It had been my original thought to write 500 articles for publication. This one is # 494. What pleases me is the number of comments I receive from those who read them. It makes me happy to know that so many people from various corners of the world read them and many who take time to reply.
Not all the comments are positive. Some, quite frankly, are negative but politely negative. Some readers describe their disagreements with things I have written. That opens up a dialogue between us because I usually respond.
On one hand, I tend to ignore comments written by anti-Israel or anti-Jewish readers. Responding to pro-Palestinians is a futile task. When one’s mind is made up it is almost impossible to affect change.
Some readers, in their comments, correct errors which they feel I have made. I am grateful for their replies bringing both the alleged and factual errors to my attention.
One of the unfortunate aspects of writing from a great distance is the inability to sit down with the reader/writer face to face over a good cup of espresso and share thoughts. Many warm friendships could develop. I make this claim from rich experiences in my life.
Perhaps one day the editorial staff of TIMES OF ISRAEL will organize a “re-union” of interested writers and readers. We could meet at the beautiful Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem. There are so many cozy cafes to choose from. And the Israeli version of delectable Hungarian pastries would satisfy us all.
One writer of comments to me, in particular, stands out among the rest. Tamas Somogyi of Budapest comments frequently and brings my errors to my attention. He is an unknown person to me but one whom I would like to know. He is very intelligent, an excellent writer and an interested reader.
Living in Hungary, I cannot know if he is a Jew or a Christian. But it does not matter to me. It is his thinking, his clear mind, his liberal thoughts, his fairness, that impress me about him most of all.
Comments from readers are always welcomed by the writer. They help to either inspire him or to take him to task. In either case, the comments are appreciated. Glad to know that the commentators take time to comment.
Freedom of the pen, like freedom of speech, is something to be treasured, honored and protected. A word, if improperly used, can hurt. If properly used, it can warm a human heart.
Sometimes I write negative remarks (negative, that is, in the eyes of some of the readers) but I write them because generally they are historically correct and important to me. I was educated in Israel, France and the United States and in all three countries one can find totally different points of view on any given subject. That is what makes a writer’s life interesting.
He anticipates comments, positive or negative, which pave the way to continued discourse. And for me, that adds much meaning to my life. Praise is uplifting. Negative criticism, although welcome, is not.
TIMES OF ISRAEL has a wide readership which spans all the continents. I have received comments from readers in China, Singapore, Brazil, Hungary, Poland, the United States and, yes, even from fellow Israelis. I am grateful for their words. I am thankful for their sharing. I have learned much from the comments they share with me.
I cannot reply to each individual who writes a comment on one or more of my articles. But he/she needs to know that the comments they have written are much appreciated.
No one but myself can know my own ignorance.
I am reminded of a classic Hebrew thought which has been fulfilled for me over the course of very many years.
“Mi rabbotai lamadeti harbai. Mi chavairai yoter mi rabbotai. U’ mi talmidai yoter mi koolam”.
From my teachers I have learned much. From my friends, more than from my teachers. And from my students, more than from all others.
Thank you for enabling me to learn. Best wishes for good health, peace and joy in 2018.