Rabbi Benn Weiss was waiting for me at the sidewalk. Cock-eyed Happy Place catered to anyone who had a certain style. The raffish sailors frequented there as well as beggars who paused in between panhandling for a swig. They paid in style of course with the money they cadged from the customers. Anyone with the style, I mean those who had money, got attention. When I reached the Rabbi he had just disposed a beggar who claimed had acted in the production of South Pacific.
“ There is nothing like a dame.” I crooned knowingly. Benn Weiss shrugged his shoulders and suddenly he said in alarm, “ You look as if seen a ghost!” I explained after having downed a couple of shots of whiskey, “ I suddenly remembered Gigi!” My friend looked perplexed.
“ Remember Maurice Chevalier singing, ‘Thank heaven for little girls?’ I was just twelve and was in love with Leslie Caron myself.”
The Rabbi was listening closely. “ Oh Jake you’re a romantic.”
“I went on singing for days the same number till my father kicked me in the seat of my knickers.
“So you mooned and was in love. So what?”
“ If I sang ‘Thank Heaven for little girls’ now like I did then, would not I be thought of being a closet paedophile or something?” I said.
Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Benn Weiss’
Posted in Aesop, fables, history, Aesop and the Ass, modern fable, tagged Benny Thomas, civil liberties, Homeland Security, Messiah, philosophy, Rabbi Benn Weiss, stories on July 4, 2012 | 2 Comments »
Rabbi Benn Weiss was sure that he was being shadowed. “Hey Jake can you tail my shadow?” Of course I did as I was told. When I told him that the man had been on the job for 10 years passing on his movements daily to his boss, who sat in a shadowy section of The City of Peace, the rabbi quaked in his shoes. Next day to his relief the shadow was ran over by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol.
“ Sorry for his messy body, left on the pavement unattended.” Benn Weiss said deathly pale.” Think of it Rabbi!” I said to buck him up,”You shall not be followed again.”
I was wrong.
Rabbi soon found three shadows tailing him. “ Oh my goose is cooked!” Rabbi Benn Weiss gasped, “ The Prince of Peace, bless his name is come and this is the year of Universal Peace! But I am still haunted!”
Rabbi Benn did eventually use his contacts and found that his liberal leanings for a rabbi drew the attention of Homeland Security.
The insider confided that HS had indeed deputed one to check him out. ‘But when he died in rather strange circumstances we had to make sure. So Justice and Immigration department also had to come in, ’ admitted the anonymous source.
We had found our usual spot. While the rabbi took his glass of buttermilk his hand trembled. “ The Messiah is come; but still the old order goes on at full steam ahead.”
“Don’t worry,” I confided,” I know how the system works. The Anointed One is too good to see behind the woodwork. But a day come, he shall not get up from his throne without scratching himself. Too late it would be then.”
Rabbi stared at me. He slowly got my drift. He nodded. “Aha I get it now” he exclaimed, “No wonder Peace has to be hard fought in. Ah the peace of a graveyard!”
“Ecco homo!” Rabbi Weiss one morning exclaimed laying aside his papers. I waited for him to explain which, as I had anticipated, he did. He patted his luxuriant white beard and said, “ Mattan this Armenian Jew! He is now become the Mayor. I had long ago warned him of coming to a bad end. Now he has gone and proved me wrong!”
That name seemed to ring a bell. “ Wasn’t his grand father who ended up in a gulag?” The rabbi nodded.
I added, “And a terrible poet to boot. He wrote, ‘Lament from the Lost Ark.’ Remember?”
“ Who doesn’t know the lines, Lark, lark is it you? / It is me again; / I’m set down as Cain/
My love for Mark it’s true. And so on.” I quoted from memory.
“Please refrain from quoting his lines while we call on Mattan this afternoon,” Benn Weiss cautioned me. I replied, “ Mum is the word.”
“Once his father was so worried about him.” Rabbi Weiss ruminated, “ that he would do such a thing as serve the public.” “Isn’t serving the public a good thing?”
“Yes, Jake,” my friend continued,” Not in case of Mattan. He will beggar the public funds as he did with his father’s life savings.”
“So we are going to meet a crook?” Rabbi Weiss was deep in thought. “I shall not quote poetry.” I assured my friend, ”Perhaps a joke or two when the time calls for it?”
