You probably know the story that I’m referring to, but just in case, here it is. Now, even though, of course, Rabbi Krohn states that this is a true story, he is a story-teller, and for us story-tellers, all stories are true. It doesn’t matter, really, because it’s the point of the story that counts.
Now I have a story that is truly true, that happened on Shemini Atzeret here in my shul. I know it’s true, not because I witnessed it but because ISHI did and he told me and he would NEVER make something up. He doesn’t need to; he’s a congregational rabbi and he’s seen it all, pretty much.
The reason that I didn’t see it is because it happened on the men’s side of the mechitzah, but also moreso because I had already gone home to get ready for lunch (Was it going to rain? Would we eat inside or outside?). It was after shul was over and they were , as has become our minhag the past few years, to auction off the aliyot and various kibbudim of Simchat Torah. Now the other thing is that is fascinating is that this is all pretty much prearranged; the old boys’ network has worked very hard behind the scenes previous to this to put all the honors into place, including how much each honor would go for. So why do it? Why waste everyone’s time? ISHI said otherwise, they wouldn’t do it.
“Are you saying that men need to have the honor in public? Is is that they need to flaunt something or other? ”
I don’t think women act like that; I certainly don’t. But then again, we know that men give more money for tzedakah than women do. Yes, mostly it’s because they have more money to begin with, but we women are much more closed-fisted than men in general. After all, who is it that does the most coupon-cutting and bargain-hunting? So why would we just give money away?
Although I am not saying that we don’t give appropriately to support tzedakah organizations; I just think we’re much more cautious.
Oh yeah, back to the true story.
So, remembering that this is mostly for show, the auctioneer starts off with the auction, in Yiddish, mind you. Tradition, after all.
But there is something curious going on. There’s a young man with autism in our shul who has a particular tic of rasing his hands at various times. Wouldn’t you know it; he’s got auction fever! He’s bidding with the rest of the old boys! And he’s raising up the bids! I really wish I could have seen it; I don’t know if anyone was really aware of it or reacting to it, but he really became part of the scene!
No, he didn’t get any of the honors.
But we were honoring him by letting him be part of our kehillah, just one of the guys.
And wouldn’t you know it, they raised more money than ever before!