Only don’t tell me you’re innocent, because it insults my intelligence and makes me very angry. Although these words were spoken by a fictitious Michael Corleone to his fictitious brother-in-law, Carlo Rizzi in the movie Godfather I, they took on a very real meaning to me last week, not once, but twice.
Mark Oppenheimer who writes the Beliefs column which appears each week in the Saturday Times, recently described an Aufruff as “blessing the Torah on the Sabbath prior to a wedding”. After E Mailing Mr. Oppenheimer and explaining what a Aufruff really is, he replied: “I was being colloquial”. No, Mr. Oppenheimer! You were not being colloquial. You were being ignorant and you were being disingenuous to cover up your ignorance! Being ignorant is totally forgivable. Being disingenuous is totally unforgiveable! You just couldn’t bring yourself to admit that you don’t know an Aufruff from Wynola (a cola beverage I fondly remember from my childhood). Fine! Then thank me for my letter and leave it at that! For that matter, ignore my E Mail altogether! Only don’t tell me that you were being colloquial, because it insults my intelligence and makes me very angry.
Aish HaTorah is a Jewish website that I automatically receive in my E mail on a regular basis. Marnie Winston-Macauley contributes from time to time to Aish HaTorah spouting Yiddish.
I have no idea as to her Yiddish ability or her Yiddish credentials, but I’m far from impressed. Last week, Ms. Winston-Macauley contributed an article on texting in Yiddish. One of her entries was: A Vue Shtet Geschreiber (sic). (Incorrect Yiddish for: Where is it written?)
When Chaim Wasserman beat me to the punch and submitted a comment, where he pointed out to Ms.Winston-Macauley that the correct word is Geschriben, with n being the last latter (there is no such word as Geschreiber), here’s what Ms. Winston-Macauley replied: I did research both spellings…and found the expression as it appears from several reliable sources.
If our paths ever cross, the very first thing I intend to ask Ms. Winston-Macauley is:
How do you say: lying made baby J***s cry in Yiddish? Then I intend to ask her to apologize both to Chaim Wasserman for insulting his intelligence and to Rabbi Zell for making him angry. If Fiorello LaGuardia, a former mayor of New York City could say: when I make a mistake, it’s a beaut!, what makes Mark Oppenheimer, Marnie Winston-Macauley and other writers think that the sky is going to fall, if they admit they made a mistake.
Several months ago, in this very same space, I wrote about how we are so hung up on “political correctness”, yet no one would think to ask the Washington Redskins, a baseball team as American as Apple Pie, to change its name, lest Native Americans become offended. When it was pointed out to me that the Washington Redskins are a football team, my reply was along the   following lines: I really am dangerous, when it comes to sports, aren’t I?
Admitting that we are wrong is a gift that is unique to humans. Are our egos so fragile, that we are so very afraid to make use of that unique gift?