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Masei: The Journeys of Brian

Bamidbar: 32: 1-37

1. These are the journeys of Brian Dreyfus as he went forth from Baltimore on his way to Israel under the hand of Delta Airlines. 2. The Maggid of Bergenfield wrote of his going forth according to his whims and fancies. 3. Brian sallied forth from the Pickwick Apartments in Baltimore, MD, and took a taxi to Baltimore/Washington International Airport on a Wednesday morning. 4. But there was a great storm named Barry, and Barry wreaked havoc with air travel up and down the Eastern Seaboard. 5. Brian wandered the airport for four hours, browsing stores and speaking on his cell phone, but his airplane did not arrive. 6. And it was such, that when his airplane did arrive in Baltimore to fly him to New York to connect with a soon-to-depart El Al flight to Tel Aviv, that a tornado warning was issued for BWI Airport, and the flight delay was extended for two more hours. 7. And Brian missed his flight.

8. Brian was vexed, and in his consultation with El Al he was dealt with harshly. 9. Woe onto Brian, and woe onto all air travelers during a storm. 10. And it came to pass that the only way for Brian Dreyfus to enter the Promised Land before the Shabbat began was to journey from Baltimore to Cincinnati and from Cincinnati to Toronto and from Toronto to Tel Aviv. 11. So it was declared by the agent and so it was booked.

12. Brian returned by taxi to his apartment in Baltimore Wednesday night. 13. But Brian knew he would make the next day’s long, circuitous journey. 14. For though he had lived in Baltimore for 15 years, he had made aliyah with his family the summer before, to the lush Galilean Hills. 15. Now Baltimore was merely his commuting destination. 16. For Brian was a Western healer (pulmonologist) whose heart (along with his wife and four children) was in the East.

17. And Brian arose at 4 a.m. on Thursday and girded his luggage, three tuna sandwiches, two liters of bottled water (which were eventually confiscated by representatives of the Transportation Safety Administration), a box of granola bars, his iPhone, a volume of Kehati Mishnayot (Zera’im, part 2) and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe. 18. And Brian set out on his journey.

19. Brian was not discouraged. 20. For although he knew that he had to traverse four airports before he could reach Israel, the Jewish people had to endure 42 encampments before they reached home. 21. True, they had 40 years to travel while Brian had only 36 hours, but who’s counting?

22. Brian journeyed from Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport on Delta Airlines to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (“America’s Most Convenient Gateway”). 23. It was there that he encountered Starbucks and the Sunglass Hut. 24. Then Brian journeyed from Cincinnati and encamped in Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (named after Canada’s 14th prime minister). 25. And there was no beverage to drink and no food to eat, for Brian was too lazy to change currency. 26. But Brian survived the three hours until his flight time and even got to practice his French. 27. Brian then journeyed from Toronto and flew on the wings of Canadian eagles (Air Canada) to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. 28. The inflight movie was something awful with Adam Sandler, but Brian persevered with his Mishnayot and enRoute, the award-winning inflight magazine of Air Canada.

29. Once back in Israel, Brian Dreyfus encamped in his caravilla in Mitzpeh Netofa, in the Galilean hills. 30. It was there that he slept for 18 hours, to be disturbed only for minyan, an occasional noisy child, and his wife Dorit’s chulent. 30. This is the conclusion of Brian’s journey. 31. So it had been booked in the airline computer, and so it transpired.

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Special thanks to Dr. Tzvi Klein for sharing his true life adventures with the Maggid.

Larry Stiefel is a pediatrician at Tenafly Pediatrics

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