• Suzanne Farrell, a ballerina with the New York City Ballet, suffered from arthritis late in her career. Out of frustration, and because of the insistence of her mother, she went to a faith healer. Like the other sufferers, she sank to the floor when the faith healer touched her, and while she lay on the floor, she prayed to God to heal her. It didn’t work. When she got off the floor, her hip was still sore, and eventually she received a hip replacement operation.
• Conductor Jeffrey Tate suffers from spina bifida and kypho-scoliosis, which have caused his curved spine. His mother, of course, had hoped for an entirely healthy baby, and after he was born, she wondered why God had allowed this to happen. Unfortunately, a local vicar told her, “You know, if your faith were strong enough, Jeffrey would be made whole.” Of course, she did not return to that church until years afterward.
• Rabbi Yannai once met a young man who was dressed like a student, so he invited him to dine at his house. While eating, he questioned the young man about various religious topics, but discovered that the young man knew nothing about them. Eventually, Rabbi Yannai asked the young man to say a blessing over wine, but the young man said that was the duty of the host. Rabbi Yannai then asked the young man if he would repeat what he was told. The young man agreed, and Rabbi Yannai said, “A dog has eaten Yannai’s bread.” Angered by the insult, the young man grabbed Rabbi Yannai by the throat, and Rabbi Yannai asked, “What merit have you that you have eaten at my table?” The young man replied, “Only this — that I have never gone out of my way to be churlish and that I have never seen two men quarreling whom I did not try to reconcile.” Rabbi Yannai cried, “Woe that I have called such a one as you a dog!”
• Rabbi Judah Ha-Nasi decided during a famine to feed any hungry person who showed a good knowledge of the Scriptures. A stranger came to his door asking for food, but when Rabbi Judah asked if the man understood the Torah, the stranger replied that he had no knowledge of it, and so Rabbi Judah declined to feed him. After the stranger had departed, Rabbi Judah’s son wondered aloud whether the stranger had said that he had no knowledge of the Torah only because he had not wanted to use it as a means to get food. Rabbi Judah thought about his son’s remark, then investigated to find out who the stranger was. He discovered that the stranger was an important Torah scholar, Rabbi Jonathan ben Amram. Thereafter, Rabbi Judah fed anyone who was hungry.
• In 1949, Monsignor Angelo Roncalli (who was later to be Pope John XXIII) was surprised to hear a knock on his door. Because his cook wasn’t working that evening, he answered the door himself and saw Francisque Gay of the French diplomatic corps. Suddenly, Monsignor Roncalli remembered that he had invited Mr. Gay and a few other VIPs to dine with him, and so he and Mr. Gay went into the kitchen and quickly prepared the meal. That evening, Monsignor Roncalli served a polenta, explaining to his guests, “Back home they call it the ‘Lord’s dish.’ They call it that because you can always find a little cornmeal and a drop of olive oil in any house, no matter how poor it might be.”
• It’s not unusual for major league baseball players to criticize an umpire. American League umpire Red Jones got tired of being called “Meathead” by the Chicago White Sox bench, so he cleared the entire bench. The next day Mr. Jones was scheduled to umpire another White Sox game, but just before the game started the White Sox bench sang out in unison, “Oh, Mr. Umpire, you won’t have any trouble with us today.” Mr. Jones replied that he was happy to hear the news, then he asked them why they were so sure that they would leave him alone. The White Sox bench sang out, “We can’t call you ‘Meathead’ today because it’s Friday.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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