I got a copy of City Spirit (a glossy bimonthly) thrown in with my groceries at Glatt Mart yesterday.
Leafing through the articles, I paid particular attention to how the writers described themselves.
Here’s Rabbi Gershon Bess‘s description — I suspect he wrote it, but if he didn’t, he must’ve approved it: "Rabbi Gershon Bess is Rav of Congregation Kehillas Yaakov and serves as the Halachic authority for the Los Angeles Kollel and Yeshiva communities. He gives a slate of highly regarded lectures on Talmud and Halacha and is the Rosh HaVaad of Vaad L’Maan Yahadus which has published Halachic bulletins for many years. He is a graduate of the yeshivos of Philadelphia, Ponovez, Lakewood and the Kollel of Los Angeles and serves on the Bais Din of the Rabbinical Council of California."
Wow. I’m glad there was room enough for his article on kosher bread.
In my view, the longer the self-description, the more insecure the man.
I remember a Shabbat dinner where we were going around the table introducing ourselves and this chiropractor says, "I’m Dr. Jonathan…"
Trying a bit too hard, mate? Let go and let God.
Rabbi Bess serves as the halachic authority for the Los Angeles yeshiva communities? All of them? They all look to him?
His lectures are "highly regarded"? By whom? Isn’t it a bit chutzpadick to describe your own lectures as "highly regarded"?
When I publish articles in prestigious journals, I like to keep my self-description pithy: "Luke Ford wants to be your moral leader. He’s single and ready to mingle."
I’m just glad Rabbi Bess didn’t describe himself as "charismatic and dynamic" (a la Rabbi Eliyahu Safran of the Orthodox Union) or as "one of the most sought after speakers in the Jewish world" (a la Rabbi YY Rubinstein).
Rabbis don’t tend to commit the great sin of excess humility.
My favorite ad in the magazine?
"Are you in need of an aggressive lawyer? If you have a really tough case, then you need a really tough lawyer. Get tough with Baruch C. Cohen…323-937-4501"