web analytics
August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal in Gaza
Mashaal Vows Cease-Fire a Step to New ‘Resistance’ War against Israel
Latest Judaism Stories
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

Of paramount importance is that both the king and his people realize that while he is the leader, he is still a subject of God.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Untimely News
‘A Mourner Is Forbidden To Wear Shoes…’
(Mo’ed Katan 20b)

Questions-Answers-logo

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

When a person feels he can control the destiny of other people, he runs the risk of feeling self-important, significant, and mighty.

Needless to say, it was done and they formed a great relationship as his friend and mentor. He started attending services and volunteered his time all along putting on tefillin.

He took me to a room filled with computer equipment and said, “You pray here for as long as you want.” I couldn’t believe my ears.

On Friday afternoon, Dov called Kalman. “Please make sure to return the keys for the car on Motzaei Shabbos,” he said. “We have a bris on Sunday morning and we’re all going. We also need the roof luggage bag.”

On Chol HaMoed some work is prohibited and some is permitted. According to some opinions, the work prohibition is biblical; according to others, it’s rabbinical.

If there is a mitzvas minuy dayanim in the Diaspora, then why is there a difference between Israel and the Diaspora in the number of judges and their distribution?

Judaism is a religion of love but also a religion of justice, for without justice, love corrupts.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

Eisenhower understood that motivated men will fight much harder and longer than unmotivated men.

Who does not want to get close to Hashem? Yet, how do we do that?

More Articles from Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
Cohen-080814-Sign

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

Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

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.

Question: Why is Shavuot celebrated as a two-day Yom Tov?

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: