I’m not superstitious because I know good things happen in Row 13 on airplanes. Flying back from California, I smiled at the 50-something overweight Hasidic rabbi trying to get comfortable in the seat across from me.
He smiled back, said hello and then used one of my favorite lines, “Do I know you?” Of course this man can keep a conversation going; it’s his job to attract people into the Chabad.
My new acquaintance is one of the head rabbis in San Diego. When I extended my hand as I introduced myself, he kindly saved me from my faux pas by saying that as much as he would like to take my hand, he couldn’t.
I wouldn’t have minded a discussion on Talmudic law, but I really appreciated that he kept his focus on me and his teaching light. I shared with him an internal debate I was having between duty and happiness, and I learned happiness trumps almost everything, including duty. This perfect stranger also asked that I allow him to be of assistance the next time I’m in San Diego.
It occurs to me that no matter how many clergy we have in our network (I have about 100), we can never have enough.