WHY DO YOU BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ?
Cynicism has its drawbacks, but it is also very important in our lives. People who swallow everything they hear or read are in danger of falling for scams, rip-offs, being taken advantage of, and being left looking like an utter fool. Jews, especially, have not been known to be gullible. Maybe it’s our upbringing. We see how the Gemara takes nothing for granted and every statement must be backed up with solid proof or else it is met with a “Meiheicha teiseh?”
I must admit to being disturbed by the number of people who take letters in the Yated - many of them totally anonymous letters, mind you - at face value and allow themselves be carried away and be taken for rides. I have nothing against readers expressing opinions. But that is all it is: an anonymous opinion. Just because a letter is signed, “A Mental Health Professional,” or “A Teacher,” or “A Hurting Mother,” or “A Son-in-Law,” does not guarantee in any way that any such person wrote that letter.
For all any of us know, someone wrote it for the kicks, or to get people upset, or to support a cause, or for any other number of reasons. Take what any letter says for what it says, but don’t go around telling your friends, “You know, I read a letter where a son-in-law said the most disgusting things which display such bad middos! And this is a ‘learning’ person! I mean, can you imagine?!”
You don’t know that any such person ever wrote any such letter. These letters in the Yated get quoted, posted, e-mailed, talked about, and they take on a life of their own. It becomes ‘fact’ that such and such a person said such and such a thing about such and such a topic. All this shows is how many people are gullible. It shows little else.
How do I know this? Because I did a terrible thing. I am very embarrassed to admit it, and I almost decided not to write this letter. But I realized that the only way to undo the damage done is to write again to this very forum. There were no “two yungeleit” who were upset at their shver for asking them to say a shtikel Torah. Are there yungeleit who lack hakoras hatov? Probably. Are there people of all stripes and colors who lack hakoras hatov? For sure.
But these two were made up. How do I know? Because I made them up. I wrote that letter, which got so many people upset. Now you’re thinking that I am a terrible person. I won’t argue. I am terribly ashamed of what I did, and even more disturbed by the motzie shem rah I caused. Honestly, I thought more people would catch on that it was a fake. I guess that’s the excuse I made for myself when I wrote it. It was such a stereotypical letter, throwing in the support they receive and the car, all just to throw it all back in the shver’s face. I was just throwing in all the ‘code words’ to get a rise out of people. And it worked. Sadly.
I don’t even know why I did it. I guess partly for the kicks and partly because I was angry at my own son-in-law. So I let it out in this (destructive) way. If I’d have to be honest, I must admit that I ask my son-in-law for a lot more than just a shtikel Torah. I guess I’ve tried to run his life, mix into his private business, and I got brushed off - politely, but firmly. I was mad and I let it out in this terrible way.
I ask mechilah of everyone, and hope this will serve as an example in the future.
Unless a letter is signed by a real name, take it with a truckload of salt.
A Contrite Father-in-Law
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Ungrateful son-n-law letter fake!
From this week's Yated: