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Summary: A deep look at the consequences of complaining and why somebody should steer clear of the complaint department.

Take a Number

3 Reasons to Stop Complaining

“Attitude” Series

I. Introduction

There is an old Hasidic tale about a woman whose name was Anna Kebbitch. She was a complainer. All day long she complained:

“I have so little money, my clothes are like old rags.”

“My health is so bad, my back feels like the walls of Jericho.”

“I must walk so far to draw water, my feet are like watermelons.”

“My house is so small, I can barely move in it.”

“My children visit me so little that they hardly know me.”

One day, Anna Kebbitch woke up with an itch on her nose. All day long her nose itched.

She went into town to visit the rabbi.

When the rabbi saw Anna, he asked her, “How are you, Anna?”

Anna replied, “I have so little money, my clothes are like old rags. My health is so bad, my back feels like the walls of Jericho. I must walk so far to draw water, my feet are like watermelons. My house is so small, I can barely move in it. My children visit me so little that they hardly know me. And now I have this itch on my nose and it plagues me so. Tell me, Rabbi, what does it mean?”

The rabbi said, “Anna, your itch is the Kebbitch Itch—the ‘complainer’s itch.’ Its meaning is this: However you consider yourself, so shall you be.”

The next morning, Anna woke up and her nose was still itching. She could barely move. Her back had turned to stone like the walls of Jericho. When she looked about her, she noticed that her house had shrunk until her arms stuck out the windows and her legs hung out the front door. She could not move in it. On the end of her legs were two huge watermelons. Her clothes had turned to old rags. When her son and daughter came walking by, Anna called out to them, but they continued walking on, wagging their heads—they didn’t know her.

And her nose continued to itch.

In despair Anna remembered the meaning of the Kebbitch Itch: However you consider yourself, so shall you be. What does this mean?

Anna began to think: You know, I do have money enough to live on and more. Henceforth, I will give out of my abundance to those who are not so well off. My health is not so bad. Actually, for someone my age, I feel quite well. I’m glad I have such a nice house to live in. It’s not large, but it’s comfortable and quite warm. I really don’t mind my walk to draw water. I love to smell the flowers along the path. And my children—I’m so proud that they have become independent and are now able to take care of themselves.

Miraculously, while Anna was saying these things, her situation returned to normal—and her outlook on life changed forever. When the rabbis tell Anna’s story, they end with this statement: May your noses itch forever.

Well, you may not have the Kebbitch itch, but we all need to be reminded of a few things tonight about complaining. I intend to give you three reasons to stop complaining. Now, there are plenty of reasons not to complain, and you may be thinking, I know the first reason, “Because God said so.” Well, God did say so, and that should be enough, I’m going to go a bit further and show you the consequences of complaining. You ready? Let’s go!


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