July 18, 2024
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July 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The term “gridlock” was unknown to us until Mordechai was stopped on the Northway between Montreal and Albany for speeding many years ago. After he was pulled over in Wilton, New York, a thriving shtetl that apparently makes its money from such stops, he was informed by the police officer that he was under arrest for an unpaid ticket that he had received many years before. What transpired next is another entire column but after paying the $810.00 fine directly to the judge’s home in Wilton we were anxious to try to find out what the trooper could possibly have been talking about.

As it turned out, the ticket was issued in New York City many years earlier for gridlock! He was trying to cross through Lexington. Voila, an expensive ticket for gridlock!

Months ago, many of us were mesmerized by the visit of Pope Francis to the United States. He attracted millions, and certainly the city found itself in a difficult logistical nightmare. Streets were closed, subway and bus schedules were adjusted, some offices decided not to open rather than have their workers get involved in the mess, and the entire city was caught up in the excitement of this prestigious visitor. From the poorest, the most desperately ill, the best-known politicians, the illegal immigrants and the sports world, everyone joined together in harmony for his visit. He constantly reached out to the underdog, the ill, the poor and he as well shocked many frocked members of the church when he spoke of changing doctrine and perhaps allowing annulment reforms in marriages as one example. Many times he spoke of more acceptance of one towards his fellow man no matter what his choice of lifestyle was. His doctrine was not always what others in the Church wanted to hear.

We started to discuss who possibly could visit New York that would excite the Jews of the world as much as the Pope had mesmerized New York City.

Obviously it would have to be the Moshiach. Great rabbanim have visited here, and little gridlock occurred. The prime minister of Israel, the president of Israel and even the Lubavitcher Rebbe z”l didn’t do it.

We began to muse—we are all waiting for the Moshiach. What if he came one day? What would it mean to all of us? First we would have to figure out how we would know it is him (or her). How would he arrive here? Would it be on an El Al plane or perhaps on an angel’s wings? Would Jews gather together to celebrate what we have been waiting for? Would it mean that everyone would forget their differences and travel from New Square, Monroe, Tenafly, Lawrence, West Hempstead, Crown Heights, the Upper West and East sides and become one unified force? Would the Moshiach’s coming mean that the Chassidim in Williamsburg will befriend the Jews of Temple Emanuel in New York City? Will it mean that those who do not eat the OU hashgacha because it is not kosher enough will suddenly be running to Wolf and Lamb? Will it mean that Jews will stop judging each other by skirt length, sleeve length, hair or lack of hair covering, type of hat, type of kippah, type of meat, type of milk, etc.? Will it mean that the word “modern” will be used more to describe architecture than outlook on Yiddishkeit? Will it mean that we no longer would have to explain to our children that “yes, those people over there are Jewish also.” Children in many communities today assume that if someone is not wearing a kippah they obviously must not be Jewish. Would we be able to understand that some ladies who wear short sleeves are doing that as a sacrifice instead of wearing sleeveless? Would it mean that our rabbanim would become more accepting and respectful of each other?

What would happen if the Moshiach would declare his total disregard of the outrageous rules and regulations concerning shidduchim that we have created? What if he would say that resumes should be used only for jobs and that marriage is not employment? What if he would say that it would be great for young people to be allowed to meet in more normal circumstances? What if, what if, what if?

What worries us the most, though, is whether or not the appearance of the Moshiach would be strong enough to unite all of us at one time. It means taking years of disagreements and criticism of each other and dissolving it. Wow—how amazing that would be. We are not sure exactly why we need to wait for the Moshiach to begin the transition. What a great world it would be if we could begin now in anticipation of the day when the world’s greatest case of gridlock comes to New York. We wish to be a part of it.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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