Your sermon regarding Rabbi Meir Baalhanness was very
interesting to me and you may like to hear the following
anecdotes which came to my mind.
1. I was born on the eve of Passover when I was already
overdue and my mother's family were asking her to try and
delay the birth until after Passover in order not to spoil
their holiday, but apparently I had different ideas. As
the house was cleaned up and utensils were completely sterilized
and all breadcrumbs were burnt I made my appearance. Apparently
something miraculous happened on my birth that it was decided
to name me after Rabbi Meir Baalhanness, and I was named
'Meir Naim'. On one of my visits to Israel I made a point
of visiting the grave of Rabbi Meir to pay homage to my
namesake and I was asked by the caretaker if I wanted a
mishaberach. Seeing the desolate nature of the surroundings
I paid him my due but told him that I did not want the mishaberach.
Ten minutes later I heard him recite a mishaberach in the
name of 'Naim'. I told him 'I did not give you my name',
how did you know that I was called, to which he replied,
I did not know you were called Naim but your taxi driver
came to me and said if he doesn't want the mishaberach,
can you do it for me? When we asked the taxi driver his
name he said it was Naim (A 'chance in a million) When I
recalled the story to my late Mother she said, ''In fact
Rabbi Meir made sure that a mishaberach was made in your
2. I was interested in your sermon regarding Elisha ben
My son Michael, asked me one day, what do you think of an
association which has been formed in Israel calling itself
Jews who don't believe in God''? I replied as follows: The
first of the Ten Commandments says "I am the Lord your
god"; but it doesn't say you have to believe in Me.
God is too great to force us to believe in Him. The situation
becomes clear in the 2nd Commandment which says: ''You must
not have another God beside me. In other words, not to believe
in God is not a sin in the eyes of God, but to believe in
other Gods - that is a sin. It appears that ''Aher'' at
least did not adopt another religion and that we should
clear him from committing an act that may not be regarded
by the Almighty as a mortal sin.
enclose a copy of the subject from the internet which, Strangely
enough, mentions the connection with last Shabbat's parasol
Until we meet again on happy occasions.
Rabbi Levy writes:
How kind of you to take the trouble to write to me concerning
the sermon I delivered on Shavuot.
In addition I was happy to read that you enjoyed Rabbi Elia's
rendition of the special hymn sung on this festival.
The personality of Elisha ben Avuya has always fascinated
me as I think we can learn much from his life and personality
that is relevant to today's Jewish world.
After I gave the sermon some of those present in the congregation
were surprised at the emphasis placed by Sephardim (including
members of our own Kahal) on going to pray at the grave
of rabbis such as Rabbi Meir. I always admire the fact that
Sephardim with barely any religious observance are so keen
to travel to the grave of Rabbi Meir to ask for his intervention
With warmest regards,
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