Dealing With Nudniks

A nudnik is a pestering, nagging, or irritating person. I meet nudniks in real life, but it seems there are more that I meet on the World Wide Web. I don’t know what it is; maybe people think they have a veil of anonymity about them so the feel free to type whatever goes through their minds, without care to the fact that there are living breathing human beings with feelings on the other end of their computer screens who may be caused pain or at least frustration by what they write. People who wouldn’t dream of saying a hurtful thing to another person in real life think nothing of saying anything at all to people on the Web. The laws of Lashon Hara and common decency apply to the web as much as they apply to face to face human relationships. When we read that teens commit suicide because of things written about them on the web, we realize this is serious.

While most of the people I encounter through my blog are kind, respectful people, every once in a while I get a nudnik. I am not mentioning the person by name, not out of a sense of propriety, but because the nudnik didn’t even have the guts to use his real name in posts, but hid behind an anonymous pseudonym. He started off complimenting me on my post and posing a question, acting as if he really didn’t understand. Later he ignored what I had said and stated his own warped conclusions not even considering what I had said in response to him as well as ignoring my original post. He obviously was not interested in the topic I was discussing because he bypassed it completely in favor of his own anti-Messianic agenda. He is not a nudnik for disagreeing with me, but for wasting my time, and then bragging about it condescendingly on his own blog. As I state on my “about” page, the purpose of my blog is to stimulate people to think. This person did not think, but simply tried to hijack my blog as well as a few others from what I have read, to suit his own agenda. If he had any sense of propriety whatsoever, he would keep his viewpoints on his own blog instead of bringing his unwelcome remarks on mine. Maybe he doesn’t have enough readers on his own blog so he felt he needed to access my readership. The really sad thing is that he didn’t even try to engage me on the subject at hand. It might have been interesting. I would have had more respect for the position of someone who at least would honestly discuss instead of bypass the discussion completely to push his diatribe. I wound up deleting his posts.

While I feel fully justified in deleting the Nudnik, I am also reminded of the Midrashic story of Abraham, who when he saw a man coming across the desert, invited him into his tent and served him a meal, and showed hospitality. He talked to the man about God, and the man laughed and said he didn’t believe in God. Abraham grew angry and threw the man out of his tent. Later God came to Abraham and asked him how old he thought the man was whom Abraham threw out. Abraham said the man seemed to be about 40. God said to Abraham that He had been putting up with the man for 40 years. Couldn’t Abraham put up with him for one evening? On one hand, I could have put up with the nudnik and continued the farce of a conversation I was having with him, knowing he was insincere, but on the other hand I would have lost my topic on the blog to what the nudnik wanted to say. Being hospitable doesn’t mean being a doormat. It means being kind and respectful, which I tried to do until it was obvious the conversation wasn’t going anywhere constructive. My only hope is that he gets a nudnik of his own, so he too can show the hospitality of Abraham.

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7 thoughts on “Dealing With Nudniks

  1. Yeah, our anonymous friend seemed to be making his round on the various Messianic blogs out there, not engaging in discussion or debate, but mocking and belittling. Questions with a pointy stick behind them. It’s hard to tolerate that, I understand.

    I think he did this after being banned from Rosh Pina Project, where the owners of that blog tolerated anonymous for several weeks or even a few months before banning him.

    I don’t blame you for deleting his comments.

    You raise an interesting point about the midrash story of Abraham. I hadn’t heard that before. Hmm. Well, that makes me think. 🙂

  2. that Midrash really strikes close to home…and it challenges me.

    I’ve got to mull over this…
    not a bad way to begin the work week.

  3. It also challenges me to make sure I’m not being an “unintentional” nudnik. I’m sure I’ve been annoying to more than a few people in the Messianic blogosphere.

    • James, we are all human and therefore all have been unintentionally a nudnik to someone at sometime, but the guy I wrote about was intentionally nudniking and even gloats about it on his blog. He sees himself as some kind of hero. Its pitiful.

  4. It is unfortunate that we run into nudniks occasionally. They can be trying and when you put forth the effort to have a blog like this it makes you an easy target. Rabbi, your work on this blog is informative and important to many people. Please don’t let the thoughtless actions of an individual discourage you. Khazak v’ematz!!

  5. As you know, Rabbi, I tend judge midrash very carefully, knowing it is the word of man, not God. This one, however, hits home, because whether it actually happened to Abraham or not, it is a good, sound, valid teaching. I have been guilty myself, more than once, of not putting up with nudniks I perhaps should have judged a bit more gently.

    Makes me think, too.

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