I'd like to welcome a very special friend, my Yetzer Hara. Her name is somewhat unusual but it means "bad heart" so that sort of explains everything. YH is literally a part of me, that's how close we are. You know when you have a friend where like you finish each others' sentences? Don't know where one ends and the other starts? Can't even remember a time when you didn't know each other? Yup, that's us. I'm going to guess each of you has a YH in your life. If you do, count your blessings.
OOTOB: Welcome, YH. Can you describe the nature of your friendship with Ruchi?
YH: Thanks so much for having me. I usually get somewhat of a bad rap in the Orthodox world and it's really refreshing to have the opportunity to speak my mind.
To answer your question, I couldn't even truly separate myself from her. I'm kind of like the yin to her yang. I should probably ask if that's kosher to say here but that's my job - not to care. I'm here to stir up the pot.
Point is, I'm here to make life difficult. Listen, it's not a fun job but someone's got to do it. The pay is pretty good but the PR stinks.
OOTOB: I see. What are your personal beliefs about religion?
YH: You would imagine that someone as snarky and wily as me would be a skeptic or cynic or epicurean or whatever those other options were. And I put on this "tough-guy" exterior all the time, challenging everything and making everyone's life difficult.
But actually my relationship with God is extremely real and deep. I'm kind of like an agent of His, like an ambassador. I know that's sort of goofy to admit and I feel sort of stupid saying this publicly.
The weird thing is, whenever Ruchi talks about how annoying I am, she smiles about it. I don't really get that. It makes me wonder if I'm doing my job right. If I'm so transparent, am I irrelevant? It just make you realize you can never chill in this industry. Kind of like in "Who Moved my Cheese."
OOTOB: What are some of your thoughts coming into the new year?
YH: This is absolutely busy season for me. I am working overtime here. Everyone's so rosy these days, with thoughts of forgiveness, resolutions, blah blah blah. It's a tough game.
October is my vacation.
I have the calendar in my favor this year, though. School just started so everyone's stressed out, which is a huge help, and of course I can always rely on kvetching about cooking. Especially when it's still hot out and everyone would rather be at the pool.
But it's not so hard to get people to kvetch in general. That's my strongest direct technique. I don't call it that, of course. Bad marketing. I call it "venting."
OOTOB: What's your biggest obstacle?
YH: Prayer is both my best friend and my worst enemy. Friend, because so many people struggle with it so the discomfort works hugely in my favor. Enemy, because as soon as someone figures out a way to talk to God in a way that works for them, I'm cooked. The reflection centers them and reminds them that I'm basically a smokescreen. It's my biggest nightmare. I'm not even talking about God helping them - like, answering their prayers. The process alone is a death sentence.
Can we change the subject please?
OOTOB: What has been your personal greatest success with Ruchi?
YH: I'm sorry, but due to HIPAA regulations, I am unable to share that information.
OOTOB: Well, I want to thank you for your honesty and time. It's important to have candid discussions with those whom we disagree and treat each other with respect.
YH: Thanks for having me.
Note: YH is available to field comments and questions.
For a fuller bio on YH, see here: