The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 8 November 2008 / 10 Heshvan 5769

Room at the Top Down Under

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

"I'm sorry, sir, but you cannot carry that large item onto the plane. It must be stored in the luggage compartment."

This was the stern message given by the Australian airline clerk to a Jew who was carrying a Sefer Torah for delivery to another city in the Land Down Under.

"This is a sacred item which I insist on holding on to during the flight," came the very determined reply.

As impatient people in the line were calling for service, the clerk decided to end the discussion by warning the passenger that he would never get past security and certainly not be allowed to get on the plane with the Sefer Torah. Both at security and at boarding the same exchange occurred and he finally reached his seat holding onto his precious cargo.

Now it was the turn of the stewardess to order him to either place the Sefer Torah under his seat or in the overhead luggage compartment. When he refused to relinquish his hold she summoned the pilot. He took one look at the Sefer Torah and announced:

"A Sefer Torah! Please bring it to the cockpit where I can put it in a nice safe place right next to my tefillin."

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