web analytics
May 29, 2015 / 11 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
What's happened to NYC's Celebrate Israel Parade?
Israel Rejects as ‘False’ UJA Federation’s Claims about Israel Parade ‘Inclusion’
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

What if someone would come to you and offer you everything that is desirable in this world, but with one condition: you have to give up your essence.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Torah learning is valueless unless it enhances personal morality, fostering closer connection to God

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Why did so many of our great sages from the Rambam to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein live outside Israel?

Daf-Yomi-logo

Casting A Doubt
‘Shall We Say [They] Are Not Valid?’
(Nedarim 5a-7a)

I was about six years old at the time and recall that very special occasion so well.

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 no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Why was Samson singled out as the only Shofet required to be a nazir from cradle to grave?

“What do you mean?” asked the secretary. “We already issued a ruling and closed the case.”

Tosafos suggests several answers as to how a minor can own an item, m’d’Oraisa.

This week’s video discusses the important connection between the Priestly Blessing and parenting.

Many of us simply don’t get the need for the Torah to list the exact same gift offering, 12 times!

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.

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

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.

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

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: