This publication and its writers welcomes comments from readers and has set aside a page for that purpose. I know columnists enjoy getting feedback and it certainly is gratifying if someone has learned something, gotten a chuckle, gleaned some insights that opened his or her mind to views that are “different” – leading perhaps to seeds of tolerance; or received advice or support that makes him or her feel less alone in a specific situation.
Some letter writers voice an opposing view in a respectful manner – and others, unfortunately, name call – as if that enhances the legitimacy of their stance.
Last week, there was a comment sent to the Letters to the Editor page regarding my most recent column, and although I usually do not publically address letters – I privately send an email to the submitter – I am making an exception, since I do not know who sent it, and because it was published in a public forum.
Though most of the letters commenting on an opinion I have expressed are generally positive, some are written by readers who do not agree with my view, but do so respectfully. Others are derogatory and not worth responding to. Then there are the letters that are puzzling and “head scratchers,” and I have to wonder if they actually read my column.
That’s how I feel about this one:
“Cheryl Kupfer has written yet another article that borders on apikursus. I am no heresy hunter, but the basic theme of roughly half of her articles is that there is no rhyme or reason to how this world operates. Everything is haphazard. Good people suffer, bad people thrive – and there is no relationship whatsoever between their behavior and what happens to them in life.
“Yes, bad things sometimes happen to good people – many great rabbis have acknowledged and discussed this phenomenon – but it is a basic tenet of Judaism that G-d rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked. If Mrs. Kupfer wishes to reject this tenet, she can go right ahead – but not in an Orthodox newspaper.”
Wow! Where do I begin? Being called an apikores is quite a heavy duty insult. I guess I’ll start with the obvious. The writer opines that the “basic theme of roughly half of her articles is that there is no rhyme or reason to how this world operates.”
Anyone who reads my columns is aware that I write on a variety of topics – I don’t want my articles to be stale, boring or repetitive. Each one is quite different than the previous ones, although in the decades I have been writing, (I started submitting articles in the mid 1980’s after a totally bashert meeting with Mrs. Irene Klass, a”h, in the swimming pool of the Homowack Hotel) some popular topics are revisited, especially those that are still very much in our thoughts. For example, I have written several articles about the shidduch crisis – of which there are so many sub-topics, like the issue of in-law support; discrimination against earners or learners; the non-Torahdik focus on the superficial; or how to recognize problematic personalities, divorce etc.
I have also examined the high cost of frum living – yeshiva tuition that cost more than college, expensive kosher food, debt-inducing Yom Tov outfits and sheitels, etc.
Our letter writer insists that I have “written yet another article that borders on apikursus.” That’s a rather serious accusation. Would the publishers of The Jewish Press, a newspaper with strong hashkafic values, publish an article that even hints of heretical thinking?
I took the time to review my last column, “No Miracle Doesn’t Mean Hashem is Rejecting You”, where I wrote, “We don’t understand the “why” of our life as Hashem directs it – and likely were not meant to.”