Talking NonsenseBy Gary Konecky
"Not everything that is thought should be said. And not everything that issaid should be repeated. And not everything that is repeated should beremembered." - Rabbi Israel Salanter We recently had extensive coverage of Tiger Woods and his extramarital affairs. Whatgood was done by all this talk? Do we really need to know his intimate affairs? Doeswhom he slept with or details of his marriage affect our lives? Would we have been better off if something useful was discussed instead?Several months ago Bernie Madoff was in the news and we again had extensive mediacoverage of details involving him and his family. Yet the larger issue of how thegovernment has repeatedly failed to protect the American public from financial fraudafter financial fraud (Enron, TYCO, MCI WorldCom, Adelphia Communications,HealthSouth, Washington Mutual, AIG, Countrywide, et. al.) was not reported nor discussed. Wouldn’t reporting about the government turning a blind eye to financialfraud been more useful?Recently, in comments on one of my blogs, I was attacked by so called religious people.I was called a sinner. I had bible verses thrown at me. Did this do anyone any good?What is fueling their hate and anger and what gives them the right to lash out at others?How does any of this benefit society? Whatever happened to: "That which is hateful toyou, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go andlearn." - Hillel (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)? Nor is the problem of inappropriate speech a new problem. In chapter 22 of Samuel I, welearn the Doeg the Edomite told Saul about Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. Ahimelechwas the priest who was unaware of Saul’s hatred of David and who innocently aidedDavid. Doeg’s tale baring resulted not only in the death of Ahimelech, but it alsoresulted in Nob, the city of the priests, being smote with the sharp edge of the sword, bothman and woman, infant and suckling, and ox and ass, and lamb. The lesson for us is that people sometimes die when we say things we should not say. Least anyone think I amexaggerating, let us remember not so many years ago when those so-called religious people opposed any funding of AIDS research saying; “AIDS was G-d’s wrath.” We also have some interesting teachings from the Talmud. In Sukkah 49b we are taughtthat performing charity and justice is more acceptable to the L-rd than offering sacrifices.In Shekalim 15a, we learn:Everyone was gossiping about Zecharyah, the son-in-law of R’ Levi,saying that he does not need to take charity, but he nevertheless takes.