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Volume 20, No. 8, #144 - click here

 
 CD's:
     Kivi & Tuki's Greatest Hits
 Publisher's Letter:
     Message From The Publisher
 Let's Shmooze:
     Let's Shmooze
 Inspiration:
     An Email From Hashem
     How Much Land Does a Man Need?
 Sound Off:
     Cold Drugs Hospitalize Kids
 Torah:
     Ban Banning
     Taking a Lesson From a Fish
     Watch What You Say
     Amazing Visit to Touro Shul
 Cover Story:
     Dovid Stein
 Timeline:
     Choices, Choices
 Israel:
     Three Stories
 Health & Advice:
     Beating a Bully at His Own Game
     Stress - A Huge Waist
     I Am Yossel's Body
 Humor:
     Jews and Global Warming
     The Purim Theme
     Can't You Just Plotz
     Purimania
     Jewish Music Scene
     National Yenta Page 1
     National Yenta Page 2
     National Yenta Page 3
Article Map for this issue
 
March 2008 • Adar 5768 Volume 20, No. 8, #144
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Monkeying Around
Dear Country Yossi,
I’m a newlywed kollel yungerman looking to make a couple of dollars with my chasuna money. I was thinking of investing in the stock market! Only problem is, I don’t understand exactly how it works. Is my money safe? Since you’re a pretty smart guy, could you please explain it to me? We value your opinion.
Financially Naive

Dear FN,
Woe to you if you’re investing all your money based on my financial expertise. I still can’t balance my checkbook! However, this story might help you understand how it works!
Once upon a time in a village, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each. The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest, and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10, but as the supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their efforts. The man then announced that he would now buy at $20. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again.
Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce that it was an effort to even see a monkey, let alone catch one!
The man then announced that he would buy monkeys at $50! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy on his behalf.
In the absence of the man, the assistant said to the villagers, “Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at $35 each and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for $50 each.”
The villagers showed up with all their savings and bought back all the monkeys.
Then they never saw the man or his assistant again… only monkeys everywhere!
Now, I hope, you have a better understanding of how the stock market works.
CY


Ich Dank Dir
Dear Country Yossi,
Ich vil zeyr much to thank dir far der naye site! Here in der Creedmoorer byse medrash we is allowed internet far part fin inzere therapy and always ich bin geven a fen fin dir. Maybe you iz wantink to rekord from myne niggunim? We ken take Lipa Schmeltzherrink out from bizness you and me suzamin.
(Yes, this is the real Creedmoor Chronicler, and if you don’t know who I am it is OK, but if you do, then thank you for the great new site because I really am no longer in the U.S. and I can’t get your magazine here in Ukraine. Yasher koiach!)
C.C.
Ukraine

Dear C.C.,
Sure you can. It’s available at Menachem Mendel’s Chulent Kiosk in Gorky Park. Ask for it!
CY


Deleted
Dear Country Yossi,
START EACH DAY WITH A POSITIVE OUTLOOK:
1.    Create a new file folder on your computer.
2.    Name it Hillary Rodham Clinton.
3.    Drag it to the recycle bin.
4.    Empty the recycle bin.
5.    Your PC will ask you, ‘Do you really want to get rid of Hillary Clinton?’
6.    Firmly Click ‘Yes.’
7.    Feel better instantly.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that work to make your day!
Received via email

Dear emailer,
I hit a new file folder for Barack Obama too. Now I feel twice as good!
CY


A Part of My Life
Dear Country Yossi,
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a g-dsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on. Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never known. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season. LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant. Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime. You are one of them.
ME
SI

Dear ME,
Thanks, I am truly touched.
CY


Tips for Pumping Gas

Dear Country Yossi,
I don’t know what you guys are paying for gasoline, but here in California it’s very high, up to $3.50 per gallon. But my line of work is in petroleum for about 31 years now, so here are some tricks for you to get more of your money’s worth for every gallon.
Here at the Kinder Morgan Pipeline where I work in San Jose, CA we deliver about 4 million gallons in a 24-hour period thru the pipeline. One day is diesel, the next day is jet fuel and gasoline, regular and premium grades. We have 34 storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 gallons.
Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground, the more dense the gasoline. When it gets warmer, gasoline expands, so if you buy in the afternoon or in the evening, your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role. A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.
When you’re filling up, do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode, you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank, so you’re getting less for your money.
One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL. The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank, the less air is occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation. Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every gallon is actually the exact amount.
Another reminder: If there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up - most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.
Hope this will help you get the most value for your money.
Bottom Line: Fill up in the morning, in the slow mode, when your tank is half full - but not when the tankers are filling the storage tanks.
Received via email

