Sunday, December 17th, 2017

The Goldberg Family Conversion Part 1
Knock Knock
Zalman Velvel

By one o' clock, Eliyahu had knocked on forty-six doors.
He knocked on doctor's offices, dentist’s offices, insurance offices, real estate offices, stockbroker's offices, even a veterinarian’s office. Every kind of office in downtown Sunshine, a little town east of Miami. While he knocked, he shvitzed, sweated, because on his twenty-two year old, six foot four inch frame, he was wearing a heavy black suit and a black hat, not exactly the coolest of attire on a 95 degree day with 98 percent humidity.
In front of him was the forty-seventh door, with a polished brass nameplate engraved with, "Aaron Goldberg, Attorney at Law". It was his first law office, and for the first time, he was worried. Can I get sued for knocking, he wondered. Was such a thing possible?
Eliyahu knocked anyway, taking this risk, and a man in his late forties, clean shaven, with sharp blue eyes, wearing a thousand dollar Brooks Brothers suit, answered.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Are there any Jewish people here?" Eliyahu stammered.
Then the door was slammed shut.
Normally, when a door was slammed in his face, Eliyahu would sigh, then shrug, and then proceed onto the next door. This time, he didn't feel like sighing and shrugging. There was something in the way the door at "Aaron Goldberg, Attorney at Law" was slammed in his face that got under his skin.
He knocked again.
The same man in the same expensive suit answered the door.
"What do you want now?!"
"I want to speak to Aaron Goldberg."
"You're speaking to him."
"Oh …"
"Oh what? Spit it out, I'm very busy."
"You would think, with a name like Aaron Goldberg, that you were Jewish."
"That's none of your business."
Again the door was slammed … and then locked.
Eliyahu began to mutter under his breath. He asked himself things like, "What did I do to deserve this? … and … “Why does the Lubavitcher Rebbe think it's so important to reach out to someone like Aaron Goldberg?” … and … “Why doesn't Rabbi Levi get someone else to help him to do outreach in this community? Sunshine, Florida is a spiritual desert."
When he ran out of self-pity, Eliyahu knocked again.
"Do you want me to call the Police?" Aaron Goldberg shouted from behind the door.
"No, sir."
"Then why do you keep knocking on my door?!"
"Because I'm looking for Jews to put on tfillin with, Mr. Goldberg."
Eliyahu raised two velvet tfillin bags to the peephole. There was silence, followed by a long period of heightened drama, culminating in Aaron Goldberg opening the door.
"Why in God's name do you to want to put on tfillin with me?" Aaron asked.
"Because it's a mitzvah."
"Are you crazy?"
"No. I'm a Rabbi."
The piercing blue eyes studied him.
"If you're a Rabbi, then where's your beard?"
"Ask God. He took it from me."
Eliyahu Jacoby did not have a hair on his face, or on top of his head either, but one could not see that below his the big hat. He also did not have a hair on his whole body, and one could not see that either under his heavy suit.
Aaron Goldberg stared at Eliyahu Jacoby again, then looked at his watch.
"I don't have time for this. I have both secretaries out sick with the flu, and I have to be in court in ten minutes. Some other time, Rabbi."
Once again, Eliyahu was looking at the outside of a door, but since it was not slammed in his face, he was able to sigh, shrug, and then walk away.
A week passed. Eliyahu knocked on another 200 or so doors, all with discouraging results. The most positive outcome he had was with Aaron Goldberg, because at least Aaron asked him questions like "Are you crazy?" and "Where's your beard?" and "Do you want me to call the Police?"
So Eliyahu, like a criminal returning to the scene of a crime, went once again to Aaron Goldberg's office and knocked. This time a middle-aged woman, with dark hair and reading glasses resting halfway down her nose,  answered the door.
"I'm here to see Mr. Goldberg," Eliyahu stated.
She nodded, escorted him into the office, past the waiting room,  and sat down behind her desk. "Whom should I say is here?" she asked as she picked up the office intercom.
"Rabbi Jacoby."
Before she punched the intercom button, she looked at Eliyahu. "Is Mr. Goldberg expecting you, Rabbi?"
This was a spiritual test. Eliyahu knew that any answer other than "Yes" would not get him an appointment, and any answer other than "No" was a lie. While Eliyahu was deciding on how to say no, but make it sound like a yes, Aaron Goldberg came out of an office in the back.
© Copyright 2012 by Zalman Velvel Inc.
You may print this story for yourself, but not make copies without author's permission.

Über den Author: stuv