In this time of turmoil in the Middle East, we can sometimes lose sight of the deep beauty that pervades the Jewish community in Israel. The following true story helps restore our perspective and illuminates the hope for a peaceful future.
My friend Yehudit P. was telling me about her pre-6:00 A.M. walks early Friday mornings. The quiet is thunderous, the whole atmosphere ethereal. And then, just as the owner is opening up his hole-in-the-wall pita-bread bakery store in the Bukharan market of Jerusalem, Yehudit arrives to buy freshly baked Syrian-style pita (made by throwing the dough against the inside of his hole-in-the-wall oven).
Over the months, Yehudit has come to be impressed by this chubby, bald, Syrian Jew's kindness. Which makes what he said to Yehudit one morning so understandable...
Yehudit had arrived a little late, and so she took her place in line, behind another woman buying pita.
This woman was an old, Bukharan woman, bent with age, wearing a floral-patterned babushka. She seemed to be very dissatisfied with the pita-bread that the Syrian-Jew was offering her.
"No, this one is burnt," she said, handing it back to the baker. "It's not good. I want a different one."
So the man gave her a different one.
After carefully examining it, the woman returned this one, too, commenting, "This one doesn't look well-done enough. Give me another..."
As Yehudit stood in the growing line, awaiting her turn, she marveled at the patience of this simple baker. For it seemed that each time the man handed the old woman a perfectly good, fresh, warm pita-bread, the old woman would carefully examine it, and then hand it back, with some complaint.
As the old woman returned yet another pita to the baker, he finally said to her a bit firmly, "It's okay, ma'am. This one is good. It's a very good one. It's fine, they're all fine."
Convinced, and wrapping her six large pita-breads in a small blanket to keep them warm, the little old lady finally walked away.
Turning to Yehudit, the baker apologized for the delay, and explained, "I feel bad that I got agitated with her. You see, she doesn't pay."
Reprinted with permission from
"ON BUS DRIVERS, DREIDELS AND ORANGE JUICE"
contemporary stories of life in Israel.
Sponsored by Tehilla, the movement for Aliyah - www.tehilla.com
Published by Feldheim Publishers.
In Israel: POB 35002, Jerusalem.
In the USA: 200 Airport Executive Park, Spring Valley NY 10977
Presented in cooperation with Heritage House, Jerusalem. Visit www.innernet.org.il.
|I don't think the point of the story is that he got upset, it is the patience he showed her to start with and his regret that he didn't show her more. I hust returned from Eretz Yisrael and had hunted down this baker to relive my memories of my yeshiva days. The baker is a sweetheart and always kind D.L. |
|* * * * *|
|The baker is right to feel some annoyance with himself. He knows that he should have been more patient with the old lady - who can know what troubles she has been through or is currently facing in her life?
But intrinsically, he is a good person and realizes he can improve himself and therefore the world in which we all live. Let's all learn from this story to apply the same principle to ourselves, making our good middot even better, thereby uplifting the total of the world's spiritual level accordingly. |
- M. S. -0/3-/2003
|* * * * *|
|Us bakers have to work hard for the customer. After all the only one mentioned in the bible lost his head. As the boss use to say when I was an apprentice 'the customer pays the bills' |
- I. F. -0/2-/2003
|* * * * *|
|Such an interesting parallel to Klal Yisroal and Hashem. Of course, Hashem is the baker, and how often do we take our blessings for granted. Each time examining our granted lot, so many of us kvetch that life is not good enough or perfect enough. Yet, we forget that we are not paying customers, but exist at the generous mercy of our creator ! |
- G. I. -0/2-/2003
|* * * * *|
Send Yourself, Really
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765
The Gravity Of The Sin Of Not Learning From Mussar
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772
Right the Wrong
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756
Letting Go With Both Hands
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759
Successful Mitzvah Agents
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769
Horses and Ladders
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760
The Best Merchandise
Shlomo Katz - 5761
Taking Spiritual Growth One Step At A Time
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766
The Spies and Yerushalayim
Shlomo Katz - 5771
Once a Spy Always a Spy?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761
A Similar Thought Found in Mussar and Chassidus
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765
The Spies and the Mitzvah of Challah
Shlomo Katz - 5766