Rav & Rebbitzen Pam and Halloween

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rav-pamThis weekend, 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. Professor Yitzchok Levine, who shared this story, commented that he understands that the behavior of Rav Pam and his wife, Rebbetzin Sarah, was because they clearly understood this.

Rabbi Wales 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}


  1. Not surprising that this story should ignite the Males family of Harrisburg, Penn., they are the exact duplicates with their smiling faces, outstregthed hands, and concern for all. I believe that Rabbi Akiva Males had a special celebration (maybe it was thanksgiving) with the policemen/firemen over at their station house. Pleasantness of torah is the only way to light up the world.. Kudoa.

  2. My next door neighbors in Detroit also left on their light on Hallowen and gave out nosh. It is a predominently Jewish neighborhood. My neighbors would ask the kids if they were Jewish and if they answered in the affirmative they would make a bracha with them on the candy. Obviously they also gave out nosh to all the non-Jews.

  3. Dear Matzav, my brother in law who was at Rav Pam’s home that night just e-mailed me to let me know this story is on your site.

    Amazing how fast things spread these days. I have received a number of e-mails and phone calls asking me to confirm this story.

    I don’t know what to make of the fact that so many people are so surprised by this incident.

    Another quick incident: Last year my wife & I forgot to buy candy before Halloween. All we had was a ton of pareve chocolate “gelt” coins left over from the previous Chanukah which we put into a serving bowl.

    When the doorbell would ring we said “Hi” to the local kids and offered them a chocolate.

    The kids were puzzled – as chocolate “gelt” isn’t something they normally see.

    One kid even remarked, “Woah! You’re giving out money?!”

    All the best,

    Akiva Males
    Harrisburg, PA

  4. Beautiful story.
    However, stay street smart.
    Always be cautious before opening your home door.
    Look to see who is there & if they pose any threat.
    If no problem, by all means, give out candy & be nice to your neighbor’s kids.

  5. How appropriate to hear such a story from Rav Akiva Males, who he himself is such an incredible Baal Midos – a Tzaddik in our time!

  6. I think the differences btwn the way Yidden act in this matter boils down to the types of neighborhoods they live in.

    When living in a rough neighborhood, people use caution.

    If living in a neighborhood that looks like something out of a “Land’s End” or “L.L. Bean” catalog, people let down their gaurds.

  7. The City of Harrisburg has truly been blessed to have outstanding Rabbanim over the last 100 years. There is something so special about the Harrisburg community.

  8. I love stories like this… Rav Pam was a shining example of a mentch and a baal middos.

    To whoever left comment #10- you are a disgrace. Have you nothing positive to say about this story other than injecting your own misspelled comments that have no relevance?


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