Parshas Korach – A Kneydl and a Kvetch

Press Button to File Complaint ButtonKnaidel.  K-N-A-I-D-E-L.  Knaidel.

By properly spelling this Jewish culinary delight, an intelligent Indian-American boy won the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee, beating out hundreds of other contestants.

Jewish bubbies worldwide were kvelling.

Of course, knaidel and kvelling aren’t the only Yiddish/Hebrew words that have made it into our lexicon. Thanks to people like Jerry Seinfeld and Ed Koch, words like kosher, chutzpah, klutz, shmooze, and oy veyhave gone mainstream.

Not long after the spelling bee, another Yiddish word came into play:

KVETCH.  K-V-E-T-C-H.  KVETCH.

Yiddish experts disputed the winning spelling of knaidel, some claiming and kvetching that only a klutzwould confuse KNAIDEL with KNEYDL

Oy vey, indeed.

Sadly, it seems like the Jewish people have been kvetching and complaining for a long time.

In previous weeks’ Torah portions the Jews complained about food and water, in last week’s about the Land of Israel, and in this week’s portion Moshe’s cousin, Korach, complains about having been passed up for a leadership position. In each instance, the results were disastrous for the individuals involved and for the Jewish people as a whole.

The commentaries point out that the fundamental flaw was not the specific complaints that they made, but that they were walking around with an attitude of negativity. Instead of seeing G-d’s love, they looked for the bad, and complained. As the Torah tells us, a complaining attitude is “evil in the ears of G-d” (Numbers 11:1).

The commentaries further point out that a negative attitude is not only wrong, but inevitably saps joy out of life, and causes the downfall of the complainers and all those around them. Even Moshe, who was repeatedly prepared to defend the Jewish people, had no choice but to warn the Jews to stay away from Korach, “lest they perish” along with him (Numbers 16:26).

We all have challenges and bumps along the road of life, giving us many justifications for our kvetching and complaining. But, in reality, it is never justified.  Looking at the positive allows us to have a more enjoyable life, an inner calm, and NACHAS from our achievements and the achievements of others.

That’s NACHAS. N-A-C-H-A-S. NACHAS.

Okay, you’re right — maybe it’s NACHES. Or NAKHES. . . but stop complaining, would you??

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