Rav and Rebbetzin Pam and Halloween

Thursday October 28, 2010 10:31 AM - 25 Comments

rav-pamThis Sunday, October 31, is Halloween. The following inspiring story from Rabbi Akiva Males of Harrisburg, PA, demonstrates that if we are to be light unto the nations, then the nations must have a positive opinion of us. The behavior of Rav Pam and his wife, Rebbetzin Sarah, was because they clearly understood this.

Rabbi Males related:

“My father-in-law studied in Rav Pam’s shiur in Mesivta Torah Vodaas for several years back in the 1960s.

“When my wife’s older sister became engaged in the 1990s, my in-laws took my (future) sister-in-law and my (future) brother-in-law over to meet Rav and Rebbitzen Pam and receive their bracha and good wishes.

“What’s the most vivid memory they all have of that evening?

“It was October 31st. In contrast to the many Jewish homes around the Pams who had turned off their lights to discourage trick-or-treaters, the Pams left their front light on.

“While they all chatted with Rav Pam in the dining room, his Rebbitzen was in the kitchen working the hot-air popcorn popper and preparing plastic baggies of popcorn to give out with a smile to all the local non-Jewish kids who knocked at their door.

“They all left that night with numerous smiles, brachos, and best wishes from Rav Pam and his Rebbitzen - but what they all remember most is the powerful lesson the Pams taught them about interacting with their neighbors.”

{Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}

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25 Responses to “Rav and Rebbetzin Pam and Halloween”

1. Comment from Hashkaffa
Time October 28, 2010 at 11:09 AM

If only ala yidden embraced this hashkaffa! What a kiddish Hashem.

2. Comment from torah is true
Time October 28, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Unfortunately, a lost generation and mesorah of ‘darkai shalom’.

3. Comment from Sheldon
Time October 28, 2010 at 11:43 AM

KOL HAKAVOD to Rav Pam for being moreh derech to the community about how to behave towards our non-Jewish neighbors. Quite frankly, if you need Rav Pam to teach you how to be a decent human being and neighbor, then there is something seriously wrong with you perspective of being a BEN ADAM.

4. Comment from RSG
Time October 28, 2010 at 12:40 PM

The Rosh Yeshiva was also very patriotic. He would always present the American flag on the front of his home on the appropriate days. I think one would call that Hakoras Hatov.

5. Comment from Hashkaffa
Time October 28, 2010 at 1:20 PM

To Sheldon.
Im not sure what you are getting at. Shouldn’t we learn everything from our tzadikim?

6. Comment from Good!
Time October 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Being a good person is as important as being a good Jew.

We are ALL people, even the ones we don’t like. Our neighbors should be treated with respect and kindness; remember, regardless of whether or not your neighbor believes as you do, he still has a say in the type of environment your children will grow up in, you will sit out and enjoy the sun in by your home, and a host of other points which are near and dear to all our hearts by virtue of the fact that he lives next door or near by!

I have learned that my neighbors will respect my own beliefs and customs by simply showing respect that they have their own! Do you want to be perceived as a forlorn angry bearded man who is always serious and a bit scary, or a smiling family man who is warm and willing to open his home and share a story? Which of these people do you think is the better man?

7. Comment from Anonymous
Time October 28, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Rav Pam was a true gadol.

8. Comment from aw
Time October 28, 2010 at 2:25 PM

just shows how much his non-jewish neighbors respected him

9. Comment from Steven
Time October 28, 2010 at 3:17 PM

See here for a great idea that his shul does for Thanksgiving:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxdtDq0UTjE

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4UhQ04fMM8

10. Comment from chochom atik yomin
Time October 28, 2010 at 3:24 PM

its not a mitzva to be “a light to the nations” go teach them sheva mitzvos bnei noach if you believe that. if you are a light, it shines everywhere as rav pams did…

11. Comment from Lakewooder
Time October 28, 2010 at 3:39 PM

When I was a kid, I lived in a mostly non Jewish, or Jewish but, not frum apt. building. My mother used to give out apples to all the door bell ringers, but, apparently the kids preferred nosh, because the next day we’d see dicarded apples all over the hallways of our apt. building.After that first Halloween we just pretended not to be home and kept the lights off (in the room where our front door was, so the light wouldn’t be seen shining under the door and we kept very quiet and disconnected the door bell for that evening so we shouldn’t be disturbed too much. (It was a very big apt. building)

12. Comment from gadol hador
Time October 28, 2010 at 4:03 PM

I miss Rav Pam like you can’t even imagine. Just being in his presence was inspiring. WHat a Yid.

13. Comment from HELLO???
Time October 28, 2010 at 4:04 PM

DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THAT WE ARE IN GOLUS?