Daughters of the King
Dear County Yossi,
Here is my response to Rochelle Jacobs, who was appalled at my previous letter, “Daughters of the King.”
There was a spate of incidents this past summer in which girls, teens and adult women were accosted and physically abused. That is a clarion wake up call from Hashem. We must be doing something very wrong. Nothing happens in a vacuum, or by ‘chance.’
Was Hashem’s message that we need to watch our daughters 24/7? Highly unlikely. Even the 4 year old who was abducted was playing right in front of her own home. And the teen-aged girl who went out erev Shabbos at noon to do some shopping for her mother; did she need to be accompanied by her mother? And what about the two married women? Do you think Hashem required that their mothers accompany them, too?
Yes, there are deranged people out there. When Hashem wants to send us a message, He does so through the appropriate messengers. He would hardly have sent this message through the Godol Hador, now would He? Of course His messengers for such a message were, of necessity, low-lifes!
But it would be totally inappropriate to blame the victims. And yes, Hashem does choose the most innocent and pure, precisely to get our attention. And woe to us if we don’t heed the message, and bury our collective heads in the sand! The warnings can only get more explicit, R’l!
I have been called many things in my time, but ignorant is not one of them. I am a highly educated teacher, teaching in both the secular and limudai kodesh departments of a prominent Bais Yaakov, and a grandmother many times over (kain yirbu).
Rochelle, you would do well to examine, inside yourself, what made my letter feel so threatening to you.
Daughter of the King

A Cup of Hot Chocolate
Dear Country Yossi,
A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives.
Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.
When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said:
“Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you’re drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive, and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups - And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.
Now consider this:
Life is the hot chocolate. Your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate G-d has provided us. G-d makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups.
The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate.
Received via email

Dear Emailer,
Thanks, and please pass me another cup.
CY


Newly Launched Site
Dear Country Yossi,
Mazel Tov on the launch of your brand new website! Now I don’t have to make “Aliyah” to Brooklyn to read the Country Yossi Magazine!
Received via email

Dear Emailer,
We’ll miss ya!
CY


Almost Scammed
Dear Country Yossi,
Everyone, this is real - it really happened to me. I still have to finish it in the morning with the real Saks Fraud Department that is currently closed, but BEWARE!
This happened to me over the last 5 days, so I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that no one will fall prey to the crazy scam artists out there. Erev Shabbos I received a call from the “Saks Fifth Avenue Fraud Department” telling me that they suspect I am the victim of a stolen ID, and that someone has ordered close to $5000 worth of merchandise online using my credit card. They said that they couldn’t disclose the name of the person or his/her exact address, but they gave me some unrecognizable street name and the last four digits of a phone number associated with the purchases. They told me that they were sorry but federal law prohibits them from giving me all the information lest I might pursue the person without letting the “proper authorities” do so in the legal manner. They told me that they needed me to immediately fax them an affidavit indicating that I did not make the purchases. Well - this was about 5 minutes before licht benching, and my husband had just called to tell me that he was too far away from the house to make it home in time for Shabbos. (He had an emergency and had to go to a hospital on the West Side.) He said he wasn’t exactly sure when or how he was coming home, but that he was abandoning the car and would be home as soon as he could. Of course, this was also the Friday that was 20 below zero, and I was crazed thinking he had no gloves, no hat, no nothing. So I told the lady from the ‘Fraud Department’ that the charges were unauthorized. She assured me that I would not be responsible for them, as long as I faxed in the affidavit right away. I hung up on the lady and said “Sorry, cancel my credit card and call me next week!”
I then went to New York for a chasuna, and sort of forgot about the whole thing until she called me again today to remind me that I have to fill out and return by fax the affidavit that she was faxing, along with a police report. I was to tell the police to call Saks, and they were fully prepared to cooperate with the authorities. I was busy the whole evening, so it wasn’t until now that I sat down to look at the affidavit with a clear head, and began filling it out. Looking it over, it struck me as quite odd - it said only Saks Fifth Avenue with an address on it. No logo, just a typewritten name and address. There were lots of questions about all my personal information - name, address, phone, and of course my social security number. And of course, the name of the person who’d called me was there, her number was signed at the bottom of the letter, along with a fax number I was supposed to use to fax the document back.
Well - I gotta tell you - the whole page just struck me as odd. Why would they ask for information they should have? I called Saks and asked them for their Fraud Department number, and it was different than the one on the letter. I showed the letter to my husband and asked him if something looked odd to him. On first glance he said no, but when I pointed out the fact that there was no Saks logo, and other things that I thought were strange, he also said “Well, maybe you are onto something.” So I called the police and they assured me that I am 100% correct and I should absolutely not fax anything. It was definitely a scam. I then checked my account online, and lo and behold - no charges.
Of course, I have this eerie feeling because someone has my account information - a lot of it. But Baruch Hashem my husband called when he did to say he was gonna be late and I should just bench licht and daven. The timing was real hashgocha. Had he not called, I might have run and quickly given her the information so that no further charges could be made.
Received via email

