web analytics
November 22, 2014 / 29 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



With Gun Pointed, I Became A Rabbi


Lessons-logo

Reading further, I was deeply moved that the time had finally come for Yosef to reveal his true identity to his brothers. I read, “Now Yosef could not restrain himself…” Then, “He cried in a loud voice.” And then my eyes saw the much-anticipated words: “I am Yosef. Is my father still alive?”

At that exact moment of Yosef’s truthful words, I heard loud noises from downstairs in the shul. They were footsteps and voices, both of them coming closer to me. It didn’t make sense. It was 11:30 p.m. If it was my roommate coming back at this hour, he would more than likely be coming home alone – certainly not with a group making such loud noises.

The footsteps were getting closer, the voices were getting louder, and my fear was increasing. Then a wonderful thing happened. I told myself, “Stay calm. Whatever’s going to happen is going to turn out better if you stay calm.” The best part: I listened to myself.

I stared at the door as it opened. I stared at the cylinder that came through the door. I saw the shock of blue coming in.

I saw a gun pointed at me and heard the policeman, with three other policemen behind him, ask in an agitated way, “Are you the rabbi?”

With great emotion, I responded, “Yes, I am!”

I figured it was what they wanted to hear.

Then all four policemen plopped down on the sofa and chairs and let out immense sighs of relief. I realized that they had come up the same dark stairs, with the same creaky floorboards.

The first policeman I had encountered said, “We had gotten a call that an intruder had been trying all the doors and had finally gotten in.”

That clearly explained their relief. They had been expecting a prowler and instead got the rabbi.

But I wasn’t the rabbi, and I knew I had to inform them of that fact. But first I reserved a moment to reflect on the rich irony. Just when I’m reading about Yosef’s revelation of truth to his brothers, I, one who so values honesty, lie about who I truly am. But I figured that as worked up as the policemen were, telling them a lie was the best thing I could have done.

“I’m not really the rabbi,” I said to them. Whatever calm they were experiencing regressed quickly into a suspicion that something was very wrong here. So I told them the truth of what was going on, including the details of which door to use when entering the building and that I ate dinner out.

One of the policeman then said, “Call the people you were at to verify your story.”

“They could be called,” I said, “but they’re not going to answer the phone. It’s the Sabbath.”

This seemed to anger them, and one of the policemen severely criticized me for leaving one door of the synagogue open. I explained that it was my roommate’s idea and that since it was his apartment, I followed his instructions.

Another policeman read the riot act to me, basically saying that he didn’t like what had happened. He added in a very strong tone, “We’re going to be leaving now. Tell your roommate never to do this again!” I agreed to do so.

Making a move to leave the apartment, the lead policeman stopped, as if he had another thought.

“Maybe we should work him over just to teach him a lesson,” he said, smiling. I was hoping that he was just kidding.

The second policeman said, “I’ll hold him and you could get some good punches in.”

And the third policeman said, “It would serve him right.”

They were heading out the door and I figured this whole unexpected encounter was about to end.

But more of the unexpected was yet to come. Just as the last policeman was about to walk out, he said to his colleagues, “My mother’s never going to believe that I went to shul on a Friday night.”

Thanks to Hashem, I had remained calm at the key moment – and even did some kiruv work to boot!

About the Author:


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 “With Gun Pointed, I Became A Rabbi”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colleagues of the hanged Arab bus driver whose death continues to be referred to as murder despite autopsy finding of suicide. These are Arab drivers of Egged buses, claiming they suffer discrimination by Israelis.
Arab Pathologist Singing New Tune: Murder (By Jews) Not Suicide
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Alan Magill
Lessons-Emunah-logo

The simple act of kindness should be the reward itself. Anything more in the form of a reward is gravy.

Lessons-logo

Patience seems to be in such short supply these days, yet it can make a world of difference. This is particularly so in certain kinds of stressful situations whereby we think we only have time to act in a knee-jerk way instead of acting thoughtfully.

I recently heard a Pirkei Avos shiur in which the speaker said that our spiritual DNA derives from our patriarchs and matriarchs. The great tests they withstood and for which they gained ever greater prominence was witnessed by the Jews who followed them, many of whom succeeded in overcoming great challenges as well. It seems that an individual’s great effort helps the spiritual strength kick in.

The first and only time I said I was a rabbi was also the first and only time I had a gun pointed at me. What led me to that moment was my need to stay on the Upper West Side for a Shabbos and a hospitality committee that arranged for me to stay with a man who lived in the former janitor’s apartment on the fifth floor of a synagogue.

It is very important for Jews to first help family, then other Jews close to us, then Jews not as close. Next, if possible and appropriate, Jews should help those of any race or creed.

The five-year-old boy was in a church in Puerto Rico with his parents. As they and his grandparents were Catholics, that made him Catholic – as far as his young mind could figure.

I was preparing a shiur to honor the memory of my father, Paul Magill, a”h, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, and I was looking at that week’s sedrah, Parshas Re’eh. I was struck by the words, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gods of others, that you did not know.”

Feeling more alone than at any time since arriving in New York, I looked inside myself for anything that could anchor me to bring me back to who I was, to move away from illusions of romance to my central sticking point. Suddenly and unexpectedly, being a Jew meant more to me than anything else in the world.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/with-gun-pointed-i-became-a-rabbi/2013/02/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: