February 21, 2024
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February 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Shemot 29:29-30

“There’s just no way.”

“But it’s tradition.”

“I don’t care. I just can’t do it.”

“Your father would have wanted you to wear the suit.”

Jonathan smiled. “There are many things my father would have wanted from me that I have chosen not to do. And this will not be the last.”

It was a tradition at the Dippin Donuts Company. When a new president of the company was chosen, he or she would wear the suit of the previous president to the first board meeting after the new appointment. Jonathan’s grandfather Melvin Dipinsky had worn his father Heiman’s suit to the meeting. His father, Mark Dipinsky, had worn Grandpa Mel’s suit. And Jonathan was expected to wear his father’s suit.

There was just one problem.

Mark Dipinsky had loved Dippin Donuts. Not the just the company; he loved the actual doughnuts as well. He ate many doughnuts a day. Crullers for breakfast. Jellies with lunch. Chocolate glazed for dessert after dinner. And after a while, this became a problem. At the time that he passed away, Jonathan’s father tipped the scales somewhere north of 300 pounds. And Jonathan did not have a problem with that.

It’s just that he was a rather diminutive fellow. Jonathan didn’t eat the company products, and he exercised every day. He had a treadmill in his office, and he was often seen speaking on the phone with a client while chugging along on the exercise machine. He was determined not to end up corpulent like his father, alav hashalom. Or portly, like his grandfather, may his soul rest in peace. Or generously proportioned like his great-grandfather Heiman, the founder of the Dippin empire, may his memory be blessed.

“I would look like a complete clown if I wore one of dad’s suits, Jonathan said to Solomon Dipinsky, his uncle and the Dippin D’s comptroller. Sol was also built a bit more on the zaftig side.

“Jonathan, you need to calm down. Here, have a doughnut.”

“No, thank you, Uncle Sol.”

“Then at least have a doughnut hole. The cinnamon ones are straight from the kitchen.”

“Seriously. No doughnuts.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“Fine, suit yourself. But you do have to wear your father’s clothes. It’s the tradition.”

“I don’t get it. I look exactly like my dad, in his younger days. I sound like my father. I even use his same corny expressions.”

“True, you do have your father’s horrible sense of humor.”

“Thanks, Uncle Sol. Coming from you, that means a lot.”

“Don’t mention it,” Sol said, tossing his third doughnut hole into his mouth. ”Are you sure you don’t want one? They’re truly outstanding.”

“Stop it with the doughnuts, OK?”

“Sorry. But the suit is important. It’s like the kohen gadol. When a new lead priest was appointed, he wore the old kohen gadol’s garments for seven days. All eight of the garments. That’s what ordained him to the position. It’s a sign of the continuity of the Jewish tradition. The kohen gadol’s vestments represented continuity, tradition and stability, and that’s what your father’s suit means to the company. The Torah really doesn’t specify the size of the kohen. I think the priestly garments were one size fits all.”

“Well, that is a miracle,” Jonathan said. “Maybe a robe and tunic are more forgiving than a Brooks Brothers suit, but let’s face it: I could fit me, my wife and my two kids in my father’s pants, and there might be room left over for the dog.”

“Jonathan, this is important. Dippin Donuts is a family business, and our traditions run deep.”

“Hey, I have an idea. Doesn’t my mother still have some of my father’s clothes from when he was younger?”

“I imagine she does. Your mother never throws anything away.’

“True, so true. So does it say anywhere in the bylaws that I have to wear a suit my father wore in his later years, or just one of his suits?”

“I really don’t know. I think we would need to consult the lawyers.”

“Fine. Call Uncle Pinny. I’m sure wearing one of Dad’s suits from when he was svelte will fulfill the requirement. True, they’re off the rack, but I’m happy to take one for the team.”

“Interesting loophole!” Sol agreed. “I’ll call your uncle right away.”

“Thanks, Uncle Sol. Oh, and are there any of those cinnamon doughnut holes left?”

Sol peeked into the bag. “Just two.”

“I’ll take one. I mean, what’s the harm?”

“That’s the spirit, Johnny. You’re going to go far in this business.”

“Thanks.”

“Far and wide.”

By Larry Stiefel

Larry Stiefel is a pediatrician at Tenafly Pediatrics.

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