Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The View


They tell this tale

About my Rebs

I don’t know if it’s true

But one thing I do know for sure

It’s not told about you


It was a cold Chicago night

Back in ‘51

And cold is underrating it

T’was minus twenty-one


But somewhere in a ballroom

In a luxury hotel

You would not think it’s freezing cold

In fact, you could not tell


That night, they braved the snow and ice

And frigid winds that rage

Some were rich and some were poor

And varying in age


Despite the frigid temperature

The ballroom, it was packed

With poor men and philanthropists

Who for them nothing lacked


They arrived in fancy cars

And some were chauffer driven

That their wives came dressed in fur

Of course that was a given


Others came by city bus

Bundled for the cold

Some were young Americans

And others very old


Indeed, they all were Jewish

I think that has been said

You would not know from looking

No yarmulkas on head


Indeed their heads uncovered

And so much else was bare

A gathering of hundreds

But why were they all there?


The people waited for the speech

But not one Torah vort

The man on stage, about to speak

Was bald, and stout and short


It was a time in history

A few years past the gale

In Palestine they made a state

But it was weak and frail


That night they came to buy their bonds

Each and every one

And gracing their gala event

There was Ben Gurion


They came to buy Israeli bonds

Contribute to the nation

And each one there called out his pledge

Without a hesitation


And somewhere in a corner Rebs

A very holy Jew

Hiding in a coatroom

Obscured from their whole view


Still inside his overcoat

He hoped no one would see

His teary eyes were watching

The scene so carefully


He thought that no one saw him

He stayed, quite out of sight

He came to see

But not be seen

On that cold Chicago night


And suddenly he heard a voice

From a man whose son he taught

Rabbi! Watcha doing here?

The tzaddik! He was caught


The man was shocked to see him

“You did not come for fun!

And surely not for chazer treif!

Nor for Ben Gurion!”


Rebbi nodded slowly

Of course the man was right

He did not come to give respect

On that cold Chicago night


“I’ll tell you why I came here

And what I came to see

It’s not like all those who are here

With whom I disagree


“I did, however, come to see

How Yidden young and old

Came to give up of themselves

Despite the bitter cold


“I came to see my fellow Jews

Whose stories each can tell

Despite how far they are removed

Love Eretz Yisroel


“They may not know the Torah

Or observe any laws

Despite that somehow they all came

For some unifying cause


“And that is what I came to see

Despite the lives they live

The children of our avos

And how they love to give”


And with those words

My rebbi left

He told the man goodbye

And one last look

Is what he took

And then began to cry




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