The Responsibility Behind the Word “Mensch”

For the second time in my life, I am humbled beyond words being paid the honor of being called a “mensch,” in Yiddish lexicon, the highest praise a man can get. Not too shabby for a gentile! Similar to my late Aunt Lois calling me a fine man, the ultimate distinction to hers and my mom’s generations. On the flipside, I have been called a narcissist and branded a villain. My first review assignment for Blabbermouth, the community took exception to my only giving Rush’s Clockwork Angels an 8.5 out of 10. It was said I didn’t matter and my death was called for. I laughed at that, though I shouldn’t have.

I take the “mensch” label and my aunt’s appraisal as the standard I hold myself accountable to. Still, I have made a ton of mistakes, I have hurt people, I have done things I’m not proud of. I was given the news of the passing of a friend from way back whom I hurt because I mishandled her affections for me. I am grateful I was able to come to her later in life and make amends with her. I can’t say I will be able to rectify all the turmoil I may have caused that hangs over me, but the point to this entire litany is to take what people say about you both to heart and with a grain of salt. Use all of it as a measure with which to grow.

More often than not, I have done what I felt is right, even at great risk or at consequence. All I can do is be me and to try and keep my compass straight. This is the most challenging period of my entire life and it takes more effort than ever to check down the anger that boils inside of me and as Lenny Kravitz would say, to let love rule.

–Ray Van Horn, Jr.

4 thoughts on “The Responsibility Behind the Word “Mensch”

  1. I appreciate that, VJ. You have to have a thick skin sometimes and hold yourself accountable when these things happen. Those who see me as a villain can have their view and I have no way of changing it. They knew me then they didn’t. Sometimes your actions tell a different story to others who have no context of reasoning. It hurts when your give yourself to others and yet you are forced into a hard decision. There will be ramifications, for sure. In the end, it’s being able to look at yourself in the mirror and having enough armor to take what comes, good and bad. Sometimes you earn it, sometimes it’s misconstruing. I hope your husband’s children come to see a different light down the road. Thanks for sharing!


  2. We all have our own set of regrets in life. The important thing is, we learn and we do better in the future. Life’s constant learning. And in those three words… It goes on. Your cats are gorgeous, by the way 🐈


    • Thank you for the introspective words and another four words to add, “This too shall pass.” Agreed that evolution is the only way. I feel comforted to myself that for any wrongdoings or hurtful things I may have done, I have done all in my power to rectify and make things right. It’s arrogant to think that way sometimes and it’s proven for all the good reparations I may have made, those efforts were rejected or blown off as trivial, but for my own heart and conscience, yeah, it goes on, however it must and to what lengths it takes to make a better life. Thank you for the nice words on the kitties. MJ and Ezio are gorgeous boys. 🙂

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