A Reader Writes: Take a Chill


readers-write2Dear Editor@Matzav.com,

I think we all need to take a chill. We have to take it easy and stop overreacting. Now I am not referring to every single person, but I am referring to many of you. Every time we don’t like something, we go berserk. If the guy laining in shul makes a mistake, we fly off the handle, run up to the bimah, and make a ruckus. If someone repeats a story a bit different then we heard it, we start yelling and correcting him, no matter where we are, whether we’re in shul, at a wedding, or in the supermarket. If we are at a wedding and we think the band is playing too loud, we run up to the orchestra and yell at them.

When the song they are playing doesn’t suit our taste, we tell the musicians – we don’t ask them – to change it immediately. This second. Now.

When they waiter is taking too long to get us a our dish, we lose patience and sternly ask him where our portion is. We don’t ask politely. We talk to him like he’s not human.

In the grocery store, as we wait on line, we are practically standing on the head of the guy in front of us as we think that this will somehow get us out faster.

We don’t G-d forbid look at the cashier and ask how he or she is doing. No. We run to bag our groceries (or we stand around and wait for the cashier to bag them for us), never uttering a word of thanks or appreciation.

We run and we run. We don’t give a hoot about anyone else. It is we, we, we, and me, me, me. And don’t dare try to get in our way, because we are a bomb waiting to explode.

(Don’t misunderstand me. I am not condoning those who take five minutes to drive after the light turns green or those who seem to have all day at the cash register. Those people deserve a separate letter called “Get With the Program” or “Wake Up.” This letter is addressing those who are simply out of control and seem to lose themselves whenever the opportunity presents itself.)

So like I said, please, everyone, take a deep breath. Put things in perspective. People are so wound up, and so stressed, and so ready to blow up at any moment, that we have created a society that is so pressure-filled, it is frightening.

The other day, I was in the bagel store, when an employee mistakenly prepared an onion bagel for a customer instead of an everything bagel. You should have seen the customer’s face. It was beet red. He was in rage. How dare the store give him the wrong type of bagel?! What a crime! He wanted a refund, plus a dozen free bagels for the pain he endured.

The only thin he should have gotten was the hole of the bagel.

Please, everyone, chill.

Ice Cold in Brooklyn


  1. This letter is a bit of a ramble, and it mixes two themes: mentchlikeit, and patience.
    These are obvious points, but I don’t understand the point of this letter. We all have to improve our middos constantly. How about speaking loshon, horo? Being honest in business?
    People need to learn mussar, either from a Rov, or a mussar sefer. “Chill out” is a childish, and I believe not frum, sentiment. Sometimes we need to be zealous, but we need direction as to what to be zealous about.

  2. First of all, I agree with the author. This mishugass is less of a problem “out-of-town” but then the whole US frume velt is affected by what is going on in NYC.

    One possible source of the problem – besides the pressures we all live under – is the influence of talk radio. Many frum people listen to talk radio. I tried – and the type of rough and derisive speech I heard made me turn it off every time. What we hear affects us – particularly if it’s “background” and we don’t think we’re paying conscious attention.

    I was living in Brooklyn at the time talk radio began to become popular, and over a few years’ time I noticed that people were becoming less derech eretzdik in their speech. I think this may have been one cause (among several). We cannot hear people insulting other people constantly and not have it affect our attitudes bein adam l’chavero. Perhaps we need to listen carefully the next time our favorite host starts ridiculing a caller and think if it isn’t affecting our own speech and behavior without our knowing it.

  3. I hear the point that the author is trying to make, however I do not agree and I think (s)he is way over-exaggerating! The story of the bagel store is clearly an exeption as these incidents generally do not happen. In my area in Brooklyn I happen to think people are very kind and considerate. I was once walking down the street carrying a few heavy bags when I noticed a girl that was walking behind me was hurrying up to catch up to me. I assumed she was in a rush and just wanted to pass me but then she came up to me and asked me if she could please help me carry my bags. These types of stories happen very often where I live. Yes, there are some people who are always in a rush and are a little pushy but lets look past those people and appreciate all the kind and considerate people as well.