Pious as I Can Be

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m diabetic. It doesn’t impact my life a lot, as it is controlled by diet
and exercise. It could be better controlled if I would diet or exercise
more, but I managed to avoid insulin for 15 years and still have hopes
(fantasies) or getting off my oral meds. I spent Yom Kippur at
synagogue almost all day. But when I got home from services at 2:30
in the afternoon my blood sugar was dangerously low. I had a cup of
chicken broth then, and right before I went back for the evening
services. One of the women from the Sisterhood was sitting next to
me, and asked in a very loud voice, “Have you been eating?!” I was so
flustered and embarrassed that I think I made things worse by saying
Sssshhh, instead of something like “Mind your own business,” or “I’m
diabetic.” Now she’s playing holier than thou with me among the other
sisterhood members. What can or should I do, or is saying nothing the
best way of letting her rudeness be clear to everyone?
Pious as I Can Be

Dear Pious:
First of, you’re right: she’s a rude, inconsiderate busybody. Your
health status, and for that matter, the status of your piety, are no
one’s business but your own. That may be true, but you still have a PR
problem. Though it’s not of your own making, it’s one you can solve.
While it’d be nice to stick a spike in her directly, I’ll assume you are
not friendless. Easiest is to tell your best friend what happened
(assuming she hasn’t already heard) and enlist her to be your
mouthpiece. Have her tell two other women how insensitive she thinks
the busybody is for meddling in your private medical affairs. Be sure
she stresses what good person you are, how much you contribute to
the community, and how hard you try to keep not only
commandments but also the mitzvoth. Have her remind them, and ask
them to remind her, that gossip is considered a very powerful
manifestation of not only bad social behavior but considered an “evil
inclination,” because something once heard cannot be retracted. You’ll                         know you succeeded when she apologizes. It’ll likely be insincere, but
you should smile and accept it.