Wednesday, June 19, 2019 -
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As good as Shakespeare

Dear Tzviling,

I am looking to get married and would like to meet a nice Jewish boy. Somebody at work made a fine recommendation. My friends are advising me to make sure to check out his references. What do you think?

Michelle, Aurora

Dear Michelle,

Thank you for your letter. Your question is a good one, asked by many people.

The following story should give you a reference point.

In the mid 19th century, the city of Minsk found itself in need of a new rabbi and invited applicants from neighboring cities. One day, the mail arrived with a letter. Not just any letter, mind you, but a letter which would change the face of Minsk. It was a glowing resume from the sage of Chelm.

The letter read:

We have known Reb Feivish Feferkorn (name has been changed to preserve privacy) since he moved here 12 years ago, and can attest to the following:

Reb Feivish is like Shakespeare.

He is like Moshe Rabeinu (Moses).

He is like an angel.

In the end, we were very pleased.

Tears of joy streamed down the face of the president as he read the letter. This would make the perfect rabbi. The search is over. Was this Divine Providence or what?

The committee hired Reb Feivish on the spot.

One month later, the main synagogue — known as the Shteible Cholent Mayvens — was overflowing with people. Reb Feivish had arrived, and this would be his first Shabbos as the new rabbi.

He went up to lead the services and read the Torah.

And what a fiasco it was!

He barely knew Hebrew.

Reb Feivish then delivered a sermon that was no less disappointing.

He stuttered, fumbled, stumbled, and could not articulate his thoughts.

When the president tactfully attempted to suggest a few pointers, Reb Feivish became defensive and began shouting at the president.

After Shabbos, the president ceremoniously headed to the sage of Chelm, with resume in hand.

President: Why did you send us such a misleading resume about Reb Feivish?

Sage: What do you mean misleading? Everything I said is perfectly true.

President: But you said he is like Shakespeare.

Sage: True. Just as Shakespeare knew no Hebrew, so too, Reb Feivish knows no Hebrew.

President: What about saying he is like Moses?

Sage: Indeed, so. Moses stuttered when he spoke and was not a polished speaker. Same with Reb Feivish.

President: But wait. You said he is like an angel.

Sage: Of course. Just as an angel is not a mentch, he too, is not a mentch.

President: And what about your last point? “In the end, we were very happy.”

Sage: One hundred percent. In the end — when he left — we were very happy.

Dear Tzviling,

I recently began taking a class in Kabbalah, and we were discussing the neshamah (soul) and the afterlife. The point was that in the next world, they don’t take checks. So tell me, what currency do they take in the next world?

Brad (by e-mail)

Dear Brad,

They take receipts.

Receipts for the good deeds we did.

Receipts for dedication to Torah and making the world a better world.

Receipts for acts of kindness and bringing Moshiach a little bit closer.

Receipts for doing mitzvos and changing the world for good.

Consider the following:

Derrick, Robert, Eric, and Ken were business partners for more than four decades. One day at a meeting, they decided that their deep friendship and partnership should outlive their physical life.

“Let’s agree,” said Derrick, “that when the first one of us passes on, the others will send along $25,000. After all, we’re partners all the way. And that is what partners do.” Everyone agreed.

A few years later Derrick passed on, and the other partners paid their last respect at the funeral. Robert approaches the coffin, and true to his word, places $25,000 cash inside

Eric approaches the coffin, and true to his word, places $25,000 cash inside.

Ken approaches the coffin and now, it is his turn to honor his vow.

So he places a check for $75,000 inside the coffin and pockets the $50,000 cash.

More letters in this week’s IJN. Order your copy from Carol at (303) 861-2334 or

SEND your questions to to be answered with wit, wisdom and humor by identical twins Rabbis Yisroel Engel (Denver) and Shloime Engel (Montreal) who share their combined 100 years of experience.

Copyright © 2011 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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