They Won’t Go Quietly
Dear Country Yossi,
There is a lot of worry popping up in the media just now - ‘Can Israel Survive?’ Don’t worry about it. It relates to something that Palestinians, the Arabs, and perhaps most Americans don’t realize - the Jews are never going quietly again. Never. And if the world doesn’t come to understand that, then millions of Arabs are going to die. It’s as simple as that.
Throughout the history of the world, the most abused, kicked-around race of people has been the Jews. Not just during the holocaust of World War II, but for thousands of years. They have truly been ‘The Chosen People’ in a terrible and tragic sense.
The Bible story of Egypt’s enslavement of the Jews is not just a story, it is history. In 70 A.D. the Romans, which had for a long time tolerated the Jews - even admired them as ‘superior’ to other vassals - tired of their truculent demands for independence and decided on an early ‘solution’ to the Jewish problem. Jerusalem was sacked and reduced to near rubble, Jewish resistance was pursued and crushed by the implacable Roman War Machine - see ‘Masada.’ And thus began The Diaspora, the dispersal of Jews throughout the rest of the world.
Their homeland destroyed, their culture crushed, they looked desperately for the few niches in a hostile world where they could be safe. That safety was fragile, and often subject to the whims of moody hosts. The words ‘pogrom,’ ‘ghetto,’ and ‘anti-Semitism’ come from this treatment of the first mono-theistic people. Throughout Europe, changing times meant sometimes tolerance, sometimes even warmth for the Jews, but eventually it meant hostility, then malevolence. There is not a country in Europe or Western Asia that at one time or another has not decided to lash out against the children of Moses, sometimes by whim, sometimes by manipulation.
Winston Churchill calls Edward I one of England’s very greatest kings. It was under his rule in the late 1200’s that Wales and Cornwall were hammered into the British crown, and Scotland and Ireland were invaded and occupied. He was also the first European monarch to set up a really effective administrative bureaucracy, surveyed and censused his kingdom, established laws and political divisions. But he also embraced the Jews.
Actually Edward didn’t embrace Jews so much as he embraced their money. For the English Jews had acquired wealth - understandable, because this people that could not own land or office, could not join most of the trades and professions, soon found out that money was a very good thing to accumulate. Much harder to take away than land or a store, was a hidden sock of gold and silver coins. Ever resourceful, Edward found a way - he borrowed money from the Jews to finance imperial ambitions in Europe, especially France. The loans were almost certainly not made gladly, but how do you refuse your King? Especially when he is ‘Edward the Hammer.’ Then, rather than pay back the debt, Edward simply expelled the Jews. Edward was especially inventive - he did this twice. After a time, he invited the Jews back to their English homeland, borrowed more money, then expelled them again.
Most people do not know that Spain was one of the early entrants into The Renaissance. People from all over the world came to Spain in the late medieval period. All were welcome - Arabs, Jews, other Europeans. The University of Salamanca was one of the great centers of learning in the world - scholars of all nations, all fields came to Salamanca to share their knowledge and their ideas. But in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella, having driven the last of Moors from the Spanish Shield, were persuaded by the righteous fundamentalists of the time to announce ‘The Act of Purification.’ A series of steps were taken in which all Jews and Arabs and other non-Christians were expelled from the country, or would face the tools and the torches of The Inquisition. From this ‘cleansing’ come the Sephardic Jews - as opposed to the Ashkenazis of Eastern Europe. In Eastern Europe, the sporadic violence and brutality against Jews are common knowledge. ‘Fiddler’ without the music and the folksy humor. At times of fury, no accommodation by the Jew was good enough, no profile low enough, no village poor enough or distant enough.
From these come the near-steady flow of Jews to the United States. And despite the disdain of the Jews by most ‘American’ Americans, they came to grab the American Dream with both hands, and contributed everything from new ideas of enterprise in retail and entertainment to becoming some of our finest physicians and lawyers. The modern United States, in spite of itself, IS the United States in part because of its Jewish blood.
Then the Nazi Holocaust - the corralling, sorting, orderly eradication of millions of the people of Moses. Not something that other realms in other times didn’t try to do, by the way, the Germans were just more organized and had better murder technology.
I stood in the center of Dachau for an entire day, about 15 years ago, trying to comprehend how this could have happened. I had gone there on a side trip from Munich, vaguely curious about this Dachau. I soon became engulfed in the enormity of what had occurred there, nestled in this middle and working class neighborhood.
How could human beings do this to other human beings, hear their cries, their pleas, their terror, their pain, and continue without apparently even wincing? I no longer wonder. At some times, some places, ANY sect of the human race is capable of horrors against their fellow man, whether a member of the Waffen SS, a Serbian sniper, a Turkish policeman in 1920’s Armenia, a Mississippi Klansman. Because even in the United States not all was a Rose Garden. For a long time Jews had quotas in our universities and graduate schools. Only so many Jews could be in a medical or law school at one time. Jews were disparaged widely. I remember as a kid Jewish jokes told without a wince - ‘Why do Jews have such big noses?’
Well, now the Jews have a homeland again. A place that is theirs. And that’s the point. It doesn’t matter how many times the United States and European powers try to rein in Israel, if it comes down to survival of its nation, its people, they will fight like no lioness has ever fought to save her cubs. They will fight with a ferocity, a determination, and a skill, that will astound us.
And many will die, mostly their attackers, I believe. If there were a macabre historical betting parlor, my money would be on the Israelis to be standing at the end. As we killed the kamikazes and the Wehrmacht soldaten of World War II, so will the Israelis kill their suicidal attackers, until there are not enough to torment them.
The irony goes unnoticed - while we are hammering away to punish those who brought the horrors of September 11 here, we restrain the Israelis from the same retaliation. Not the same thing, of course - We are We, They are They. While we mourn and seethe at September 11th, we don’t notice that Israel has a September 11th sometimes every day.
We may not notice, but it doesn’t make any difference. And it doesn’t make any difference whether you are pro-Israeli or you think Israel is the bully of the Middle East. If it comes to where a new holocaust looms - with or without the concurrence of the United States and Europe - Israel will lash out without pause or restraint at those who would try to annihilate their country.
The Jews will not go quietly again.
Received via email

