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Rabbis are Cool    

Rabbis are Cool

Fifteen year-old Phil from Tennessee writes a letter to editor Rabbi Lazer Brody with a stiff complaint – “rabbis are nerds!” Is that really so?


Dear Rabbi Rambo (if you're really for real),
I didn't want to write this letter. My parents are forcing me. Truth is, I lost a bet. They became religious a year ago, and that's their problem, not mine. I want no part of it. As far as I'm concerned, all rabbis are nerds. I'm 15, and I don't need anybody telling me what to do. My folks said that if they succeed in showing me a rabbi who's cool, would I talk to him. I bet them that they couldn't, so they sat me down at the computer, and then showed me some videos of you doing different stuff. I'd be a liar to say you ain't cool, especially since I never seen a rabbi that's a fitness trainer or a former army commando. OK, so I lost the bet on a freak. Now, I bet them that you can't show me nine other cool orthodox rabbis, and if you do, I'll go to synagogue with my dad on Saturday instead of watching ball games. By the way, my goal is to be a martial arts expert. Take it easy, Reb. Yours, Phil from Tennessee
* * *
Dear Phil from Tennessee,
Since Abraham, the first Jew, rabbis have been a lot cooler than Schwartzenneger, Chuck Norris, or Sly Stallone. The latter three are only make-believe cool, but they've never been tested under fire. Check out my list (partial only) of our history's cool rabbis.
Bible Period
1. Abraham - the first Jew, defeated the superpower of his day (Nimrod and four other kings) with a small band of 318 soldiers.
2. Simon and Levi - the sons of Jacob, at age 13 they wiped out a whole Canaanite city whose prince forcibly abducted their sister Dina.
3. Joshua - Mose's understudy, defeated the superior armies of Amalek and the Canaanite nations, and also executed a very dangerous espionage mission in Jericho.
4. King David - as a shepherd, before his Bar Mitzva, he killed a lion and a bear that tried to sieze his sheep. At age 12, he killed Goliath (The Hulk of his time). King David was not only a holy man, The Almighty's anointed and the author of The Book of Psalms, he was an expert in archery, fencing, and hand-to-hand combat.
Second Temple Period
5. Yehuda ben Mattatiahu (Maccabee) - brilliant Torah scholar, son of the High Priest, and fierce guerilla warrior (Rambo and all his buddies are chocolate milk compared to Yehuda Maccabee). Together with his brothers Simon, Elazar, Yonatan, their sister Miriam and a small group of guerillas, they drove the entire Greek army out of Israel.
Talmudic Period
6. Rabbi Simon ben Lakish (Resh Lakish) - forced by the Romans to become a gladiator, he killed two lions in the arena. Later, when kidnapped by ten massive cannibals of the Ludim tribe, he disposed of them with his bare hands.
The Holocaust
7. The Radziner Rebbe - the real hero of the Warsaw ghetto, who fearlessly led a group of totally untrained chassidim to combat the Nazis.
This Generation
8. Rabbi Shalom Arush – former airborne medic in the Israeli Air Force’s crack helicopter rescue squad, who participated in quite a few spine-tingling and hair-raising missions rescuing downed pilots under fire behind enemy lines.
9. Rabbi Yehoshua Sofer, the Abir Aluf – grandmaster and torch-holder of one of the world’s oldest secrets, “Abir”, the ancient Israelite form of martial arts.
10. Avichai Cohen – Israeli supermodel of the 1990s who left the world of fashion modeling, a glamorous universe in which physical beauty is the only currency. More than 20 years ago, he left his lucrative profession to learn Torah and return to his roots. Rabbi Cohen went from fashion model to role model.
By the way, #8 and #9 are both Breslever Chassidim. You know who Israel’s coolest guitar players are? They’re Menachem Herman and Danny Maman, also Breslever Chassidim. Phil, I can go on and on. Do you know how many religious heroes are walking around today? You should come visit Israel and I'll show rabbis that used to be fighter pilots and tank commanders. That's a good idea - ask your parents to let you spend the summer learning in our Yeshiva, “Chut Shel Chesed.” You're not afraid, are you? That's not cool! The secret of being cool is fearing G-d, because when you have real fear of G-d, nothing in the world shakes you.
If you want to succeed in martial arts, learn Talmud. The Talmud will teach you how to concentrate, and concentration is essential in martial arts. The little guys that bust those cinder blocks? They do it by concentration and direction of energy; Torah learning gears you for both.
OK, buddy boy, you'd better begin learning how to pray because it looks like you're going to synagogue with your Dad this Sabbath. Get into it, my man; talking to G-d is the coolest thing there is. By the way, don't make bets with your folks any more. Rabbis are cool. C’mon on over here to Israel and get to know a few. Yours with blessings always, Lazer Brody

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  5 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  Former misnaged.... Ashreinu
Yisrael11/22/2015 2:11:00 AM
  Cool & Warm
Ruchel6/2/2015 3:01:40 PM
ezra levy6/1/2015 8:09:04 PM
  Thanks for writing this.
Anonymous,6/1/2015 2:37:23 PM
  Great answer, Rabbi Brody.
Dassie6/1/2015 1:33:35 PM

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