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A Distorted Conclusion

December 1, 2011 – 4:41 pm50 Comments

A 'Yechi' kippah, as per the story in question

By Rabbi Meir Rabi

A Great Story, a Disastrously Distorted Conclusion, or What’s Wrong with Super-Orthodox Thinking

Let me say at the outset, I am making observations about a frailty of humanity ; its ability to inflict on itself outrageous, mind bending, distortions.

Only a bizarre, foolish perversion could encourage the publication of the story below, in spite of it glorifying what is so obviously crooked. Only severe delusions could be responsible for so many readers who savour this and other such stories. In this story a crude, arrogant, obstinate man praises his shortcomings as being his saviour rather than seeing them as almost bringing about his own destruction.

By Rabbi Tuvia Bolton, as published on the Moshiach.ru website.

Dr X is the main doctor for the community of some 20,000 Satmar Chassidim in the city of Monroe New York.

The casual reader might not grasp the awesome novelty of this but I will try to explain.

Satmar Chassidim are among the most charitable people in the world. Their acts of kindness and aid to the needy are of epic proportions and what is advertised is only a small percentage of what they actually do.

But they take no credit, neither for this nor for their remarkable devotion to G-d and His Torah. Rather their pride is in their opposition to Zionism. To them, Zionism, Zionists and anyone that supports them are evil.

Only Moshiach, they say (as do all other Jewish sources) will gather all the Jews, certainly not an atheistic based movement like Zionism, and they hate anything and anyone that disagrees with them on this.

Therefore, years ago when the Lubavitcher Rebbe praised the Israeli soldiers that pulled off the Entebbe Raid, they came out with a strong condemnation and declared a ‘cold war’ on Chabad.

(Which is, in fact, totally unfounded, being that Chabad, especially through their Chassidic teachings, is devoted to bringing Moshiach against the basic tenant of Zionism: that Jews can solve all problems and end the ‘exile’ on their own.)

What magnifies the novelty of Dr X in Satmar is that he wears a Yarmulka that bears an embroidered declaration, in the spirit of Chabad, that he is waiting to coronate Moshiach.

Just a few months ago Dr X visited us here in the Yeshiva and told the miraculous story of his appointment.

Several years ago he saw an advertisement that the Satmar community in Monroe was seeking a Doctor and, being that he had to provide for his wife and budding family, he applied and was called for an interview.

When he arrived at the interview and they saw his credentials, portfolio and recommendations they were very pleased and were considering hiring him on the spot, until he took off his hat. Suddenly their eyes affixed on the letters decorating his Yarmulke “Long live King Moshiach” and for the rest of the conversation they heard nothing he said.

After a very short time they closed the meeting with, ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’, didn’t even shake his hand and that seemed to be the end of it.

Although things looked dim, Dr X still had hopes.

But after five weeks passed and he heard nothing he gave up and began searching again, but nothing better presented itself.

Then, in the sixth week after his interview he received a telephone call. Satmar wanted him to come for another interview.

This time when he arrived and sat down opposite them they did not beat around the bush, they pointed to his head covering and said, “That Kippa” (nickname for Yarmulka)….

But before they could continue he interrupted them, “My friends, this kippa is part of the package. If you want me you want it, and if you don’t want it, you don’t want me. This is the first time we are talking about this and the last. If you hire me then in my office I will be the boss and you cannot tell me what to do, but outside of my office, in your community, you are the boss.”

They looked at him blankly and again said. “We’ll think it over.”

And, sure enough, a week later they called him and he got the job!

Now the story begins.

About a year later, one of the most influential members of the community came to him complaining of persisant stomach pain. It was rumored that this Chassid had over 100 million dollars in the bank, and he was in charge of all the finances of the community, assuring that everyone got paid fairly and on time etc.

After a thorough examination, Dr X gave him some pain pills to hold him over, and advised that he have a colonoscopy (a harsh intestinal examination) as soon as possible.

A few weeks the same Chassid returned and asked for more pain pills. “Did you have the colonoscopy?” Dr X asked. “Maybe later” was the reply.

“Dr X removed his glasses, stood, pointed at the door and said firmly, “Get out of my office …. NOW!”

“Excuse me!” The Chassid said indignantly. “No one talks to me like that here! I can have you fired in a second, do you understand?! You’re only here to serve us, so watch what you say!”

Dr X wasn’t affected. “In my office I am the boss! If you don’t like it then you can fire me! But as long as I’m here, you either do what I say or get out of this room. Either you leave here now, or you can fire me!”

“Okay! We’ll see who leaves!” said the Chassid as he angrily exited and slammed the door behind him.

A month later the Chassid returned with a large present for Dr X; a huge, pure silver, wine Cup of Elijah for his Passover table and a story.

“I had the colonoscopy test like you said and they found a tumor. A malignant tumor! They said it was the last minute, that there still was hope and that another week it probably would have been be too late.

They sent me to the operating room immediately and, well, thank G-D, they said that the operation was successful and they removed it completely! You were right. If you hadn’t yelled at me I would have pushed it off and who knows…so you saved my life!”

“Now I want to tell you something” The Chassid sat down and continued. “Do you know why it took six weeks for them to call you, back then when you were hired? Well I’ll tell you.

“Because when you took off your hat in that first interview and they saw that kippa of yours they thought you were crazy. I mean, you know what some people here think about Chabad. Well they figured you would hide your being Chabad and they would ignore it too. But not you! You threw it in everyone’s face.

“Anyway, no one wanted to hire you, but for the next five weeks they just couldn’t find anyone that had your credentials. And, not only that but before you took off your hat they really liked you. So they came to me for advice what to do.

“So I thought about it for a few minutes and told them like this. I told them to call you again and ask you if you’re willing to change that Kippa. And that if you say ‘yes’, that you’re willing to take it off they should NOT hire you because it’s a sign that you don’t believe in your principles. But if you refuse to remove it then it means you’ll be honest with us and won’t hide anything and they should hire you.

“So it ends up that because of your stubbornness we hired you and because of your stubbornness you saved my life! Another doctor would have worried about his job and let me do what I wanted.

“So it ends up that …. Well…. I saved myself!!! I gave them the advice to take someone as stubborn as you.”


However, I believe that authentic Jewish Life is devoted to correcting such distortions. Unfortunately it appears as though it is used sometimes and in some arenas of Jewish Life, to promote and glorify distorted thinking.

Here is the distorted conclusion of the story below.
“So it ends up that because of your stubbornness we hired you and because of your stubbornness you saved my life! Another doctor would have worried about his job and let me do what I wanted.
“So it ends up that …. Well…. I saved myself!!! I gave them the advice to take someone as stubborn as you.”

Here is the proper sensible conclusion as it ought to be.
“So it ends up that because of my stubbornness and arrogance, I would have killed myself, and because of your stubbornness you saved my life”

And here’s another perverse perspective of this story – would a doctor, should a doctor, may a doctor, adhering to Halacha and common sense, refuse the opportunity to serve a Jewish community rather than compromise superficial and artificial principles?

And another perspective of this story – Would a breadwinner who is responsible for supporting a family, should a breadwinner who is responsible for supporting a family, may a breadwinner who is responsible for supporting a family, refuse an opportunity to support his family due to these types of principles?

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