Melvin Passed Away…

When Melvin passed away, G-d greeted him and asked. “Are you hungry, Melvin?”

“I could eat,” Melvin replied.

So G-d opened a can of tuna and reached for a chunk of rye bread and they shared it.

While eating this humble meal, Melvin glanced down into the Other Place (Rabbi’s Note: it’s just a joke, we don’t believe in Hell) and saw the inhabitants devouring huge steaks, pheasants, pastries, and fine wines. Curious, but deeply trusting, Melvin remained quiet.

The next day G-d invited Melvin for another meal. Again, it was tuna and rye bread.

Once again looking down, Melvin could see the denizens of Hell enjoying caviar, champagne, truffles, and chocolates. Still, Melvin said nothing.

The following day, mealtime arrived, and G-d opened another can of tuna. Melvin could contain himself no longer. Meekly, he said: “G-d, I am grateful to be in heaven with you as a reward for the pious, obedient life I led. But here in heaven all I get to eat is tuna and a piece of rye bread and in The Other Place they eat like emperors and kings! Forgive me, O G-d, but I just don’t understand.”

G-d sighed: “Let’s be honest, Melvin. For just two people, does it pay to cook?”

So why am I telling you this joke? Too often, we think we’re Melvin. Each of us thinks he or she knows everything. Each of us is the only honest or moral or righteous person. If someone disagrees with anything we say, they’re wrong.

We need to stop thinking we know everything.

When it comes, say, to what is going on in Israel right now, don’t be so sure that you understand everything. Are you so aware of the complexities of the Israeli political system that you know that, as in any evolving democracy, there are reasons to change? Can you see that there are two sides and that a good place to meet would be in the middle? A very nice group is going with me soon on a synagogue trip, and one of the things I’m going to ask of them is to open their minds and listen and open their eyes and see.

But I’m really talking about every subject in our lives. Don’t close your mind. Be prepared to learn. Always be ready to grow.

It’s not just you and G-d eating by yourselves. You’re not the only one in the world.