Thursday, March 31, 2016
Rabbi by Night, Crime Fighter by Day: A Gripping Tale of Keeping our Streets Safe
Now that Peyton Manning has retired, I think I will begin referring to you, once again, as Henry.
I wanted to tell you , oh Henry, and my thousands upon thousands upon thousands of readers across the vast expanse of the Universe about my most recent Monday. You see, Henry, a lot of people think that I am just a simple Western, rap appreciating rabbi, and family man. This is true. However, if someone were to attach those labels to me, they would be selling me short. Because in addition to being a rabbi and family man, I am a crime-fighter dedicated to keeping our streets safe. Heck, I am a husky, mean, crime fighting machine.
And to be totally honest Henry, my crime fighting career did not start this past Monday. It actually started during my short tenure living in Washington Heights. On one occasion, I heard my BFFEEE having a conversation outside my window at around 12:30 AM. Assuming he was getting mugged, I picked up my hammer, and came to his aid. As G-d's providence had it, it happened to be that he was not being mugged, but rather being given directions by a tremendously righteous Hasidic rabbi.
A few short months later someone made the mistake of stealing my umbrella while I went to pick up my wife before heading out to the A Train. Needless to say, I got that umbrella back. Since then, my crime fighting days have been limited.
And that brings us to Monday. Usually on Mondays we have a staff meeting at the office at 12:00 PM sharp. However, on this particular Monday, we ended up getting a late start. Usually the Better Half stays for the meeting. However, after my baby woke up, the Better Half decided to head home before the meeting with the baby. And that is when she saw some suspicious activity. You see Henry, as my wife was pulling out of the office she spotted two individuals stretching. Now, if we were at a park, or a bike path, or a football stadium, that would seem normal. But we were on the intersection of two busy streets. She called me and alerted me of the activity, and I took a look for myself. Sure enough, they looked like they were gearing up for a rigorous exercise of fence jumping and running. At this point in time, two memories popped into my head like a cherry pop tart pops out of the toaster. The first memory I had were the posters I constantly saw in my days riding the New York City Subway: If you see something, say something. The second memory I had was reading about a slew of home break ins specifically in the neighborhood I saw these individuals walking to. With those two vivid memories in mind, I told the Better Half to call the Police. And by golly, its a good thing we did, because when they returned to the car with a backpack filled of stolen goods, the Cops were there to greet them. You see, at TJE we don't just educate; we keep our streets safe.
In analyzing this incident I tried to come to an understanding of how this incident provides us profound wisdom for life. And I think the first, very important lesson is that we are meant to live our lives with our eyes wide open, observant to the world around us. Every morning while passing the cherry blossoms, do I stop to admire them, or do I just walk past them, oblivious to everything around me? When frolicking in a Kansas meadow do I look down to savor the dandelions, or I frolic right over them as if they were not even there? As the great Rabbi Avigdor Miller once observed, " If the happiness of life passes by unnoticed, it also passes by un-enjoyed." G-d gave us a magnificent world that, if ever we stopped to appreciate, we would be rendered speechless.
Another profound life lesson that emerges from all of this is what we call Hashgacha Pratis: G-d is running the world in a very deliberate, purposeful fashion. Yes, at the time it was a little annoying we were starting the meeting late. Yes, it was a bummer my littlest Princess was waking up before the meeting started, promising a difficult meeting ahead. Yes, I was depressed the Better Half was leaving and I wouldn't be able to spend the next hour with her. But if not for one of those factors--those apparent 'coincidences,' these criminals would still be on our streets, robbing our homes. As the famous quote goes, "coincidences are G-d's way of remaining anonymous."
Additionally, the mantra "If you see something, say something" has a place in (some) of our daily interactions. To apply it to our daily lives, I would emend it to "If you see something good, say something!" For example, if I come home, and supper is on the table, I can A) assume the Better Half is a prophetess and knows how grateful I am for the scrumptious supper she worked so hard to make for me, or, B) I can say thank you to her for her love, time and effort in taking care of me. We can assume people know our warm fuzzy feelings about them, or we can go ahead and tell them, and acknowledge their hard work on our behalf. I can assume that my colleagues know how grateful I am for their help, or I can tell them.