15 Tammuz 5764
“Cuz I Think it’s Cool”
Responding to Anti-Frum Relatives
Dear Rabbi Orlofsky,
I have just now completed a whole year of study in Eretz Yisrael where I have acquired a great love for yiddishkeit and learning Torah. Despite this, I still find myself at a loss for words when confronted my vehemently anti-Frum and anti-Charedi Chiloni relatives.
Do you have any advice for me on how do deal respectfully, but straightforwardly with them?
Dear Name Withheld,
People who are rabid and anti, don’t deserve a response. I usually smile serenely or respond with a non-committal “Oh?” when attacked.
If pushed, I reply with a plea for tolerance. A young man once returned from Eretz Yisroel wearing a hat. His aunt confronted him hostilely and said “Why are you wearing that stupid hat?” I told him to respond, “It looks cool! I like the way it looks”. Keep responses personal. “I like”, or “I enjoy” or “I find meaningful” is more effective than arguing philosophy.
The aunt countered with “I think it looks stupid”, to which I suggested the young man respond “Look, to tell you the truth, I’m not that crazy about everything you wear. But I recognize your right to dress in your own style. Why must you be so intolerant of people you disagree with?” This often is effective. If not, nod politely and say “oh’.
Don’t be fooled by unreasonable people pretending to be reasonable. Your chances of influencing these people are slight. Be polite and slightly distant – it will save you hours of aggravation.
Good luck and may all the Jewish people merit seeing the Truth of Hashem and His Torah.
Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky