web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Professor and the Hot Dog

The rest is commentary.
hot-dog

Share Button

Originally published at Chabad.org.

By Yossi Lew

This is a story of a professor who got entangled with a hot dog. The hot dog lost. The professor won. Forever.

Dr. Velvl Greene was a professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Minnesota. This was around 1960. Professor Greene was involved in the NASA program to find life on Mars. No, the hot dog was not from Mars. Hang in there.

My uncle Rabbi Moshe Feller had recently arrived in Minnesota, and was heavily on Dr. Greene’s case. They talked a lot.

Rabbi Feller called Dr. Greene and said, “Velvl, I know you’re traveling somewhere by plane. Before you take this trip, please do me a favor. Call the airline and order a kosher meal.”

Velvl replied, “What? You know I don’t keep kosher. If I don’t keep kosher in my house, why do I need a kosher meal on the plane?”

Rabbi Feller responded that when the other Jewish passengers hear that Professor Velvl Greene had asked for his kosher meal, it could inspire them as well. Why should they lose out just because he’s not there yet?

Velvl responded, “Look, I’m not so sure about all this, but if it is going to make you happy, I’ll do you the favor.”

Dr. Greene ordered the kosher meal, and boarded the plane the next day. But when the flight attendant came by, she handed him a regular, non-kosher meal. Dr. Greene was ready for this too. Clearing his throat, he declared for everybody to hear, “No, ma’am, I ordered a kosher meal!”

“Your name, please?”

“Professor Velvl Greene.”

All heads turned. Professor Greene had ordered a kosher meal! The attendant said, “Okay, I’ll be right back.”

While fellow passengers were feasting on chicken parmesan or steak, even wiping the gravy with bread, the flight attendant was nowhere to be found. The professor was hungry; his mouth was starting to really salivate. The aromas were stabbing his kishkes! He pushed the little button, and when the lady returned he said, “My kosher meal?”

She replied, “We’re still checking.”

After a few minutes, and after everyone on the plane had been served, the flight attendant came to his seat and said, “Um, Dr. Greene, there must have been a mistake. We don’t seem to have your meal on the plane.”

Dr. Greene was about to blurt out, “Fine, give me another meal.” After all, this wasn’t his idea. He ate all sorts of food at home. Problem was, how could he ask for that meal after he had just made such a big deal on the plane for everyone to know that Professor Velvl Greene had ordered a kosher meal? How would it look if he suddenly said, “Fine, give me a regular meal”?

But Greene was angry. He was very angry. He was angry at the airline. He was angry at himself for listening to this nonsense. He was angry at G‑d, because the least G‑d could do was arrange for his meal to be on this darn plane, especially after Greene had done something nice for G‑d! But he was most angry, fuming at Rabbi Feller for convincing him to do this. And Greene decided that he would show him yet.

He landed at Chicago’s O’Hare airport at midnight for a one-hour stopover. He arrived at the terminal, and there was still one store open: a non-kosher hot dog stand. The hot dogs looked and smelled good, plump and juicy. There was even hot sauerkraut available. Velvl Greene was very hungry, but he was even more angry than hungry. He therefore headed first to the phone booth and called the rabbi—collect. A collect call in the middle of the night was sure to invite panic. And indeed, Rabbi Feller was deeply concerned that something terrible had happened.

“This is a very upset and hungry Professor Greene calling from O’Hare airport in Chicago,” he said. “I’ll have you know that they did not have my kosher meal on the plane, and I’m starving. I also want you to know that there is a hot dog stand 20 feet away from me. Before I go ahead and buy one and eat it, I just wanted to wake you up to tell you that I’m going to eat it. I’m going to have it with mustard, onions, relish and kraut. After I finish the first one, I’m going to have a second one!”

The rabbi was quiet for a minute, and then he said, “Velvl, on many occasions you have asked me about the essence of Judaism, what it all comes down to, what it calls forth from within us. Tonight, right now, in this telephone conversation, I’m going to tell you the essence of Judaism. It’s about passing the hot dog stand and not buying one. It’s about being able to get on your connecting flight without having eaten the hot dog. That’s all of Judaism; the rest is commentary.”

The professor says, “Feller, you’re nuts. I always thought you were nuts; now I know you’re nuts. This is all of Judaism? Feller, as every bite of this hot dog goes down my throat, I’m going to be thinking of you and saying your name. I am going to eat this in your honor.”

And he hung up the phone.

He headed straight for the stand, stood in line and waited for his turn. He was about to place his order, when something very strange happened. He tried to say, “Can I have a hot dog?” He wanted it, he was hungry, he was angry, and gosh, those hot dogs looked better and better with each rotation of the grill.

But he couldn’t.

At that moment, he got it. It wasn’t that he was stronger than the hot dog. Or than the craving hunger in his gut. It was that G‑d was stronger than that hot dog. And he had to listen to G‑d. Not out of fear, not out of guilt, but out of love. And that was Judaism. All of it.

Professor Greene never bought that hot dog, not then, not ever again. That trip changed his life. One small “no” for a hot dog, one great step for a man.

Share Button

About the Author: Chabad.org is a division of the Chabad-Lubavitch Media Center, under the auspices of the Lubavitch World Headquarters


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “The Professor and the Hot Dog”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Arrival of self-declared mayor of Slaviansk at town's administrative offices in eastern Ukraine.
Israeli-American Journalist Held Hostage in Ukraine
Latest Indepth Stories
Al-Aksa Mosque was claimed to be the site from which Mohammed ascended to Heaven, but it was built nearly 50 years after Mohammed died.

Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.

Israeli police enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City to disperse stone-throwing Palestinian protesters.

Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.

Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

More Articles from Chabad.org
chabad building attacked

Chabad Rabbi Michael Oishie had left the building just 20 minutes before the attack.

From left: Rabbi Berel Mockin, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Rabbi Zalman A. Grossbaum and Rabbi Rabbi Yitzchok Wineberg, as Rabbi Wineberg presents Harper with a Chumash that includes commentaries of the Rebbe.

Canadian Chabad rabbis accompanied Harper on his trip.

“It was quite an institutionalized racism, and we didn’t come to get involved in politics.”

Gematria is more than random wordplay.

We are brought into this confusing, fascinating, infuriating world for such a short amount of time, and it’s our mission to accomplish what we can for the several decades we are allotted.

If one has only enough money to afford either a cup of wine for Shabbat kiddush or oil for his Hanukkah lamp, the mitzvah of Hanukkah takes precedence.

Originally published at Chabad.org. Chabad Lubavitch emissaries will begin arriving in New York next week from all parts of the world for the Kinus Hashluchim—the annual get-together of emissaries, their parents, friends and supporters, and a record number are expected to attend this year. Organizers have spent more than six months planning for the Chabad […]

The Torah they got “is a piece of art. It is one of the most beautiful Torahs anyone’s ever seen…”

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-professor-and-the-hot-dog/2013/10/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: