Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"I eat pork on Shabbat."

There is a rabbi in Israel, Yechezkel Sofer, who taught a Talmud class for
professors at Hebrew University. One particular professor, for years,
refused to come. One day the rabbi meets the professor and says to him,

"Why don't you join the class? Your colleagues come; it's in your building
right down the hall."

The professor responds, "Oh no, I don't belong in the class. We have nothing
in common."

The rabbi says, "What do you mean we have nothing in common?"

"You don't understand", says the professor, "I eat pork on Shabbat."

The rabbi says, "Only on Shabbat, not during the weekday?"

The professor says, "Specifically, spitefully on Shabbat!"

"Ah, in that case" says the rabbi, "You should come to the class.
 We do have something in common."

The professor asks, "What do you mean?"

The rabbi says, "I celebrate Shabbat and you celebrate Shabbat. I do it in a
traditional way. Your way is not so traditional."

After the conversation the Professor began attending the Talmud class.
He had re-discovered something about his Jewish identity.

This professor had survived the Holocaust as a young boy and saw Jewish life
in Europe destroyed. When he arrived in Israel, he threw his Judaism away.
He was angry with G-d and wanted to get back at Him. So he ate pork on
Shabbat. Why specifically on Shabbat? He wanted to punish G-d in the most
hurtful way. He figured that eating pork on Tuesday is one thing, but doing
it on Shabbat was really bad -because Shabbat is a holy day.

Upon reflection, the professor realized that his rebellious act showed that
he too believed in Torah and Judaism and that Shabbat was still a holy day
for him. That is why he ate pork on Shabbat. Not because Shabbat is an
ordinary day but because it's the holy day.

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