A YOM KIPPUR HERO?
By Rabbi Allen S. Maller
Once there was a man who had a wonderful wife. She was kind, loving, intelligent and very Jewish. Her husband always told his friends that his wife was a gift from God just as it says in the Bible, “You can inherit a house and riches, but an admirable wife is a gift from God.” (Proverbs 19:14)
One day, about a week before Rosh Hashanah-the Jewish New Year, this man was in the marketplace when he saw a very beautiful and unusual cloth in a store. He thought it would make a marvelous dress for his wife for the New Year. The cloth was very expensive because there was no other cloth like it in the entire land. The man bought it and took it to a tailor to have it made into a dress for his wife.
A few days later when his wife came to the tailor’s shop to be fitted for the dress, a tall blond psychic happened to be in the store. The man’s wife was not only very kind, loving, intelligent and Jewish she was also very beautiful and the psychic wanted to trap her for himself.
He told her all about his abilities: his charms, his powers, and his wealth. She was not impressed. He told her that he could fly and dance on the clouds. She asked him how much Torah he knew, and how much Tsadakah he gave to charity. He could see that he was not getting anywhere with her. When the tailor finished fitting her for her new dress she left the shop telling the psychic that she preferred a mentch like her husband to a man of magic.
The psychic went to the tailor and told him that he would pay the tailor one thousand dollars if, after the tailor finished making the dress, he would give him the dress for one night. The tailor, who was a greedy man, agreed.
When the psychic got the dress he took it to his house. He blew cigarette smoke on it. He sprinkled alcohol on it. He threw a white powder drug on it. Then the psychic placed a statue of his God on the dress and said magical words over it. When he finished he returned the dress to the tailor who then delivered the dress to the man’s wife.
It was now a few days after Rosh Hashanah so the wife decided to wear her special new dress for Yom Kippur- the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year.
On the eve of Yom Kippur when the two of them had finished eating dinner, she went to put on her new dress for the first time. Suddenly a strange desire began to come over her. She told her husband that he should go to the synagogue without her because she was feeling faint and needed to rest a little. She would join him later. He didn’t want to leave her but she insisted and finally he went without her.
Soon after he left she felt an overwhelming urge to leave her home and walk the streets. A few minutes later she found herself in front of the house where the psychic lived. He saw her through the window and invited her in. In a trance she walked into his house. He sat her down and gave her something to drink and something to smoke. She realized that it was now Yom Kippur evening and that she should not eat or drink or smoke. She didn’t want to do it but he kept on urging her and after a while she gave in.
Then the psychic told her how beautiful her dress was. He wanted her to take it off so he could examine it. She didn’t want to do that either but he kept on urging her and after a while she gave in. In the back of her mind she kept thinking, “Tonight is Yom Kippur and I should not be doing any of these things. Something is very wrong here.”
Then she came to herself and realized what she had been about to do all unaware. She threw away the drink and the cigarette and demanded her dress back. The psychic refused to return it to her. He told her that if she wanted to escape she would have to run through the streets in her underwear. Then she would be embarrassed and everybody would think she was a fool.
She told him that if she stayed with him and did what he wanted her to do, she would be a bigger fool. She ran out the door and through the streets to her home. Fortunately there were no people on the streets and she arrived home without being seen. She collapsed on her bed sobbing.
A few minutes later her husband arrived home and found her crying. He thought it was because she was sick. She could have said nothing and he would never have known what had happened, but she thought to herself that it was Yom Kippur and it was very important to tell him everything. He was very upset when he heard about it. He couldn’t understand what had come over her and she couldn’t explain it. However, since it was Yom Kippur he forgave her and thanked God that she had come to her senses and had escaped from the psychic. Her honesty and his forgiveness brought them even closer together, and they loved each other more than ever.
A few days later the husband passed by the tailor shop and was amazed to see his wife’s dress for sale. He asked the tailor how he got the dress and the tailor told him that the blond psychic had sold it to him. The husband went back to the man who sold him the cloth. He swore that there was not another piece of cloth like that one in the whole land. Together they went to the police. The husband accused the psychic of stealing the dress, and the tailor of selling stolen goods. The police arrested both of them. The psychic couldn’t tell the police the truth, for then he would be charged with kidnapping, so he blamed it all on the tailor. The tailor in turn blamed everything on the psychic. They both went to jail.
The man continued to praise his wife to everyone he knew, but now to all her other virtues he added another one. He told everybody that she practiced the values of Yom Kippur better than anyone in the whole land did. She was truly a hero of Yom Kippur.