I SUSPECT THAT IS WHAT RAV PAM WAS TAECHING US.

A VERY IMPRTANT LESSON!

14. Comment from Talmid
Time October 28, 2010 at 4:15 PM

AH! Der Rosh Yeshiva zt”l. I was by one of the very last shiurim, shiur was suppose to end at 3:30 but the RY went on and on , at 5:45 he asked my chavrusah what the time is , when he answered, the RY said Oy vi loift der tzeit , where does the time fly.

15. Comment from Moish
Time October 28, 2010 at 4:22 PM

How is Rabbetzin Sara Pam doing?

16. Comment from Sheldon
Time October 28, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Dear Hashkafa,

You should always learn from Gedolim. My father Olov HaShalom was a Sheet metal mechanic. He did not learn in any Yeshiva, nor kollel. He was taught basic respect for all people. He would address everyone he saw with a verbal good morning or good evening. He taught me about the value of an honest days labor. He taught me about exceeding your clients expectations.He taught me about caring about hte quality of one’s work.There are certain things that you don’t need a gadol for though it is always nice to watch their behavior.

17. Comment from Anonymous
Time October 28, 2010 at 4:49 PM

what if your neighbors who are collecting candy are jewish?

18. Comment from Anonymous
Time October 28, 2010 at 5:31 PM

#9 Make sure you have Kosher Candy?

19. Comment from Shmuel S.
Time October 28, 2010 at 5:51 PM

For what it’s worth, I learned in Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in Queens, NY.

It was common knowledge that the Rosh HaYeshiva - Rav Henoch Leibowitz, zt”l - and his Rebbitzen, a”h would hand out candy to the local non-Jewish trick or treaters who came to their door (back in Forest Hills there were many non-Jewish neighbors).

Many Yeshiva bochrim lived in their basement over the years and will readily testify to this.

This is part and parcel of being a good neighbor.

BTW, Rav Pam & Rav Henoch were “classmates” as young men & learned under Rav Henoch’s father - Rav Dovid Leibowitz, zt”l - for several years.

Rav Dovid was a very close friend and older Chavrusah of Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky’s back in Slabodka.

Word is that Rav Yaakov, zt”l would also hand out candys to the local non-Jewish trick or treaters.

There’s an easy to follow trail to their attitudes and behaviors.

20. Comment from Hello
Time October 28, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Wait! Lord Mike want’s to check every bag before you give it out to the kids. Make sure there is nothing with sugar in it. Make sure it’s in a biodegradable bag. No soda. Must be in bed by 9 etc…

21. Comment from Hashkaffa
Time October 28, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Sheldon;
Point well taken. I know exactly where you are coming from. I still think plenty of people could learn basic mentchlachkeit in this specific situation from a gadol, because their (not mine!) first inclination would be to say “ah shkutzim and norishkeit” this story might give them poise the next time they want to write off someone.

22. Comment from Shlomo Zehavi
Time October 29, 2010 at 1:48 AM

Akivah, great article, and Hazlocho to you and your Rebbitzen R>S, Unfortunately we miss those holy people like Rav Pam, Rav Yaakov,Rav Ruderman, Reb Shlome Freifeld,Reb Moishe, The Kapishnits, The Blushiver, the Sadovna, Bobover, Satmar Rebbes, Reb Yoshe Ber known as the RAV, and I could go on and on, of the yester year’s holy ones: Zichronom Livrocho, they were Rodef from Kovod, and Machlokos, and thats why they were who they were, machshiv every yid for what he was, didn’t look down, but at them, if they had to say something, they said it in a way, BEAHAVA, they cared, not scolded, you didn’t here of Shiduch Crises, or so many divorces of the younger geneeration when they were around, cause they were able to deal with them before itbecame a problem, They NICKED IT IN THE BUD as the saying goes:
YEHI ZICHROM LEOLOM .

23. Comment from mel
Time October 31, 2010 at 12:28 AM

R’ Akivah Mels I love that story And Menny too.RS

24. Comment from A DC Wonk
Time November 2, 2010 at 12:01 AM

“Word is that Rav Yaakov, zt”l would also hand out candys to the local non-Jewish trick or treaters.”

Yes — actually I heard that too, and then verified it via email with his grandson.

He also told me that Rav Yaakov would also give candy to yidden, and have them come in and he’d teach them how to make a brocho over it.

25. Comment from Pinhas Erez
Time November 2, 2010 at 6:43 PM

What if Halloween falls on Shabbos???

I have a feeling that it was likely common that lots of jews would have given out candy back in the day.
The community has just become more and more insular and overly sensitive. Building walls that just make more fear for those inside of them. My Rav told me the frum world is immature. I believe him.

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