how late would you call a rabbi?

Or anyone else, for that matter?

When the phone rings late at night, my heart starts beating faster and faster until I see the caller ID, and then it slows down or not, depending on the number. I’ve written a few times now (you can look at this one and then go back through the rabbit holes, if you want) how I treasure that caller ID so much. In our line of work, it’s a valuable way to make technology work for us, and not the other way around.

There have been plenty of times when the phone has rang in the middle of the night or early in the morning for the saddest of reasons. And we needed to know. But need-to-know is the right approach on this one.

So the other night, when the phone rang at 11 p.m., my heart did the extra-beating thing until we looked at the caller ID.

I feel like outing this person, really, but I won’t, because then it will probably boomerang back to me, so it’s not worth it. I will just use my so-called anonymity to vent safely here.

Thanks for listening, by the way.

It was not a recognized name and he was calling from an out-of-town number, so we let it go to voice mail.

“I’m calling about a shidduch for so-and-so”….

Really???? At 11 p.m.? Something that I don’t believe in, anyway? If you want to find out about a person for the sake of marriage, meet them and get to know them! And don’t waste my time or my heartbeats!

The phone rings again the next night, about the same time.

This time, I pick up the phone.

Oh, by the way, I checked after the first late call to see if I’m mistaken–about not calling a home after 10 p.m., except for an emergency or a family matter. I’m not. A random sampling of phone etiquette (latest time to call a home) even now shows the same thing:

Most people would agree that you should not call a person’s house after 9 or 10 pm.


Generally, phone calls should not be made before 7:00am and after 10:00pm.

With that in mind, I’m not in a good mood.


“Is Rabbi ISHI there?”

(Mind you, the same phone etiquette piece quoted above says

If you should have to break the 10:00pm rule than you need to have proper phone manners. By this I mean start your conversation with a statement like “I hope I didn’t wake you,” or “I hope I’m not calling too late.” This at least lets the person know that you are aware of the time and that you are not being inconsiderate. Furthermore have a good reason for calling at such a time. )

“Who’s calling, please?”

“It’s a personal matter.”

Now I decide to take off the gloves. I must admit I was not very kind, nor did I want to be.

“Do you realize what time it is? What kind of chutzpah do you have for calling this late? Is it an emergency? You have no right to call at this time!”

And I continued for a while. Or maybe that’s all I said out loud, but I thought about adding a whole lot more in my head.

And then I hung up.

He called back the next day actually a few times.

During daylight.

ISHI wasn’t home. I sure didn’t pick up the phone. I sure as anything wouldn’t give him ISHI’s cell. He’ll have to wait until we’re ready to talk.


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