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Then there’s the one about the shul president …

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By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO–Jewish jokes tend to be insightful:

A man was traveling through a town where an old friend of his lived. He decided to seek him out and pay him an impromtu visit. He asked someone, “Excuse me, I am looking for a friend of mine Mr. Schwartz. Do you know him?” “Sure I know him. He is the president of my shul. Worst president ever. A turnip could do a better job. He lives over on the other side of town.”

The man went across town and asked another person, “I am looking for Mr. Schwartz.”

“Yeah, I know Schwartzy. I know exactly who that no good louse is. Ever since he took over our shul its been down hill. He’s a disgrace to the office. He couldn’t president his way out of a paper bag. He lives over on that street.”

The man went to the right street and asked someone, “Do you know where Mr. Schwartz lives?” “Ah Schwartz, Mr. El Presidento! My grandma could do a better job than him. bleep bleep bleep….   He lives in that house.”

He went to the house, and saw his old friend. “I understand you are president of your shul. Most be a tough job.”

Schwartz replied, “It’s murder. I work like a dog. You have no idea how stressful it is.”

“So why do you do it?” “Frankly, I do it for the kavod (honor & prestige).”

We can be blinded by our desires for glory, materialism , indulgence or power. It is only when we direct our focus away from ourselves and toward Hashem that we truly elevate ourselves. Terumah, which basically refers to tzedaka, comes from the root word “to lift up” – is the quintessential expression of selflessness. It is through this process that we come close to Hashem.

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Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leadere of Congregation Kehillas Torah.  He may be contacted at [email protected]

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