The rabbi nodded his head.
Later in the evening while the mayor and the rabbi had exhausted the topics I asked,” Have you heard about a fellow who stole the white elephant of the King of Siam for a lark? When the law caught up with him he could only say, ‘It was all a mistake, fellows!’
“He is now in Sing- Sing on account of a lark.”
An Armenian in Paris
Rabbi Benn Weiss followed me close as we made for the exit. ‘I love Art and I know what I like,’ he had said while staring at the canvasses long and hard.
We came out into the sunshine. He asked, ‘What makes Beauty? Is it what is unattainable?’
I nodded. My companion asked, ‘Beauty! Is it because it speaks truth?’
‘Oh yes!’ I said appreciatively, ‘Rabbi, you know the words beauty, art and truth already. Only I need to teach how these connect one another. Once you know how you could be a professional art critic if you want to.’
As we crossed the busy street to the Metro in front of an art store, my companion was for buying a few books to get himself started. ‘Forget books. Forget what that guide at the Gallery was telling you.’ I told him, ‘She was far out Rabbi, but she was a peach.’
Rabbi Benn Weiss glared at me at which I suddenly stopped short. Next moment I called out, ‘See that old lady!’
I told him that I was going to explain art using her as a living example.
My companion who had his eye full of Rubenesque ladies looked at me aghast. ‘See her back is curved and how she leans on her stick?’
‘Is that beauty?’ my friend was skeptical.
‘Why not?’ I asked, ‘Does beauty only reside in a fine form and youth?’ ‘Or does it in my perception of it?’
I was in the mood to explain. ‘Think Rabbi Weiss, I do not know her from Adam. How come I suddenly think of my grandmother who has been dead for ages?’
‘She was most precious to me.’ I felt a lump in my throat and said, ‘This old woman represents a kind of truth to me. Because she is not a trick played on my eye I take it, she is a real human being’.
‘So she stands for truth,’ the Rabbi nodded his head appreciatively.
Rabbi intoned, ’But she is an ugly truth. Old Age is real and makes scarecrows…’
I cut in, ’That is besides the point. My grandmother, dead grandmother represents Truth and she is unattainable’.
‘So dying makes one beautiful?’ the rabbi wanted to know.
Ignoring it I explained, ‘Yet this frail woman down on her last legs brought her image to me.’
I knew Rabbi Benn Weiss didn’t understand me. So I said the truth this old woman carried, went radical changes to impress upon me truth of something else.’
The rabbi said, ’I never knew your grandmother was so important to you.’
I nodded gravely and said, ’I carry that loss. She can no longer make me feel good with her smile and words. But that old decrepit woman out of the blue made me reach that higher sphere, is no longer an idea but real.’
‘Aha,’ the rabbi said with a smile, ‘the old woman represents Beauty in the way she could make her truth connected with something else.’
‘Not just something, but my grandmother!’
‘Yes, if you say so, if you say so.’ he said impressed, ‘why don’t you write to your parents for a change? You can sms them if you want to.’
I said my art of life made me unattainable. ‘My parents want me to be still connected. So would the bill collector’.
‘I want to be alone, as said by the burglar to the cop,’ intoned the rabbi.
A Human Scale©
One evening a beggar approached Rabbi Benn Weiss and said that he was an angel in disguise.” Never mind these tatters, Rabbi,” he said in a conspiratorial tone, “I am indeed an angel sent down to find how many in this City of Peace are worthy to be called His own. So I shall ask you to buy me dinner.”
They were before sidewalk restaurant. “Of course!” Rabbi said and treated him to a hearty meal while he stuck to the usual. The stranger remained by his side even after he had paid the bill and wanted to go home.
It was late.
“I need a place to stay for tonight, Rabbi.”
“Try Wayfarer’s Lodge over there. It is free and clean.” ”You gave me dinner and why refuse me now?”
Benn Weiss interrupted him saying,” A poor man’s dinner is no bother, But to have you under my roof, is more than a man like me can afford.” “But I am an angel!”
“Go tell that to your archangel, my friend. He sent you didn’t he?”
Rabbi Benn Weiss walked on.
Moral:Truth when is stated in human terms must satisfy common sense and sound appropriate for the circumstances.