Sunday, December 17th, 2017

The Rabbi Is Out
Zalman Velvel
When Heshy arrived at Bais Simcha, the doors were locked. There was a note taped to the front door:
“We had a last-minute emergency and we can’t be here for Shabbos.
 We’re very sorry.
  - Rabbi Levi.”
Heshy’s stomach began growling immediately. It was a prodigious stomach housed in a massive belly, supported by his 300 pound frame. All day, the forty-five year old man had imagined sitting at the kiddish that Rabbi Levi and his Rebbetzin, Rebecca set out on Friday night after services in their home that was behind the synagogue, the only Orthodox synagogue in Sunshine, Florida, a little town west of Miami.
In his mind, he pictured the fresh baked Challah, still warm from the oven, followed by chicken soup with the perfect matzah balls, not too heavy and not too soft. Then there was the homemade gfilte fish, tangy and supple, not like the tasteless factory concoctions that came from jars. The main course, what a main course, was baked lemon-pepper chicken and juicy sliced roast beef, with 3 kinds of vegetables and two salads. It was a main course fit for a Kohane Gadole.
The deserts, oh the deserts! They would win a Nobel prize in the culinary arts, with the ice cream Sundays topped with chocolate, the exquisite soft chewy cookies, the spicy-sweet cinnamon cakes, and the fruit pies with rich crusts, all created without milk, but tasting creamier and sweeter than those that are.
While Heshy was standing there, his handkerchief wiping the drool from his lips, Yussie Yablonski peddled up on his rusty bicycle, with his old black Lab, Missy. Missy was trotting behind him, her tongue hanging out, tied with a long rope knotted under the bicycle seat. Fifty-five year old Yussie was wearing one of his thread-bare checkered jackets above striped pants, sporting the colors of purple, green, and orange.  
He dismounted, put down the kickstand, then kneeled and untied the rope. He brought Missy over to the oak tree in the parking lot, wrapped the rope around the trunk, and Missy laid down and promptly went to sleep.
Yussie walked up to Heshy and nodded a silent hello. He then tried the door. He shook it in and out, and then shook it again. He was on his third shake when Heshy interrupted him:
“It’s locked,” Heshy said, sadly.
“Locked? What do you mean it’s locked?” Yussie asked.
“Read the note.”
“I can’t, Heshy. I don’t have my glasses.”
“The Rabbi had an emergency. He’s not going to be here for Shabbos.”
“What? Not be here? How can that be? That Rabbi is always here on Shabbos.”
“Well, this Shabbos he’s not going to be here.”
“But it’s his JOB to be here on Shabbos! I’m always at my job. Why is the Rabbi not at his job!
© Copyright 2012 by Zalman Velvel Inc.
You may print this story for yourself, but not make copies without author's permission.

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