Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

August 9, 2006

Making Vice Out of Virtue

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:34 am

Not a New Yorker has a fascinating post on what’s wrong with the culture in New York. She doesn’t frame it that way, but that’s how I read it, having seen the same sort of thing myself. (She also relates this to Jews helping Jews, but I don’t see anything particularly Jewish about her point, except for all the examples she uses.)

1. I was inconvenienced before Shabbos by someone, who just assumed I could help effortlessly, when in fact, I had to expend great effort, while many other people could have done it, probably with less effort. There was no benefit to me personally for doing the mitzvah, and I didn’t enjoy doing it. In fact, it was awful.

2. Related or unrelated, I was admonished by someone else for going “the extra mile” to do it.

3. I was admonished by the same person for talking to people who, he explained, were West Side Wackos.

And here is why I am NotaNewYorker.

[Long list of selfless, helpful acts -- done spontaneously by people in non-New York places.]

And now I live in New York City. … And people here really think it’s weird if you make an effort for anyone who hasn’t been vetted.

But this is a core belief I have. This is what my parents and my siblings have taught me. You don’t do something for a fellow Jew because it’s easy, you do it because a fellow Jew asked you to. Because it is not in my ability to say no unless it really is impossible, or dangerous.

It is not because I am weak, or stupid, or have trouble saying no. I don’t need therapy (at least not about this!)

I am not judging New Yorkers for being who they are.

But this is simply who I am. And I’m not sorry.

Don’t be sorry. Don’t change — and get out of New York before it changes you.

I am so glad I don’t live there…

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