web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


The Rabbi’s Seat

Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha

Many years ago, I was offered two rabbinical positions. One was to serve as assistant rabbi at a prominent congregation in Manhattan. The other was to start a new Orthodox congregation in West Orange, New Jersey.

I was told that the board of directors of the New York congregation had already approved my candidacy, and I was requested to meet with the senior rabbi. I met with him, and the meeting went well. At the conclusion of the meeting the rabbi broached the question as to the proper seat for the assistant rabbi in the synagogue. He pointed to a special seat, cordoned off with a velvet rope, in the front of the shul.

“This seat,” he said, “belonged to a previous rabbi of the congregation who was truly beloved by all. Since this rabbi passed away, no one has sat in this special seat. Yet, there is no reason why not. It’s a wonderful seat and you, Rabbi Cohen, you merit such a distinguished seat on Shabbat.”

I thanked him and left.

When I came home, my wife, full of joy, greeted me and informed me that the rabbi called and extended mazel tov on our new position. To her surprise, I told her that I would not under any circumstances accept that position.

“Could you imagine,” I said, “what would happen if I came to shul, removed the velvet cord, and sat in that seat on Shabbat? A seat relegated to the honor and memory of a wonderful rav? I would be lynched by the congregation. People would deem it the height of chutzpah that I would even dream of sitting in that reserved special area. The rabbi must have been annoyed that the board appointed me to serve as assistant rabbi. Suggesting that I sit in this seat was his way of displaying his displeasure. No, this shul is not a healthy place for us. We don’t need to start our life with aggravation.”

So, I accepted the other offer and moved to West Orange. Today, West Orange is a thriving, dynamic Orthodox community. But not when we moved there. At that time our shul had 20 families. Today it is a thriving major Modern Orthodox shul. What a rabbi’s seat can accomplish…

About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.


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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Rabbi’s Seat”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Ben & Jerry's new flavor: Bernie Sanders
Ben & Jerry’s Launches New Flavor: Bernie Sanders
Latest Judaism Stories
Leff-052215

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Staum-052215

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

Torah

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

So if we basically live the same life, why should he get eternal reward and not me?”

The question is: What about pidyon haben? Can one give the five sela’im required for pidyon haben to a kohen’s daughter?

In Parshas Pinchas the Torah introduces the Mussaf for Shavuos by describing it as Yom HaBikurim when we bring the new offering.

Rachel was thrown by the sight and began to caringly think whom this person might be.

The desert, with its unearthly silence & emptiness, is the condition in which the Word can be heard

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Why does the Torah use two different words for “to count,” and what does each indicate?

From Bemidbar on and in Nevi’im, the nation is viewed primarily by its component parts, the tribes

More Articles from Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Once this took place, no Beit Din could annul its practice but for an entirely different reason. A minhag accepted by klal Yisrael becomes an obligation that must be practiced.

Cohen-080814-Sign

Is God apologizing for taking away my Father? Is God telling me that He is sorry?

Question: At Birkat Kohanim, who says the phrase, “Am k’doshecha ka’amur”?

Question: How can one determine whether someone is a true disciple of a rav, Rebbe, or rosh yeshiva?

Question: Does halacha agree with the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade permitting women to have abortions?

Question: When someone puts on a talit to lead services, should he recite a berachah?

Question: A number of synagogues feature bar mitzvah celebrations for elderly Jews. Is this proper?

Hashem understood their complaint and therefore selected the ritual mitzvah of sukkah to test them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/the-rabbis-seat/2012/12/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: