Small Talk!
By Zushe Kohn

On Friday, my phone rang. At the other end of the line a magazine salesman introduced himself, and said that heíd like to ask me two quick questions.

"Sure," I said, seeing no harm in hearing him out before declining his offer.

"Who is your magazine subscriber?" asked the salesman.

"No one," I replied.

"Uh- you donít get any magazines?

"No, sir.

"Well-uh-how old are you?" He broke his promise about two questions.

I told him my age and he offered to send me ĎTV-Guideí and ĎMotor something-or-anotherí at great bargain prices, with a special free gift.

"Thanks for the offer," I said, trying to sound as appreciative as I could. "But Iím afraid Iím going to decline."

"Why is that? came the prepared question.

"Because I donít watch TV and I have no interest in motors."

"Oh, it doesnít have to be TV Guide," he blurted. "We can send you anything you like. Whatís your field of interest?"

Iíd had some experience in the past in steering such conversations in a different direction.

"Torah," I said.

"Torah? Whatís that?"

"The Jewish Bible. What some people call the Old Testament."

"Oh. Iím afraid we donít have any magazines on that - whatís in it?"

"You mean in Torah magazines?"


I could have started my list with, "Commandments" or "G-d " or "Mysticism or any other aspect of Torah, but I didnít...

"The Messiah..." I began, intending to list the others as well, but the word struck a cord. Before I could say anything else, he interrupted with - "Oh, did you hear what happened in Israel?" (He was referring to the recent bludgeoning of two Israeli teenagers.)

I guess Iím not surprised that Mr. Salesman associated the word ĎMessiahí with ĎIsraelí.

"I sure did," I said.

"Isnít it horrible? Iím not Jewish or anything, but hearing this kind of stuff is really painful."

"Itís terrible," I agreed.

"So whatís going to be there?" Mr. Salesman continued. "Isnít there some kind of a solution or something?"

"Of course there is," I said. "The solution is for the Israeli government to protect its citizens. Thatís the top priority of any government in the world. And, since weíre on the topic, let me add that thereís something every person can do about this situation."

"Whatís that?" he asked. There wasnít the slightest indication of impatience in his voice. In fact, he sounded very curious.

"When G-d gave the Jews their commandments, he also gave the rest of humanity seven commandments to follow. Theyíre known as the Seven Noahide Laws. One of them is the prohibition against stealing."

"Uh-huh." Iím not sure if that meant that he knew of this commandment as one of the Ten Commandments, or that he simply acknowledged the evil of stealing. I think both.

"Obviously," I went on, "this includes stealing the Land of Israel from the Jewish people. The Land belongs to the Jews because G-d gave it to them. Any attempt to remove it from their possession, whether through acts of terror or political pressure, violates this prohibition."


"This fact needs to be brought to peopleís attention. Thatís where you can do something, and get others to do, as well." I paused for a second to let the idea sink in. "Got it?"

"Yes - I do." He sounded sincere.

"Great. Have a nice weekend."

"You too, thanks. Bye."


Iím always amazed at how seemingly trivial events can be utilized in such meaningful, productive ways.

Having trouble putting your thoughts down on paper? Let "QuiteWrite" do it for you. Call 718-771-9612. Ask for Zushe.


"The solution is for the Israeli government to protect its citizens. Thatís the top priority of any government in the world..."




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