Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Two Jews

Isaac Theil with passenger sleeping on his shoulder
Just when you think the Torah world is overwhelmed with Chilul HaShem, along comes 2 stories that make me proud to be a Jew. And indeed are a Kiddush HaShem.  And the fact that in both cases the heroes are observant makes me proud to be Orthodox. The hallmark of which is Mitzvah observance. I’d like to think that being an observant Jew produces these kinds of values. The fact is that this is what Judaism demands of us.

In one story published last week in Tablet Magazine, 65 year old Isaac Theil, an observant Jew (indicated by the Kipa on his head) was riding the train on his way home. The passenger next to him - a black man wearing a ‘hoodie’ -‘nodded off’ putting his head on Mr. Theil’s shoulder.

Mr. Theil did not budge allowing his fellow traveler to sleep undisturbed. Another passenger noticed this and offered to remove the man’s head from his sholder, Mr. Theil politely declined saying, “He must have had a long day, let him sleep. We’ve all been there, right?”

When Mr. Theil arrived at his stop, he gently removed the man’s head trying not to disturb his sleep. Before Mr. Theil got off the train the fellow passenger who asked if he would like to be helped took a quick photo of this. Which eventually went viral on the internet. It has gotten a million ‘likes’ on Facebook.

Mr. Theil thought nothing of what he did. Which is typical of people who are Baalei Chesed. But it is not typical, though it should be. By doing what he thought should come natural to all decent people he has created a Kiddush HaShem.  My hat is off to him. We sure could use a lot more Isaac Theils.

The second story was, published Sunday in New Haven, Connecticut's News 8 and today in the Forward.

Rabbi Noach Muroff 
How many people who happen upon a large sum of money in cash would return it to the owner despite the fact that they could keep it – knowing that the owner would never find out about it? Hopefully all of us would. It’s the right thing to do. It’s called being scrupulously honest. But few of us have ever been tested this way. Well one man was recently tested this way and he passed with flying colors. He did not hesitate to give it all back. Here’s what happened.

Rabbi Noach Muroff, a Rebbe in a Yeshiva, bought a desk for his home on Craig’s List for $200. In the course of trying to maneuver it into his house he discovered $98,000 in cash hidden in it He did not hesitate and returned the money immediately to the owner. From News 8: 
The original owner was speechless. "Oh my gosh, because I... oh my God," she said. The former owner had stuffed her inheritance in the desk and forgot where she put the money. 
That stunned reaction was followed by a handwritten note published on VIN.

Now that is a Kiddsuh HaShem. 
Which goes to show you that all is not lost in Orthodoxy. We need to learn lessons from these people. They teach with their behavior. And we should all be willing students.