A young boy in glasses and a nerd outfit is shouting at his siblings through a megaphone. The big brother and big sister are looking at the camera with an annoyed look on their faces while plugging their ears. The little brother is bossing his older siblings around.

The Neighborhood Kvetch

There once was a neighborhood kvetch.
Every day, he’d get up,
stretch out,
rise,
and annoy.

His voice would grate the community’s ears.
“Ugh, him again?” they said.
“Where does he get the energy?”
“And doesn’t he know no one listens?”

And every day,
he’d come home.
With no one,
while the town breathed a sigh of relief.

One night, the people went to the town rabbi,
and they demanded
he say something.

He nodded sagely.
“Yes, yes. It is time we spoke with him, finally.
It is enough already.”

And so the town came together,
all behind the rabbi,
as he walked over,
sure that he had been understanding enough,
calm enough,
good enough,
to the kvetch,
that his reasonable plea would be heard.

And so he knocked on the kvetch’s door,
knocked,
knocked,
and knocked.

But nothing happened.
No response.

But it was night,
after the kvetch had gone back to his home.
Alone.

The town grew restless,
and unlike their rabbi,
were inpatient. And restless. It was time for this to end.

They did what the rabbi could not.
And they broke down the door.

It was dark, with a single candle lit,
and in the middle of the room was a table,
strewn with food, drinks, and tears,
and surrounding the table and the tears were two dozen people.

No matter how much the town’s eyes adjusted,
they could not see who was sitting there,
they could only hear.

Soon, a man stood,
and walked over
to the town
and the rabbi,
and he looked at them all,
and he said,
on his own,
“Listen.”

He turned to the table.
And he said,
“Speak.”

And soon, someone spoke,
a voice the town had heard before,
but couldn’t place,
for it had not been heard,
for so long.

It told the story of how it had been raped,
and how,
the town had heard the cries,
but had put ear plugs in.

Someone in the crowd said,
“Another kvetch.
No wonder,
since we have been so kind,
as to let this kvetch roam free.”

The kvetch sighed,
and asked them to listen again.

Another voice.
Old.
Scratched.
Dying.

“One day,”
it said,
“I tried to kill myself,
and someone from town,
handed me a razor,
and I screamed,
as it went in,
and the town,
said,
‘Do you hear something?’”

Another person from the town spoke up,
“Well,
that happens in most towns.
How dare you,
say we’re different?”

The kvetch shook his head.
And finally,
he went over to another person,
slumped,
as if asleep,
and carried it over to the town,
and he brought it into the light.

It was a corpse.

A voice rose from the back.
“That’s my daughter.
She was gay.
And some of you,
told her to do
what she did.”

Finally, a person from the town cried,
screamed,
and tore his shirt.

The kvetch looked up hopefully.

The person yelled,
“Why are you hurting us?!
Why do you tell us
stories
that aren’t about us,
but only a few?”

And then all the town put their ear plugs in,
and walked away,
and they never spoke of that day again.

And soon,
all that was left,
was the rabbi.

And two dozen voices.

The rabbi looked at them all,
his eyes sympathetic,
and sighed.

For an hour, he stood there. Quietly. Thinking.
So patient.
So thoughtful
So quiet.

“I have heard you,”
he said,
“And I care,”
he said,
and the voices perked, and someone cried
from joy.

And
the rabbi went on.
“Now,
as someone concerned,
and who has heard,
and who who has thought,
and who has been quiet,
let me give you some advice.
For it is my job
to advise,
and it is all
I know.”

The voices quieted.

“If you could just…
throw in some positive words…
tell them…
the town…
they are sensitive…
and…
they need your help…
for it hurts them… to hear you…
so if you could remind them,
why they are good,
so that it will be easier for them to hear.
After all,
it’s just so painful,
not to be you.”

And the room was silent.
And the candle went out.
And the kvetch closed the door.

And as the rabbi walked away from the home,
he heard crying.

And he smiled.
Sure he had done the right thing.
And that the crying
was because of his advice.

And not because,
once again,
the voices were silenced,
the corpse buried,
and the door closed.