Being an anonymous blogging Rabbi can create some funny scenarios. It can also create some headaches.
To the latter category belongs the bozo (who goes by the name ‘avichozeh’ on Hashkafah) who has now tried to ‘out’ me three times; once in my comments (which I erased and then banned the IP address), once by posting his reaction to something I wrote, with my real name, on Hashkafah.com (which, when I notified the moderator, was taken down), and most recently in a comment on Maven Yavin linking to another Hashkafah.com revelation of my identity (which also has now been edited by the Hashkafah.com moderator). I’ve written before that I’m not embarrassed by what I say, but in my line of work I can’t simply say whatever I want, whenever I want. I have much more ‘freedom of expression’ on my blog, so I like maintaining anonymity. I wish that bozos like avichozeh (BTW, isn’t that a reference to Moshe in the Motza”sh zemirot? Isn’t it a bit pretentious to call one’s self ‘Moshe Rabbeinu’? Didn’t the Ramcha”l get in trouble for that?) would respect that, even while disagreeing vehemently with what I write.
A funnier scenario occurred this morning. I was with relatives for Shabbat, and the Rabbi of one of the local shuls asked if I could give a short shiur after davening and before Kiddush. The shiur was based on my post from last week on the Midrashim about Israelite identity in Egypt. I made a mar’eh mekomos page and emailed it to the shul’s Assistant Rabbi earlier in the week. This morning, when I got to shul and went to say ‘gut Shabbos’ to the Rabbis, the Assistant Rabbi says to me, “you got this shiur from ADDeRabbi, didn’t you?” Taken completely off guard, I looked at him and didn’t answer. He continued, “I mean, it’s clearly the same sources, so either you took this from ADDeRabbi, or you ARE ADDeRabbi.” At that point I ‘outed’ myself to him. Turns out he’s a fan.
The second scenario involves someone who until recently was a member of my community. I wouldn’t say that we didn’t get along, but I could definitely sense that he didn’t, and wouldn’t, consider me his Rabbi, and probably could’ve been a bit more respectful, at least publicly. Nu, can’t win ‘em all.
Anyhow, this fellow is now a reader of my blog, likes what I write, but hasn’t connected my blog-identity with my flesh-and-blood identity (at least not when he began reading my blog). Had I said over one of my ‘Torah’s in shul, the fellow might not have stuck around.
Not only do I find the story highly amusing, but also to be an excellent nugget of mussar.
[if you’re reading this, and think that it might be you, send me an email if you’d like]