Ear­li­er this week Rav Ron Yitz­chok Eisen­man wrote about an unex­pect­ed Hava Nageela moment and about his dis­dain for the phrase: How’s Every­thing?” He has been blog­ging here all week for Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ing.

Have you ever been bageled’?

Bageling,” is:

the con­scious act – or speech — of a non-obvi­ous­ly look­ing Jew­ish indi­vid­ual to an obvi­ous­ly look­ing Jew intend­ed to indi­cate that he or she is also Jew­ish; or, the con­scious act of a non-Jew towards a Jew to indi­cate his or her affin­i­ty with the Jew­ish people.

An exam­ple of the for­mer is when I was on the plane back from Den­ver and a bare-head­ed Jew came over to me and said Shalom. He was bageling’ me. He was attempt­ing to indi­cate with the word Shalom that he too is one of the tribe.

I am sure that many of us have been bageled before. Often all of us have been approached by indi­vid­u­als –Jew­ish and non-Jews- and befriend­ed or just greet­ed in order to inform us that the per­son stand­ing before us would like to con­nect with us.

In the lat­ter case of a non-Jew, the act of being bageled can be as inno­cent as the non-Jew also say­ing Shalom or some­times — as hap­pened to me at the air­port in Den­ver- much weight­i­er and significant.

So sit back, relax and lis­ten to one more tale of the trav­els of Rab­bi Eisen­man’.

My least favorite part of fly­ing is the secu­ri­ty check point. Believe it or not- I enjoy the actu­al flight. After all, I have hours of unin­ter­rupt­ible time by myself; what could be better?

How­ev­er, the secu­ri­ty check point is always uncom­fort­able for me. I do my best to emp­ty every­thing in my pock­ets, hop­ing that the met­al detec­tor alarm will not sound, as I do not want every­one see­ing the rab­bi’ hav­ing to under­go the wand’ treat­ment.

As I was approach­ing the secu­ri­ty machine in Den­ver I was quite con­scious of the fact that I was the most obvi­ous­ly look­ing Jew in the air­port at the time. I emp­tied my pock­ets and wait­ed for the guard on the oth­er side of the met­al detec­tor to sig­nal me to begin the shoe-less, belt-less, cell phone-less stroll through the met­al detec­tor door­way to the free­dom of the plane.

The offi­cer on the oth­er side of the detec­tor was big. He was about six feet three and trim, fit and very stern look­ing. As I wait­ed to be instruct­ed to begin my walk, I won­dered silent­ly if he was phys­i­cal­ly capa­ble of smiling.

He slow­ly lift­ed his fin­gers ever so slight­ly and indi­cat­ed that I was now to pro­ceed through the invis­i­ble aura which sees all.

I walked through and looked up at my pro­tec­tor expect­ing and hop­ing for the nod’ which would allow me to pro­ceed with­out fur­ther delay.

How­ev­er, it was not to be. 

Offi­cer Cheer­ful-face indi­cat­ed that I must approach him.

I slow­ly neared my defend­er of the home­land’ with both trep­i­da­tion and nervousness. 

Will I be whisked off to Git­mo, nev­er to be seen again? 

Will I become the next poster child for the Agudah? 

Will prayer ral­lies be held on my behalf? 

Will the very same please for­ward to every­one you know’ emails that I have pre­cious­ly railed against now be splashed all over the vir­tu­al world for my quick and imme­di­ate release?

Will the young girls in Bais Ya’akovs all across the globe know my Hebrew name by heart as their pris­tine and sin­less lips fer­vid­ly say Tehillim for my redemption?

Will I now write books from the inside of a prison cell in Guan­tanamo Bay?”

I was now face to face with the law. 

He slow­ly looked me in the eye and then, in a move which no doubt would strike fear in the hearts of the might­i­est of men, he motioned to me to come very, very close to him. He then began to look from side to side.

What is going to hap­pen to me now?

If the per­son who is sup­posed to be my pro­tec­tor is now mak­ing sure no one else is look­ing and that no one else can hear us, what is he plan­ning to do? 

Could it be that he is secret­ly relat­ed to a cho­ler­ic and cross con­gre­gant who still bears a grudge against the rab­bi for his not get­ting Shlishi’ last Shab­bos?

Could it be that he is real­ly a secret admir­er of Osama Bin Laden and he has mis­tak­en me as a fel­low Taliban?’

Final­ly, after his being con­vinced that no one else could hear us, he began his mur­mured divulgence:

Amer­i­ca must sup­port Israel! The only hope for Amer­i­ca is when we and Israel are total­ly in sync and when there is no dif­fer­ence between our inter­ests and that of Israel. That is the only hope for our coun­try. I just want­ed you to know this!” 

I nod­ded and, as quick­ly as my lit­tle legs could trans­port me, I pro­ceed­ed to the plane.

Friends, I was just super bageled; with cream cheese and lox as well!

Rav Ron Yitz­chok Eisen­man’s The Ele­phant in the Room is now avail­able.