Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “God insists that this schlimazel is His.”

 An acquaintance who was the Israeli ambassador to a Muslim African nation told me that one day the imam of the capital city came to him with quite a story.

It turns out that this imam was a Yemenite Jew who, in search of a livelihood, wound up in Africa and did not do so well in business.

But he had an advantage over the locals:

He knew Arabic.

He was therefore hired to read them the Quran until they would learn to read, study, and understand the text like he could.

Eventually, he rose in the ranks to the point that he became the chief imam.

Now that he had reached old age and had accumulated money, he asked the ambassador to somehow convince the authorities to let him make aliya and settle in Israel.

Sure enough, the imam came to Israel and lived in Haifa for several years.

This was a Jew who sold himself as an imam. He recited the Muslim prayers five times a day and read and taught from their holy text.

This, too, could be a Jew’s livelihood.

Even in such a case, God insists that this schlimazel is His.

He is responsible for him.

So He will make sure to pull him out, uproot him from these places, and bring him home.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz