A Joke about Israel that Gave me Goosebumps

A Joke about Israel that Gave me Goosebumps
This Shabbat my daughter and some friends visited a nursing home where they met 99-year-old Saba Kalman. Saba Kalman told them about how he grew up in a small town in Poland and was transported to Auschwitz at 17. And how, after the war, he snuck past the British blockade on the bottom of a fishing boat, hiding underneath that day’s catch with a crowd of other survivors.
When the refugees made it to the Haifa port, they were taken by bus to a Moshav. Even 76 years later, Saba Kalman clearly remembers the strong fragrance of the orange orchards they walked through on the way to their host families. It was, Saba Kalman said, the most beautiful scent he had ever smelled.
Saba Kalman’s hostess presented him with an entire loaf of bread, from which she invited him to cut off a slice. This was the first time in many years, he reminisced, that he would have an entire slice of bread to eat.
Then his hostess told him she had turned on the water boiler for him, and invited him to take a hot shower.
And that night, well-fed, his body clean, and lying on clean sheets for the first time in many, many years, he told my daughter and her friends that he hadn’t wanted to close his eyes that night because he was terrified that he was dreaming. And if he closed his eyes and fell asleep, the dream might stop.
That, he told my daughter and her friends, is what Israel still feels like to him. “If you live in Israel and you don’t believe in miracles, you aren’t a realist.”
This past Friday night we heard a joke from our wonderful guest, Yehuda from LA. It was the first joke I’ve ever heard that gave me goosebumps:
“There was once a tourist who went on a tour of the Vatican led by a priest. The tourist noticed a pay phone, and asked the priest what this phone was for. The priest answered, ‘With this phone you can make a direct call to God.”
‘Really?! How much does a call cost?’
‘$2000,” the priest answered.
The tourist’s next stop after the Vatican was Israel, and when he visited the Western Wall he noticed a similar pay phone.
He asked the rabbi standing by the phone, “How much does a call cost?”
“1 Shekel,” the rabbi answered.
Surprised, the tourist asked, “That’s interesting, I was just in the Vatican, and they told me there that a direct call to God costs $2000! How come it only costs 1 Shekel here?”
The Rabbi pondered the question and then answered, “I guess because here it is a local call.”
Shavua tov!

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