I plotzed when reading Rabbi Dov Fuchs’ portrayal of the “American kiddush”! I thought it was hilarious and had a lot of truth, too. I had a neighbor who made a kiddush recently, and her parents sponsored the entire event, even offering extra money to make a more lavish affair. They were shocked when they arrived at the simchah hall and all that they saw was cholent and potato kugel. When they complained, they were even more surprised to learn that indeed that IS considered a “lavish affair” in Eretz Yisrael! Kol Hakavod!
To Rabbi Dov Fuchs:
I am so happy for you that you have the zechus to live and teach in Eretz Yisrael. I wish I could bring my children up in artzeinu hakedoshah. However, it seems that for now Hashem wants me to serve Him from a different place.
In order to extol the virtues of Eretz Yisrael, I do not believe that it is necessary to consistently “knock down” what American Yidden have or how American Yidden behave. Yes, you may have been born and/or brought up in America. But you have no idea what people’s struggles and nisyonos are. I am sure that you can write beautiful articles — like the one about the Pre-1A Rebbi putting on a gartel before teaching, which I actually saved and hung up — that inspire and teach just by praising Eretz Yisrael. There is no need to mock others.
I agree with you that by and large, we have gashmiyus and other things that are not optimal. But putting people down and “making fun” and using sarcasm is not a good way of getting people to listen to your message. I have great faith in your abilities as an educator and a writer. (I’m sure that you don’t use sarcasm as a Rebbi!)
Please, by all means, give us a shmeck and a geshmack for Eretz Yisrael. But please do it in a way of Deracheha darchei noam.
Rabbi Fuchs responds:
Thank you very much for your letter. I very much appreciated the “darchei noam” that you used to express your feelings about how I sometimes use sarcasm to poke fun at certain common Americanisms. I definitely do not want to consistently knock down anyone, and, as you correctly stated, we can never judge anyone because we can never know their struggles.
My articles on the zechus of living in Eretz Yisrael are my personal perspectives that I have gleaned from being here. Often, I find that when enveloped in the sacred atmosphere of Eretz Yisrael, some of the superficial styles and “isms” that I, as a full-blown American, have been ingrained with suddenly dissipate. Like a smoke screen, they fade into oblivion under the light of truth and clarity that shines here.
I definitely do not intend to put anyone down or mock anyone, but rather by using humor, satire and sarcasm, I try to portray this “foreign” perspective.
P.S. Thank you for your compliments and confidence in my teaching abilities. Surprisingly, I, and most Rebbeim I know, do use sarcasm when trying to impress upon our students the foolishness and fallacy of their preconceived ideals in order to encourage them to think for themselves and be real and true. Sarcasm can be a powerful tool for embedding truth. If I have offended anyone, I am sorry, and I have not used it properly.