Sunday, August 19, 2012


This past Thurs. night I was asked to give a short pre-Motzo'ei Shabbos ma'ariv shiur at a prominent local shul. No payment offered, no payment asked, no payment expected. Torah shel chesed.

I spoke about the El Al ticketing isssue, correlating lifnim me'shuras ha'din and Kiddush Hashem.

This is a copy of the email I sent out this morning to the person in whose name I had bee invited:

Subject: The Shul

To talk to your shul about lifnim meshuras hadin was a waste of breath.
Not one person came over to say thank your or yasher koach after the
presentation. The lack of mentschlichkeit is appalling. The kehilla
needs some significant cheshbon ha'nefesh. From my perspective, such
organizations have no zechus hakiyum. A yeshiveshe minyan that lacks
mussar is a travesty.


That parishioner responded simply: "Ouch."

The parishioner who did the actual inviting responded: 

I am surprised that no one thanked the speaker. It has been my experience that people have thanked speakers for their time and words. This tzibbur has many fine middos tovos. I am sorry that Rabbi Bechoffer had such an experience.


  1. I'm gonna give you some unsolicited advice: No payment asked, no payment expected.

    Chill out dude.

  2. Let me get this straight, "none,"

    If I'm no offered payment, don't ask for payment, and therefore don't expect any payment, I'm not entitled to expect someone will say "yasher koach?!"

  3. Did you get a nice introduction? If so, that could be thanking you in advance.

  4. Can you make an audio summary or a brief written summary of your words of mussar (about Elul)? I would be interested to hear what you said.

  5. Anonymous:

    No introduction.

    Reb Mordechai:

    The preceding post has a link to the audio.

  6. Rabbi: I agree that not thanking you etc. wasn't polite. There is an issue that I think is worth mentioning, even if it isn't applicable here. I have experiences over the years where someone didn't talk to me or wasn't responsive to me or wasn't friendly to me, sometimes habitually, and I thought to myself "what a jerk!" (I'm not saying that that is the proper internal reaction for me to have, just describing how I did react internally). And then I later found out that the person in question is very shy and quiet, or felt intimidated by me for some reason, etc. So while I am not suggesting it is realistic that such an excuse applies to a whole sizable tzibur, I thought it was worthwhile to highlight that sometimes people appear to be rude and either aren't or are but there is a mitigating factor.

  7. could it be you offended the kehilla, or your speech was poorly received in some other manner?
    ...and why do you think mussar would solve this problem? i have rarely if ever seen a direct causation between mussar and middos.