Time is Money
Dear Country Yossi,
There are many English sayings that are not correct according to the Torah. However, since we live in a goyishe society, we too are sucked into using these popular sayings. Instead of “Time is Money,” it should be “Time is Mitzvos.” With every moment of life, we have the opportunity to do more mitzvos. Once a mitzvah is done, it is yours forever. Money, on the other hand, does not stay with you. One day you have it, and the next day it could be gone. Isn’t it a pity how we spend so much time in college and then work endless hours, only to see our earnings drift away on some unforeseen expense, or get stolen by thieves, or taken by our children. What is left for us at the end is useless anyway. It just goes to show how strong the yetzer hora is when it comes to using our time. That a mature person can be silly enough to spend a lifetime accumulating wealth, when instead more worthwhile things should occupy his/her time! The charge cards in Olam Haba only accept accounts that are filled with Torah, chesed, prayer, etc. We see this trend especially by children, who find time to do everything else instead of caring for their parents. The mitzvah of kibud av v’aim gets pushed to the side and the child loses this fleeting opportunity for long life. All it takes is to be there for the parent when necessary. Let us use our time wisely, as the famous Country Yossi song goes: “Tick tock, tick tock, time is passing by…”
R.L
Flatbush

Dear R.L.,
Your taste in music is impeccable.
CY

A Kasha Varnishkes People
Dear Country Yossi,
Thanks, Country Yossi, for the challenge you presented in the December 2007 issue. You asked what we could learn from kasha varnishkes. So here goes. If you have ever tried to eat kasha alone or varnishkes (noodles) alone, you would agree that either one tastes too plain. But put them together and your tongue comes alive, your lips go mmm… mmm… and your stomach says “Thank You!” This is a very important lesson in life. People are very different from each other and it is that fact about people that creates interesting results. When you combine them in marriage or as a community, they blend well! The trouble arises when people don’t accept the opinions of others and stubbornly try to force their ideas on others. We must understand the advantages of having a kasha varnishkes attitude. That means that I am good and you are good, and together we are great! Maybe it was that attitude that so impressed Hashem when we said “Naaseh v’Nishma.” We were saying that together we will do and hear. We accepted all other people to be grouped along with us as one, because we realized that the combination of us all together will bring about a nation whose total sum is greater than all its parts. Just like kasha varnishkes. Did you ever taste a kasha knish? It’s okay, but nothing to write home about. Did you ever taste plain noodles, even with ketchup or cottage cheese? It’s okay, but nothing to go to the takeout store for. However, kasha varnishkes - everyone writes home about and goes to the store to get! My biggest ‘kasha’ is why they don’t make kasha varnishkes knishes: a definite hit for a kasha varnishkes people.
D.F.
Boro Park

