Thursday, June 16, 2005

An Arab shamed me into observing Shabbos

Last Thursday, my flight home on Northwest Airlines was cancelled becuase of mechanical problems. They put me on the next flight, but they "forgot" to do the same with my checked baggage, which arrived home Friday morning. Of course, I was at work, so I asked them to deliver it in the afternoon, when I got home. Of course, like all such delivery services, they couldn't guarantee a time.

Anyway, the knock on the door came at about 9 PM, right before dinner. I opened the door, and there was this Arabic looking guy who had my suitcase. He says (with anArabic accent), "please sign here, sir," and then notices the yarmulke I was wearing. "Oh, you don't have to sign if you don't want."

Now I am pretty much a heretic when it comes to matters of halacha, and I'd have no problem signing anything, but somehow I got shamed by the thought that this Arab guy probably thinks I'm Orthodox because I'm wearing a yarmulke, and if I sign the damn thing, he'll go home and start speaking lashon hara about the "Orthodox Jew" who violated the Sabbath. So I was shamed into observing Shabbos in an halachic manner by an Arab.

However, I am impressed by Northwest Airlines, who have obviously trained their employees to have enough cultural sensitivity to undertsand that Jews aren't supposed to sign documents on Shabbos and make allowances for it. Such philo-semitism completely counteracts my annoyance at them for the delayed flight, the damn center seat in the last row they forced me into (I had an aisle seat at the front on the plane that was cancelled), and the rotgut Chilean wine they serve on board and have the nerve to charge $5. Not to mention the turbulence.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Judi said...

That is so cool. Thanks for sharing it.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I wonder if the guy was told by NW Airlines about Shabbat-observing Jews, or if he learned it from Jewish neighbors in the U.S. (or maybe he was even a Palestinian who had worked for Jews in Israel?)

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And you are My witnesses, says HaShem, and I am G-d" (Isaiah 43.12).
Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai taught, "If you are 'my witnesses,' I am HaShem, and if you are not my witnesses, I am not, as it were, HaShem." (Pesikta de Rab Kahana 102b)
You didn't sign: you testified, and truthfully. CHazak!
--DANIEL

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