Food Question

The Food Question to Ruin a Day

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When the war began, people quickly found a new way to be obnoxious online. Just when you thought we had mastered every possible way.

Sometimes a little bit of frustration was well-placed, but most of the time it was trash. It was people masking their frustration at their own inability to make a difference by trashing other people simply living their lives.

What Gives You The Right to Criticize?

Food Question

On the night of October 7th, after Shabbat, I recall someone asking on a Facebook group if any food places were delivering that night. What followed was a string of criticism. Not a single helpful answer, just people ripping into the one asking the food question for its insensitivity and poor timing.

No one came to her defense.

No one considered the possibility that maybe her husband was just pulled into reserve duty or she didn’t know the whereabout of her sister who was at the Nova festival. Maybe she was so shaken to the core by the complexity of her situation, she couldn’t fathom cooking for her three kids. She just needed to be able to make a call and get some food. She didn’t need judgment. She didn’t need people giving her a hard time and making her incomprehensibly difficult time worse.

Or maybe she was an insensitive person who cared more about a late-night slice of pizza than a massacre of our people in the south.

But what gives you the right to criticize? What gives you the right to assume it’s the latter without even contemplating the possibility it’s the former?

The Dance of the Self-Righteous

Food Question

This became a theme of my social media feeds for a few weeks. Someone dared to do something even remotely normal, and the gallery of the self-righteous emerged to show their displeasure. They spewed their hateful venom over anyone who dared seek a recipe or advice on government offices or needed to check if a restaurant was still open. And all the time ignoring the greatest irony in all of this: What were they doing on Facebook in the first place? Surely they should either be volunteering or sitting in a corner crying. There is no other choice, yet they had the audacity to waste their time mindlessly scrolling… looking for opportunities to criticize others for being normal.

Thankfully this uncomfortable period subsided, and it became normal again to ask questions, seek advice, or otherwise frivolously spend time on the internet doing what the internet’s best for. Facebook went from people attacking those who can contemplate anything in the world other than the war, to defending those who needed a night to get out of the house or wanted to find the best fried chicken in Jerusalem.

Yet it’s not 100% over. There is still shreds left over, despite the fact that we’re four months into the war. And someone decided to express their ridiculous demonstration of their enhanced virtuous abilities… at my wife.

The Fateful Food Question

Food Question

My beautiful spouse made the grievous error of asking for suggestions for how to prepare a food item on Shabbat. Where did she ask her food question, daring to ignore the dangers and difficulties of living in times of war and destruction? On a Facebook group called Israeli Foodies.

This group is exactly as it sounds. It’s filled with people who are fans of food, and live all over Israel. Perhaps they are ever so slightly snobbier about food than the average person. So they gather in their own corner of Zuckerberg-land to share thoughts and ask questions.

My wife’s question was not deep. Nor meaningful. It was a simple food question. And of course it was! Why should it be any more than that? It’s literally a group for food-related questions, with the only twist being that it’s related to Israel. To ask for the best sandwich place in Tel Aviv is an acceptable question. To ask for the best place to buy shoes in Chicago is not.

And there are basically only three acceptable ways to react:

  1. Provide a thoughtful and meaningful answer to the question at hand (ideal)
  2. Click some type of reaction, like a thumbs up (acceptable)
  3. Not get involved in any way whatsoever (also 100% acceptable)

Now, if your reaction is anything short of the first two, the third option suddenly becomes the absolute best one available. No one needs a dumb joke. No one needs an answer to the wrong question. And no one needs to be judged by others because they asked something that for whatever reason you didn’t find acceptable.

The Damage

Food Question

But some self-righteous moron decided this was her opportunity to step on her soap box and preach to a crowd of people who really didn’t appreciate her poison.

This was the general gist of what she said:

I can’t believe what I’m reading here. There’s a war going on just a hop away from all of us, and you have the audacity to ask a trivial question about food? No one cares about your stupid food problems. I saw this and all I felt for you was bitter contempt and disgust.

Now I should say two things. First, the feed was filled with good and thoughtful answers to the question. With zero judgment. Not every answer was great, but everyone was polite and well-meaning.

Second, although the comment had a few wimpy ‘likes’, the general sentiment of the group was outright angst at the way she was talking. People reported her. And the comment was eventually removed.

But the damage was done. Feelings were hurt. People were incensed. And a mindless debate ensued with a woman who didn’t understand anything about the world.

We’re Carrying On

Food Question

We’re all carrying on. With heavy hearts. We’re still sad. And stressed. And checking the news constantly.

But life is moving forward. There’s no other choice. We do what we need to do, and even what we want to do. Because that’s part of being a person.

She should understand this. While our children were bleeding on the battlefield, this self-righteous awful person was scrolling around on Facebook looking for people to shame because they aren’t as virtuous as she is. She could have been out distributing sandwiches to soldiers and bottles of water to evacuees. But she was instead on her phone using the precious minutes we have in this world to shame others and make people feel bad.

She lives in a sad and lonely reality.

I hope she grows out of it soon.

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