Monday, April 14, 2008

An Apology to Rabbi Brody

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the post ‘The Folly of Embellishment.’ A few people have called me on the issue of Lashon Hara about Rabbi Lazer Brody. After reflecting on it, I now regret identifying Rabbi Brody by name.

I did not follow my own self imposed rule not to use names when being critical of people and events. Had I to do it over again, I would not have specified any individual in my post. But the horse is out of the barn. I can’t unsay what I said.

Additionally I used the word ‘lie’ a lot in the the post. That word is mostly used when there is deliberate intent to mislead. I did not use it that way, but understandably that is how many people took it. I simply meant that as the story was told, it wasn’t true. In that sense it was a lie. I did not mean to imply that Rabbi Brody knew it wasn’t true and deliberately lied when he told the story on his blog.

At this point all I can do is apologize. So I apologize to Rabbi Brody publicly for this and I hope he will forgive me. All I can say in my own very poor defense is that when Judaism in any way is made to look bad, it makes me angry and I tend to lash out. I never said I was perfect. I am very human and very fallible. So, again, I apologize.

But as far as underlying point of the post itself goes, I stand by it. Any time exaggerations about an individual’s greatness are made - especially posthumously even if unintentional – and then the truth comes out which it almost always does - it ends up being a Chilul HaShem. Instead of increasing sympathy and admiration for the individual, it diminishes him, and it diminishes all of us.