Now when I look back on it I realize it must have seemed very funny to the adults involved but it left a huge impression on me.After all these years I can still feel the physical sensations of utter terror when it registered in my little child brain what I had done.
It was a Saturday afternoon in mid-August and I was riding my bike down the road towards the Synagogue with my cousin who was 18 months my senior. I wasn't paying much attention and I looked up just in time to avoid riding into a giant, clad all in Black,our Rabbi.I had no reason to fear him,for this was a man who was jolly ,happy and warm all the time with pockets full of candy for the kids.
He stopped us and we started to speak with him. He asked me if I was starting Hebrew school in September and I said yes I was. My cousin looked at me and asked me how i could be starting Hebrew school in September when he was and I was only 5. The day progressed into child's play and I didn't think anymore about it until my dad came home that night. I asked my him if I was starting Hebrew School in September and he said no ,next year I was too young now. I could not believe it and fear ran thru me so bad I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I was so scared I just could not tell my dad. I had lied to a Rabbi ,and the very same Rabbi who lived right across the street.You just can not imagine the absolute terror I felt as a 5 year old child with no ability to process the fear.
Finally at 2 AM my dad heard me crying and came to see what was wrong. I was still afraid to say,but somehow I did. I was inconsolable,just terrified even after my dad told me it was just a mistake and he would talk to Rav Lebowitz in the morning. I wasn't having any of it ,I was hysterical with fear.
At 2 AM my dad had to wake the Rav up so he could hear what terrible lie I had told him. To this day I still remember how he did not make fun of it but treated it with great seriousness lots of hugs and much candy too.After all these years I have no idea what could have made a 5 year old so afraid of lying and most especially to a Rabbi. My dad raised us as devout atheists with no respect for religion at all.Until the day he died the Rabbi would see me and tell the story to anyone around.He just never could get over a child that little with a conscience that big,and one that would grow to cause me many many problems in the future. I don't know what reminded me of this story ,I had set out to tell the story of an industrious carpenter bee I had watched an entire summer boring perfect holes in a piece of wood.
The picture is of a meeting between The head Rabbi of Jerusalem and Holocaust survivor Rabbi Yisrael Lau and The Dali Lama