Colors: Cyan Color

We now return to the fertile topic of “expressions that annoy me,” which is growing ever bigger the older I get.

And I’m not just talking about expressions that people say specifically to annoy you, such as, “You’re old!”  My bother frequently says this, just because I’m older than he is.  And I have to constantly be reminded, because I’m old.  He says it all the time, whenever he can work it into a conversation, because younger people like repetition.  And this isn’t going away, because I’m always going to be older than him, as far as I can tell.  But if I would’ve known he’d be like this, then I would have said, when he was younger, “You’re young!” 

I always say that a speaker loves to get some kind of feedback when he concludes his speech, even if it’s just “sh’koiach!” It means that at least someone noticed that he was speaking. The same is true with a writer. Even the most seasoned writer still loves to hear some kind of acknowledgement of his thoughts. Naturally, positive feedback is much more appreciated than negative. But negative feedback is better than no feedback. At least someone paid attention to the fact that you wrote something.

The first full-time job I ever held was with Agudath Israel of America at 5 Beekman Street back in 1980, where I was employed at its Project COPE for four years. From 1984 to the present, I have been working in the Orthodox Union, first in its Synagogue Services Division and then Kashrus till this very day, albeit now in a limited capacity. My full-time occupation is as Rabbi in the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. I know all of these three major Orthodox organizations quite well. Each one serves its constituency – and the Jewish people in general – admirably.

The parshiyos that we read this past Shabbos, Tazria-M’tzora, are difficult to expound upon. They almost entirely deal with the now long-obsolete matter of the skin disease that afflicts a slanderer. His body, his house, and his belongings can be determined to be infected with tzaraas by a local kohen. His purification involves being banished outside the “camp of Israel” until pronounced ready to return. As the Torah states, “He shall dwell in isolation; his dwelling shall be outside the camp” (VaYikra 13:46). As Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz explains, one of the worst punishments a person can face is isolation, being cut off from our fellow human beings. Don’t we know that all too well!