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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 name".

2. I was interested in your sermon regarding Elisha ben Avuyah.
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.

I enclose a copy of the subject from the internet which, Strangely enough, mentions the connection with last Shabbat's parasol portion.

Until we meet again on happy occasions.

Kind Regards,

Naim Dangoor

Rabbi Levy writes:

Dear Naim

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 God.

With warmest regards,

Rabbi Levy





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