“On Faith” salonnières Sally Quinn and Jon Meacham ask whether health-care reform is a moral imperative—one, moreover, with deep religious resonance. Responses so far include the following responsibly contrarian musing from Rabbi Brad Hirschfield:

[T]he Talmud teaches that if two men are stuck in a boat and only one of them has a flask of water, and it is clear that it will not sustain them both, the owner of the flask is not obligated to share his water. The ensuing debate about that claim is complex, but the basic assumption remains throughout—what we contribute is a factor in determining that which we are entitled to receive when a limited resource must be rationed.

Using religious ideas to ask these kinds of questions, questions which admit the complexity of the issue and guide us through it, rather than flogging our faiths for political-theological points, would be a worthy use of faith in this debate. Anything less nuanced, and we should keep our ideas about God and health care to ourselves.

See the entire forum, including Rabbi Hirschfield’s response, here.