If you ask 10 different people their opinion on something, you usually get 10 different opinions. Thus is the story when you ask 10 different people about the same rabbi. He is too this, he is too that. I don’t agree with him on this, I don’t agree with him on that. His speech is too long, too short, too wordy, too simple, too controversial, too bland. I don’t like his hat, I don’t like his shoes. I don’t like his socks. He spends too much time with the kids. He doesn’t know my kids. His wife is too friendly, not friendly enough. She can’t cook. Why does she cook? And on and on and on and on. Well, this is my column, so the only opinion you will be reading about is mine (well, and husband #1’s, because we are actually in agreement on this one.)
This week is the final week that my rabbi, for all intents and purposes, is in town. He and his lovely wife are finally fulfilling their lifelong dream of making aliyah. They are moving to Israel to be closer to their two favorite children and the rabbi’s favorite mother-in-law. (I am joking about their favorite children. I am sure all of them are their favorites.) This makes me sad, because I really and truly love the rabbi and his wife.
Now, before you slam down the paper and say horrible things about me, let me explain. I am not a political person. I am just a person who cares about how she is treated by others, and all I can say about my rabbi and his wife is that on a personal level, they have been supportive and wonderful to me and my family. There are examples of this that I cannot share with you in this column, even though some of you think that I share everything, but let me assure you, they have been wonderful. I will share some of the more shareable things…
The first time I made Pesach, which was a last minute thing (don’t ask, long story), I told husband #1 that you can use the same corkscrew that you use all year. He said, “No way.” And I replied, “I am telling you that I am right, and I will even ask the rabbi.” We made a bet (can’t tell you what the bet was, but it was a good one, for me, anyway). I called the rabbi and, lo and behold, I was right.
Ok, so maybe I really love the rabbi because he usually agrees with me. This is very relevant and important because, as some of you know, two of my boys have become oreos, and they are very, very stringent with many things. Often I have asked the rabbi about some of these things and he has told me that I was right. Yes, I really do love him.
Many years ago, husband #1 and I went on a vacation, in the days when people went on vacation, and we heard that the rabbi and his wife were in the same place. We spent a whole afternoon going from hotel to hotel trying to find them. Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for them, we never did find them, because they were staying some place that we couldn’t walk to. But that is how much we love them. (Or how desperately we needed to talk to someone other than ourselves….) And when we were in Israel visiting son #2 a few years ago, I was dropped off at their apartment in Israel because it was near son #2’s yeshiva and the rebbetzin and I walked to the mall together. I was honored that she would spend the afternoon with me. But that is the type of relationship that we have. And I don’t take it for granted.
We still don’t know who will be replacing our rabbi. It is down to two candidates, which means there are hundreds of opinions on which one should be the new rabbi. What I do know is that husband #1 and our boys and I will really and truly miss the rabbi and his wife, and we wish them a healthy and wonderful journey as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. And we thank them for giving us 26 year filled with love, advice and words of wisdom.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck hopes that everyone is still being careful and wearing masks, because nothing has changed medically in the past three months.