Monday, May 23, 2005

Wagging The Rebbe

An Exclusive Work of Short Fiction by Correspondent Hank Magitz
(Illustration by Paty Cockrum)

It is a widely held Jewish belief that there are no coincidences in life. Everything has a reason and is part of a construct of divine events on behalf of some lofty, arcane purpose. Consequently, when Baruch Katz’s grandmother—an elderly, olive-skinned woman from the old country—put the evil eye on Moshe Herson for mistreating and humiliating her grandson, it came as no surprise when the miracle occurred.

The physical seeds of the miracle were planted one memorable day at shul. It was a Saturday morning and while the skies were overcast, it seemed that we’d be spared any rain. This was noteworthy only to the rabbi and a few of the old-timers. Old-timers wouldn’t ride in the car on the Sabbath, so rain was something they preferred on Sundays or Mondays or Tuesdays and so forth. The rest of the congregation at the Chabad Center of Northwest New Jersey forgot about the Sabbath the minute they left the building and got into their cars. Most of them had already forgotten about Baruch Katz, too. They knew even less about Chabad’s inner workings than they did about Judaism—indeed, the instrument had not yet been invented that could measure how little they knew about either, so they had no idea what Katz had done or hadn’t done to get himself fired from the organization and besmirched and sent into exile. A small cadre of Russian immigrants from the community briefly petitioned Moshe Herson, dean of the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown and head of New Jersey Chabad Inc., to intervene on Katz’s behalf. How naïve some immigrants are!

In any event, the incident had been pretty much swept under the carpet as both Moshe Herson and his son, the titular rabbi at the Chabad Center, had anticipated. No one ever went broke underestimating the naiveté of the average Chabad contributor. And the Hersons were far from broke. They controlled properties all over New Jersey.



At 9:02 PM, May 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

their cult won't like this one bit.

At 1:12 PM, June 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding is that Rabbi "Katz" ended up moving to the Midwest where he is leading another Chabad congregation and generally doing very well. Hashem has his plans for all of us...

At 1:12 PM, June 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last comment is from Yaccov Meyer


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