Friday, November 10, 2017

A Rock of a Role Model

The purpose of this blog is to shake up the Friday night dinner table. Please print and share (+ like it, tweet it, forward)
Dedicated by friends in San Francsico to the memory of Yermiyahu Matan (Jeremy Dossetter),
alav hashalom.

Dedicated also to the memory of Rabbi Mendel Freedman, a mentor-colleague-friend who passed away this week.
Dedicated also in honor of Yehuda Simcha, a great soul who just joined the Tribe.
Happy Birthday to Stuart in California, and Harmon on a clipper racing across the South Pacific.

(To dedicate a future Table Talk, send me an email.)

DiamondMy relationship with Rabbi Mendel Freedman was formed and nutured entirely within a few square cubits in the JCC locker room.

By luck or fate, we both preferred a specific row of lockers and a specific time slot on Sunday mornings.

How meaningful can a locker-room relationship possibly be?

"How're ya doin? How's the family? Nice weather we're having."

But Rabbi Freedman was different. I can't recall one time that he chatted. No small talk, no gossip. Not only was he focused on substance ("tell me what projects you're working on right now"), he always went straight to the point, and picked up the conversation from where it left off last time.

If he could think of a connection for you, or any other advice, he would offer it on the spot. And you had better follow-up, because the next week he would ask you, "Did you contact so-and-so?"

(He was also an extremely refined person, who somehow blended a great dignity with great humility. His soft speech masked a tack-sharp mind. And through the years, after a surgery, and then the onset of his final illness, I never saw him appear other than happy.)

May his memory be for a blessing.

The contrast between him and men in the news lately is like that proverbial diamond in the rough.

In light of recent scandals, someone posted this comment on a social media website:

"Maybe little kids have it right when they worship the garbage man, the postman, the guy who drives the semi and cranes, instead of admiring the cesspool of Hollywood that we adults seem to."

I don't know about you, but my first reaction to such a statement is, "Maybe?!!"

Question for your table: What kind of person would have any doubt in their mind?

Maybe someone described by Professor Bloom's famous/infamous book?

(Yes, that's 2 separate links.)

When it was the talk of the town 30 years ago, we laughed at his caricature of youth and young adults.

But I loved his love of wisdom.

But (question #2 for your table) — what about his conclusion:

"One should never forget that Socrates was not a professor, that he was put to death, and that the love of wisdom survived, partly because of his individual example. The gravity of our given task is great, and it is very much in doubt how the future will judge our stewardship."

Is it such a grave task? Is it so much in doubt?

Shabbat Shalom

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