What Ellman does or says, or even how their children behave, can be a reflection on the rabbi. There's a risk in being completely open with people, Ellman said, as there's always a possibility for distortion.
As Jews, we are famous for repeating ourselves. Johnny, did you take out the garbage? Johnny, I wonder if the garbage is outside? Honey, did you give me the phone number of the place you're staying? Honey, I need the phone number of your hotel. Mom, please don't tell me to do my homework again. You just reminded me an hour ago.
There's a Yiddish saying that goes: "I've been poor and I've been rich. Believe me, rich is better!" In the Midrash we read: "Nothing in the universe is worse than poverty; it is the most terrible of sufferings." (Exodus Rabbah 31:14)
"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant, I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."-- Mark Twain
We laugh at this quote because we can sense its truth. Each of us passes through stages of life in relation to our parents. Whether they are alive or deceased; whether we live in close proximity to them or across the country; whether we are emotionally close to them or have grown distant -- an ebb and flow often characterizes our relationship to our parents. Parental separation is necessary, but painful. God knew this when, on the second day of creation, after the division of the waters above and below, God refrained from saying "and it was good." Our struggle to separate begins at the womb and continues way beyond the grave.