Holy Brother – A favor for the sake of a favor


I was walking down Broadway on Friday night when an African-American panhandler approached me for money.  In the tradition of my Rebbe, I apologized to him and explained that I observe the Sabbath, and therefore didn’t have any cash on me.  “That’s okay!” he said genially, “I respect your religion!”  Seeming hungry for human contact, he continued talking to me. “So are you going to Temple tonight?” he asked.  I assured him that I was, and that in fact, I was on my way right now to my synagogue located at 79th Street.  His eyes lit up.  “Oh, I know your rabbi,” he said enthusiastically.  “Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach – The Rabbi of Love!”

“Do you know,” he turned to me, eyes filled with wonder, “that every single time he meets me, he brings me over to his apartment and gives me food, money, and clothing?  I never met a man like him.”

“I’ve wanted to repay him in different ways thousands of times, but he won’t let me.  Rabbi, I’ve said to him over and over again, at least let me work for free as a maintenance man in your synagogue; let me give something back to you.  But he always refuses.  ‘Holy brother,’ he always tells me, I want to do you a favor for the sake of a favor!”‘

“So I’m very happy to hear Shlomo Carlebach is your rabbi.  Can there be a greater man around?  When you get to Temple tonight, please be sure to send my regards, and tell him that James wishes him Good Shabbos!” ~ Holy Brother

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