by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
This past Shabbos at Chabad Shaliach from Switzerland was at our synagogue and told this story...
While visiting Israel, I arrived in Beit Shemesh by train. A visibly secular Israeli taxi driver picked me up. As we were driving to my destination, like many an Israeli taxi driver who starts chatting, he told me this personal story:
"You see in front of you a struggling non-religious taxi driver. But a few years ago I was a senior police officer with a nice career and a pension. Here's what happened.
You may not know this, but in the hills between old Beit Shemesh and Ramat Beit Shemesh, there is an old xian monastery [Akiva adds: Beit Jimal, built Salesian monks in 1881]. One day they called the police to come and discuss some issues. I was sent.
I arrived at the monastery, the first time I'd ever been to the place. As I came to the entrance, I noticed they had a very odd main door - it was only 1/2 height! (Meaning you had to bend down to enter.) As I opened the door I saw a series of statues - non-Jewish religious icons - IDOLS, to which the shape of the door forced you to bow down to, to enter.
Now I had a serious dilemma. I'm not a religious Jew, but I do know that Jews don't bow down to idols! But at the same time I'm a police officer and these people called for an issue, and I have a duty. So I thought for a few moments and came up with a solution - I walked in bowed down BACKWARDS, rear-end first towards the idols!
The monks who were waiting for me on the other side were quite upset. A week later letters of protest arrived to my police commander, the police chief, the minister of security, even to the Prime Minister for my "insult" to their religion. I lost my job and my pension.
So today I'm a struggling taxi driver. But do you know what, even knowing what happened I'd do the same if faced with it again today.
Monday, July 20, 2009
// 7/20/2009 //