The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Challah for Henry

Somewhere in North West Connecticut

Let me first start with a story several years of age:

The first Friday of my first trip to Venice in 5764 (2004) coincided with a concert featuring one Shabsai Zisel ben Avraham, also known as Robert Allen Zimmerman or simply Bob Dylan, in villa that had once been home to war-talks between Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler (y'mach shemum) in neighboring Padova.
In a rather brazen move, Yehuda -one of the bochurim learning smicha in Venice at the time, two French Jewish students learning in Univiu, and one Mottel set off with two fresh Challos and a bottle of Joyvin wine to present to the Jewish music legend.

As we sped through the Italian countryside we played around with different scenarios of our meeting with Dylan.
We would be ushered into Bob's room, put tefillin on him, schmooze, invite him for the world renowned Shabbos meal in Venice, take a few pictures together and be on our way . . .
Upon arriving in Padova, we took a detour to the back entrance of the villa, and using the Chaim -one of the French students- who spoke a passable Italian, we told the security that we were here to see Bob Dylan.
The conversation was something akin to this:

Yehuda to Chaim: We're here to see Bob Dylan.
Chaim to Security: Siamo qui vedere Bob Dylan.
Security to Chaim:Perchè desiderate vederli?
C to Y: Why do you want to see him?
Y to C: We have a package for him, his Rabbi told us to come see him.
C to S: Gli abbiamo un pacchetto per, il suo rabbi ci abbiamo detto che per venire vedalo.
S to C: Chi è il suo rabbi?
C to S: Who is his Rabbi?
Yehuda produces a picture of the Rebbe from his coat pocket and points to it with excitement. A higher ranking official comes out, the conversation begins again, Yehuda to Chaim, Chaim to the Official and back again. Chaim, who at the time was only just beginning to come closer to Judaism (He has since become frum and was recently engaged to a French girl), was not used to the undaunting chutzpah of Lubavitcher Bochurim and he became nervous . . . his Italian began to escape him, and he was forced to turn to his friend Shalom in French for help, thus adding another step in the conversation.

Ultimately we were turned back, but the guard did accept the gifts on behalf of Bob Dylan, promising to give it to him after the concert.

Skip to last Friday, 20 Tammuz (July 6) 5767 . . . Setting out early, we traveled through the back-roads of North West Connecticut to visit various outlying Jews before Shabbos.

Abe in the Sharon Residency for the Aged.

Our itinerary included several old age homes, hospitals and three houses.

The first home belonged to one 'Irwin', who lived in a magnificent Elizabethan home built on the edge of a lake -the entire house is three years in the making, and is still not complete; the library for example was designed to copy one that had caught his fancy during a trip to England.

The second house was framed against rolling hills and farm country . . . upon parking in the front, we were greeted by a frisky golden lab with propensity to shed on dark -read bochur- clothing. The owner, 'Menachem Mendel' hobbled to the door with his crutches . . . we chatted for a few moments, wished him a complete recovery and left -passing a barn housing his collection of Ferraris

The third stop was one 'Henry's' residence located somewhat off the beaten path . . . after driving down the state road, we turned onto a small road that wound its way uphill through the forest.
Soon the road turned into an unpaved path . . .
Signs posted on trees stated
'Private Property'
'Do not Trespass'

The clearing partially concealed by the cloud is Henry's estate.

The sky came into view as we entered a clearing -and a fork in the road; to the right it curved towards what must have been the caretaker's home, to the left was a gray wooden sign, labled simply 'Stop'.

We slowed to a stop, waited a moment, then continued down the road.

Suddenly a white pickup-truck came ripping down the road, we slowed -as did it.
Reversing slightly to our position, the driver rolled down his window.
"Can I help you?"
"Yes, we are here to deliver something to 'Henry'."
"I see. The thing is, he's out, and I have to go pick up something for his wife."
"Can we give it to you to give it to him?"
"Sure. Where are you guys from anyhow?"
"We're from LA -we were recently ordained as Rabbis, and we're helping out in Litchfield."

We handed the Challah, a Jewish art calender, and a note to the driver.

"How did you rabbis find out the address, by the way?"
"Our boss gave it us. So how do we get out? Just turn around and go back down this path?"
"Yup. Sorry for all the questions, but its a crazy world and not everyone is as trustworthy as you or I . . . so we gotta ask."

We turned around and followed the white pickup out, beggining our return to Litchfield for Shabbos -leaving behind us the estate of one Henry Kissinger.

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Unknown said...

Well maybe one day you'll actually break bread with Dylan or Kissinger - or better!


Mottel said...

Funny, i thought this one would pull more people's interest . . .