buber’s concept of the I/thou relationship “stresses mutual, holistic existence without qualification or objectification of the other.” In simplest terms, this means being a really nice person, giving others the benefit of the doubt, and treating people like the complicated, meaningful beings they invariably are. It means being Elle-like.
Okay, its not High Cultural Thinking, this posting. But it gives pause. And if it sends a few more people to study Buber, that’s a good thing!