Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mea Culpa

Last year when I began blogging I had to decide whether to do so under my name or under a pseudonym as so many others do. Because I believe in accountability and assuming responsibility for my actions, I decided that the only honest approach was to use my name and full disclosure as to who I am and what I stand for. This I did for better or worse. Many of my positions aren’t necessarily popular among certain persuasions within the community but without an exchange of ideas how can we understand each other and how can we grow into a stronger more confident and loving community?

Recently I posted an essay that infuriated people who visit my site. My dear friend, (who at this stage of my life I can say life long friend), Rabbi Harry Maryles, expressed his discontent with the nature, content and tone of the essay. Because of my deep respect for him I reread the essay several times, and in all candor and in deference to his judgment and others, agree in part.

With regard to the content and message, I stand by it. There is no point in belaboring the point, but the substantive message is something I believe to be valid. With regard to the tone, and choice of verbiage I can only say I was wrong, too severe and didn’t exercise the good judgment by which I was raised and educated. Unfortunately, when poor wording and tone overpower the intent, the message is lost. Had I been aware of the brutal tone, and the anguish it caused I would have reworked it so as to get the idea across without insulting anyone or any organization.

As a result of the harsh tone of the essay my commitment to Ahavat Yisrael was put into question. My record speaks for itself. For the many of you who don’t know me I have an obsession with Am Yisrael and Ahavat Yisrael. I took an oath at the Kotel many years ago to stand in defense of Am Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael. That pledge has never left my consciousness from that moment. Although I was discharged from Zahal a long time ago, I was never discharged from the oath I took. Not once, and not twice I put my life on the line when in defense of my brothers and sisters in the shtachim. I never questioned their religious affiliation, or their political association. I saw them as my people who I dearly love. I may disagree with their religious practice, philosophy and politics, but I would never have stood by and let someone say a derogatory word or threaten them. A threat to them is a direct threat to me. A derogatory word at them was a derogatory word at me. Al Ta-amod Al Dam Re-acha was as applicable then as it is today.

I am aware that I have indeed insulted some people and I am sorry for that. All I can say is I shall, in the future, exercise better judgment when approaching a theme I wish to address.