web analytics
April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
ISIS affiliates murdering Christian Africans in Libya
African Christians Slaughtered by ISIS-Affiliates
Latest Judaism Stories
Hertzberg-041715

Lincoln was not a perfect man. But he rose above his imperfections to do what he thought was right not matter the obstacles.

Arch of Titus

Adon Olam: An Erev Shabbat Musical Interlude Courtesy of David Herman

Daf-Yomi-logo

Oh My, It’s Copper!
‘…And One Who Is A Coppersmith’
(Kethubboth 77a)

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The omer sacrifice of loose barley flour was more fitting for animal consumption than human consumption and symbolizes the depths to which the Jewish slaves had sunk.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Kashrut reminds us that in the end, God is the arbiter of right and wrong.

In a cab with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & Rav Elayshiv discussing if/when to say tefillas haderech

The successful student listens more than speaks out; wants his ideas critiqued, not just appreciated

Why would it not be sufficient to simply state lehoros from which we derive that in such a state one may not issue any psak?

What do we learn about overcoming loss from the argument between Moses and Aaron’s remaining 2 sons?

Each of the unique roles attributed to Moshe share the common theme that they require of and grant higher sanctity to the individual filling the role.

Because of the way the piece of my finger had been severed, the doctors at the hospital were not able to reattach it. They told me I’d have to see a specialist.

“The problem is that the sum total is listed is $17,000. However, when you add the sums mentioned, it is clear that the total of $17,000 is an error. Thus, Mr. Broyer owes me $18,000, not $17,000.”

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: