He was a short man, less than five and half feet tall, with brown eyes that darted about like a bird. He was thin, bald, heavily wrinkled, and in his late eighties. He wore the same second-hand suit for twelve years, a brown pinstripe with no tie. When he walked, he moved slowly, helped by a cane. His hands were big for a man his size, and heavily calloused, the hands of a man that was powerful in his youth.
He came to services at Bais Simcha every Saturday morning, each time the same way. He arrived ten minutes after everyone, entered from the back door, and sat in the last seat in the last row of the shul by himself. He prayed quietly, without a prayer siddur, and then left ten minutes before the service was over, through the same back door. The whole time, he talked to no one.
Members of the congregation asked about him, from time to time, and each time, Rabbi Levi answered the same way:
“His name is Sam Spiegel. He lives at The Gardens Senior Court around the corner. More than that, I do not know.”
Rabbi Levi had two cell phones charging on his night table. When the one with the special private number started vibrating, it wrenched him out of a deep sleep. He opened it and listened.
“Someone is asking for you,” said Dr. Ben Shwartz.
“What time is it?” Rabbi Levi whispered.
“He says his name is Sam Spiegel.”
“Can’t it wait?”
“Sure. You and I, we can wait … but God, well, I can’t speak for Him.”
“Okay, I get the hint. Where are you?”
“The Health Center. Room 180.”
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© Copyright 2012 by Zalman Velvel Inc.
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