Dear D.F.,
Great! Now let’s try another one. What can we learn from p’tcha?
CY


Cell Phone Dangers
Dear Country Yossi,
Cell phones have won the war without firing a shot. We have become their robots and their slaves. Can we take back our lives? I don’t know. But I hope we try. The first step is to take a look at what we are ready to do for the C.P. (cell phone.) Beginning with the worst crime which pollutes the environment, the C.P. gives us the ability to speak loshon hora more often, because when someone does something wrong, you can instantly spread word about that bad deed to others before you have time to talk yourself out of speaking loshon hora. Secondly, the C.P. commands us to answer it while driving. Even with hands-free equipment, our concentration is lost from the road - and that is unacceptable. Thirdly, the ringing cell phones interrupt davening, funerals, lectures and other important activities. Fourthly, it drains us by always being reachable. I have noticed how people are constantly in a panic, dreading the fact that the C.P. is about to ring. That must wreak havoc on the nerves. Fifthly, if all the extra money spent on cell phone bills were used for tzedakah, we would have accumulated a lot of zechusim our people desperately need. So my suggestion is that unless you are a doctor or a really, really important businessman, you should get rid of the C.P. Trade in your C.P. for a C.D.P. (cd player) and relax with some Country Yossi music or a Rabbi Weiss lecture. The messages on your home phone will just have to wait until you’re ready. Now YOU’RE the boss again.
P.N.
Five Towns

The Book Selection Section
Dear Country Yossi,
Thank you for your informative and entertaining magazine. There is one feature that deserves extra credit. That is the book review section. This is a useful service for the public, guiding the readers in their decisions for the books they wish to purchase.
The book excerpts will either whet an appetite for a new book, or inform the reader that it isn’t for him/her.
Reading interesting pieces from a selection of the latest new books is fun, even if one has no intention of buying the book.
Thank you for this special literary pleasure.
Mrs. K. Brieger
Boro Park

Shabbos Coffee Maker
Dear Country Yossi,
I heard a story this past Shabbos and I found it very interesting, and inspiring.
My husband came home from shul on Shabbos morning and seemed preoccupied. He told me the following story:
There is an old man in shul, Mr. G. Mr. G. has been in the shul for nearly 50 years. He is retired now, and is the first one to unlock the doors in the morning, and the last one out after ma’ariv. On Shabbos he makes the coffee and sets out cake for the daf after the hashkomo minyan, and before Yom Tov he dusts the shelves and sets out the machzorim. Mr. G. has outlasted four ravs of the shul, and is a walking encyclopedia of minhagim (the shul has Litvishe roots but with some Chasidishe minhagim based on the founders’ home towns in Europe). He can be seen in the shul at any hour of the day, saying Tehillim or learning Mishnayos, or reviewing the sedrah ‘just in case’ the ba’al koreh is sick.
The shul has a new rav who came to the kitchen a few Shabbosim ago and asked Mr. G. to modify the way he makes the instant coffee on Shabbos. We have had a daf shiur for 30 years; Mr. G. explained to the rav that in three decades the way he handles the hot water and coffee has never been questioned. The rav explained that certainly there are dei’os that hold it is OK, but that he wants to abide by chumros that may be of a minority opinion, but ensure that anyone can drink.
So, last Shabbos in shul, Mr. G. began making coffee the new way. A younger man who assists Mr. G. wrinkled his nose and shrugged, and made a comment to the effect that a new young rabbi ought not to change the way things are done. And this is the inspiring part:
Mr. G. stopped and looked at the young man (my husband saw this) and said, “Dovid, I have been making coffee at this shul for 40 years, and 30 years every Shabbos for the daf. No one has ever questioned by abilities in a Shabbos kitchen, and meshulochim by the bus load have eaten in my house. But, the morah d’asra of the shul is the morah d’asra - we hired him to lead us. And if he tells me to switch the way I make coffee, then I change the way I make coffee. And if he asked me to make coffee while standing on one foot, well, then I would do that, too. Because kavod ha’rav is kavod ha’rav, and a morah d’asra is a mora d’asra. And if at 85 years old I listen to a 30 year old rav, then I guess you can, too.”
My husband said the coffee last Shabbos was the best he’s ever had!
Reprinted with permission from
www.yeshivaworld.com

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