In Yiddish, "der nomen"
means the name.
It has been
said that a man has three names: the name he inherits, the name his
parents give him, and the name he makes for himself.
briefing with reporters, Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, and
Agricultural Secretary, Tom Vilsack, pleaded with the media, and others, to
start identifying the Swine Flu as the H1N1 flu. And Israeli officials suggested
renaming it Mexican flu, saying the reference to pigs is offensive to Muslim,
and Jewish, sensitivities over pork.
names, Tom and Ray Magliozzi are "der oytomobile" meyvins
(experts) on the radio program, "Car Talk." At the end of the program,
listeners hear the Car Talk Credits--the official staff credit...and what a
sordid collection of staff! Here are some examples:
Barry L. Plotz
Federal Lubrication Board
Don Chase Katz
Videographer, Tel-Aviv Office
And now to
the name, Michael Fein. No, not Michael Fein from
"GantsehMegillah.com." A different Michael Fein.
had the pleasure of reading Zalman Velvel's book, "The King of Shabbos and Other
Stories of Return" (Square One Publishers). I highly recommend
is titled, "Heshy With His Hand Out" and here's where we meet the
"anderer" Michael Fein. Here's the inspirational
It was a
monumental Monday morning. The time was 8:00 A.M. The place was
Bais Simcha, the only Orthodox synagogue in the small town of Sunshine,
Florida. It was there that Michael Fein, and Heshy Pupchik, collided into
each other like matter, and antimatter.
Puupchik was the poorest Jew in town, and no one had ever seen him work
either. Winter, spring, summer, and fall, Heshy looked the same. He
wore old tennis shoes without socks, dark- brown pants, and a short-sleeve shirt
that had once been white. He weighed nearly three hundred pounds, but he
carried it well when he decided to carry it.
eyebrows were so bushy a blue jay could nest in them. These eyebrows
contrasted starkly with his almost completely bald head, which he topped off
with a worn black yarmulke. It was a mystery how Heshy kept the
yarmulke from slipping off, but he did.
gray beard was long, and scraggly, with his moustache covering most of his lips.
His ears were extra large, and his eyes were the widest, saddest pair anyone had
ever seen. They changed color with the quality of light, going from blue
to brown to gray-black. No matter what color they appeared, people sensed
that great need lurked behind them. When Heshy extended his right hand,
looked up to the heavens, and said, "Baruch Hashem," Blessed is God,
the good folks of Sunshine automatically put money in his outstretched
palm. Even Rabbi Levi succumbed to Heshy, and the rabbi could not spare it
on his meager salary.
gave to Heshy, except Michael Fein, the president of Bais Simcha and
the richest Jew in town. Michael Fein had no respect for Heshy, who seemed
unwilling to try his hand at any honest day's work.
It was a
rare occurrence when Michael Fein slowed down long enough to smile. He was
often seen speeding around in his black Lexus or glancing impatiently at his
Rolex, waiting for those who interrupted him to spit out what they
Monday morning, Michael was in foul spirits. He woke up with a pounding
headache, only to discover an empty bottle of aspirin in the medicine
cabinet. When he combed his hair, several strands fell in the bathroom
sink, and he could see his scalp to the back of his head. He stared at the
mirror, and a tired, old man of forty-eight stared back.
Monday morning headache came in part from a lack of sleep over the
weekend. He spent those precious two days moping around his heavily
mortgaged home, dwelling on the millions he'd lost in the stock market the
preceding Thursday. Accounting fraud was discovered in a blue-chip company
Michael was heavily invested in. Michael's 100,000 shares of stock went
from 50 dollars a share, down to 6 cents. His retirement fund went from 5
million dollars to 6,000 dollars, less than a month's mortgage payment on his
grand house. The nest egg he had nurtured and tended to for twenty years
was shattered in a single day.
Marjorie) Remember the Yiddish sentence, "Shpor, shpor, kumt der
shvarts yor un nemt alts gor" (You save and you save and then a lean year
comes and takes away everything.)
went to shul to pray for help from God, only to be confronted by Heshy, with his
hand out, when he reached the front door.
