Bothering Verbal Behaviors in Interpersonal Communication That Are Common among Many Sabras

Six weeks have passed since I started my Talmud study at the yeshiva. This is the first time that I officially study in English so intensively. All the teachers and the other students are from Anglophone countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, etc. I spend about three hours with them every day. This also turns out to be a precious opportunity to reexamine the mentality of the sabras and the Japanese more objectively and in a wider perspective.

It is true that certain students behave in a way that is totally beyond my understanding (e.g., many of them are always late for the class, and some of them even continue to come to the class empty-handed without the pages of the Talmud we are studying), I am spared a few bothering verbal behaviors in interpersonal communication that are common among many sabras (native Israelis) but seem uncommon or nonexistent among those from Anglophone countries, whether they are Jewish or not, and Japanese as well as Russians and probably many other nations.

Of course, not all the sabras behave this way, but I would say that at least every tenth sabra whom I met for the first time at the dinner table, parties and other social events and with whom I struck a conversation did display these insensitive behaviors.

The most bothering verbal behavior in interpersonal communication that is common among many sabras is their verbal intrusion into privacy even, or to be more precise, mainly, when they are speaking to strangers they meet for the first time. The fact that few of them have any malice does not make this behavior of theirs less bothering. On the contrary, this makes it even more bothering as they are not aware that they are disturbing others. This is fundamentally different from sincere desire to know more the person they are speaking to personally but nothing but peeping.

Another bothering behavior is what I consider "slips of tongue" (but they are just normal ways of speech for these people). I think that what distinguishes naive children from cultured adults is that the former say whatever comes to their mind about someone they are speaking to without thinking even for a moment what effect it will have upon him or her. Again, this is totally different from expressing their sincere opinion. I believe that there are certain things that you should never tell your interlocutors face-to-face unless you are naive children. When I encounter their "slips of tongue" that offend me, I am more sorry for the fact that they have not learned to speak like cultured adults than for the offense they cause to me.