Thursday, October 18, 2018

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   by Reb Gutman Locks  


     Very early Shabbos morning at the Kotel, a young American came up to me with a group of charadi boys. He was dressed in modern, not so religious looking clothes. He smiled widely when he saw me and happily said, "I read your book."     

      That always means "Coming Back to Earth," the stories recounting some of my many, huge mistakes. 

      I said, "The problem with that book is that all those stories are true." He laughed.

     He told me that he was learning in one of the local baal teshuva yeshivas. I noticed that he had two pierced ears with diamond looking stones on studs.

     I asked him, "When you get married who's going to wear the pants in the family." This is slang for, who is going to be the boss in the family.

     He puffed up his chest and said, "I am."

     I asked, "Then, who's going to wear the earrings?" His chest collapsed as all the other boys laughed loudly.

     I explained, "The problem with earrings is not so much beged isha (a man wearing a woman's garment which is forbidden). The problem has to do with a Jew who steals something. If he cannot pay back what he stole the court sells him to a Jew to be a slave for 6 years. Then he goes free. He goes free unless he says that he doesn't want to go free; he wants to be a slave. If he says this, his master puts a hole in his ear and he becomes a slave forever (actually, until the Jubilee year). And you look like you did it twice! They all laughed.

     I motioned with my hands, "Take them out. Maybe the holes will heal," and I walked away to get some prayer books for the minyan.

     I turned around and saw him unscrewing the studs from their holders. He took out both earrings. I walked over to him, slapped him on his shoulder and said, "This is a smart guy. You don't meet so many smart guys in the world anymore," and I walked away.

     I think he is going to keep them out and maybe the holes in his ears will heal, and I think he will marry a Jewish girl, and if she is smart she will let him think that he is in charge.



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