Hashem," Heshy greeted him cheerily, standing at his favorite
job!" Michael sneered.
would...but I am unable to work," Heshy answered, looking to his empty
unwilling." Michael felt an acid anger boil to surface. He needed
someone to get angry at, to blame for his bad luck, and Heshy was the perfect
unwilling because I am unable," Heshy stammered.
unable because you are fat and lazy!"
winced, and then grew silent. He lowered his head and looked down at the
ground. When he looked back up, huge tears had formed in his
was a foul Monday morning, perhaps the foulest of Michael's life, when he looked
into Heshy's eyes, those tears stopped him like a wind-up clock with a broken
spring. Michael had never really looked at Heshy. He saw him at the
entrance, but didn't take the time to look. Heshy's eyes, so large and suffering
forced open his tough lawyer's heart. Michael realized that as much pain
as he was feeling, there was another human being who also carried a
Heshy...I didn't mean that....I'm having a very bad day...Please forget what I
pulled his wallet from his pants pocket, and searched through it for a dollar,
or perhaps a five. He frowned when he discovered he only had two
one-hundred dollar bills.
have anything small," Michael apologized, closing his wallet.
Hashem," Heshy answered back. He raised his sad eyes, and smiled at
Michael, and that look combined with his innocent smile, worked the miracle that
was about to ensue.
shrugged, "Oh, what the heck." He opened his wallet once again, withdrew one of
the bills, and placed it in Heshy's hand. When Heshy saw the one followed
by two zeros on the bill, he grabbed Michael's hand and held on to
you! Baruch Hashem! Thank you!"
okay," Michael said, trying to disentangle the large, hairy hand that engulfed
want to give you a bracha, Mr. Fein."
Give me a blessing?" Michael asked, tugging at his trapped hand. Heshy had a
grip like a circus strongman.
stopped struggling, and stood there listening impatiently as Heshy looked up to
the heavens, and whispered in Hebrew. When he was almost done, he looked
healthy, Mr. Fein? Would you also like a special bracha for
"No, I am
okay." His headache was not gone.
family member is sick?"
Heshy. They are all as healthy as horses."
money, Mr. Fein. How are things in the prosperity department?"
about to say he was okay there, too, except for the first time in twenty years,
he felt scared, and out of control. His life savings were gone!
Gone! He didn't have the strength to take on the punishing, aggravating duties
of an attorney for another twenty years. He was worn out by other people's
problems, and their ungrateful attitudes.
Michael's turn to look down at the ground. He looked down for a long time,
Heshy still holding his hand. When he looked back up, there were tears in
works his whole life, Heshy, and it can all be taken away on one lousy
Hershy did something he had never done before. He put the hundred dollar
bill back into the lawyer's hand.
Fein. Perhaps you should keep this."
shocked. He stared at the bill. One hundred dollars. It was
barely enough to pay for a meal at the better restaurants in Sunshine where his
family had grown used to eating. How much pleasure would he get from this
hundred dollar bill? He looked at Heshy Pupchik. A one-hundred-dollar
windfall would bring this man joy for many days.
the bill back in Heshy's hand. "I would rather have your bracha,
sure, Mr. Fein?" Heshy asked, clutching the bill.
squeezed Michael's hand tighter, looked to the skies, and prayed fervently. When
he let go of Michael's hand, both men smiled at each other.
turned toward the front door. At the last moment, Heshy jumped in front of him
and held it open. Michael was about to walk inside, but instead, stopped
at the threshold. Heshy looked at him, puzzled.
going in?" Heshy asked.
aren't you coming inside, Heshy?"
you the truth, Mr. Fein, I didn't think you wanted to pray with someone like
shrugged, and then walked inside. Heshy went back to his spot and waited
for the next member of the congregation to approach from the parking lot. As
Heshy was waiting, he heard the front door creak open behind him. He
turned around and looked.
Fein was holding the door open, bidding Heshy to enter.
Gottlieb Wolfe recommends that all "GantsehMegillah" readers put "The King of
Shabbos" on their reading list. The "bukh" is