Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, bearded at center, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a 1968 antiwar protest.
This wonderful anecdote about the late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel brings deeper meaning to the holiday season and cultural relations:

"In 1965, after walking in the Selma-to-Montgomery civil-rights march with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was at the Montgomery, Ala., airport, trying to find something to eat. A surly woman behind the snack-bar counter glared at Heschel — his yarmulke and white beard making him look like an ancient Hebrew prophet — and mockingly proclaimed: “Well, I’ll be damned. My mother always told me there was a Santa Claus, and I didn’t believe her, until now.” She told Heschel that there was no food to be had.

In response, according to a new biography, Spiritual Radical: Abraham Joshua Heschel in America, 1940-1972 by Edward K. Kaplan (Yale), Heschel simply smiled.

He gently asked, “Is it possible that in the kitchen there might be some water?”

Yes, she acknowledged. “Is it possible that in the refrigerator you might find a couple of eggs?” Perhaps, she admitted. Well, then, Heschel said, if you boiled the eggs in the water, “that would be just fine.”

She shot back, “And why should I?”

“Why should you?” Heschel said. “Well, after all, I did you a favor.”

“What favor did you ever do me?”

“I proved,” he said, “there was a Santa Claus.”

And after the woman’s burst of laughter, food was quickly served.

What a fabulous story; I can't wait until we do our program on this great man.

Share Your Reflection



I love this story!

Great Story:

Great Story

That's a wonderful story. Would be great if we could solve all problems with some thought and some humor.

He knew how to avert a potentially violent anti-semetic(sp) situation and get his needs meet with humor. He is/was a wise man.

I needed a good laugh and I just got one. Thanks!

What a marvelous example of how to turn an antagonist into a friend.

That's a fine way to put it. Cheers.

If only more men had such wisdom

Not more "men"--- more people.