When Rabbi Mayer Took Me to The Circus

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By Rabbi Yechiel Spero

Inspiration Daily, A Project of Yeshiva Ateres Shimon

Hello everybody and welcome to Inspiration Daily. So as you might have heard, after 146 years I believe it is, the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus is finally closing down. They are shutting the show forever. While the last number of years, maybe the last many of years, most people didn’t go to the circus because it’s not tznius or for whatever reason it is, 40 years ago I went to the circus. When I heard the circus was closing, I was filled with nostalgia. It’s not so much that I loved the elephants or the trapeze act, though I’m sure as a kid I enjoyed that, but I remember when I was in 3rd grade, my 3rd grade Rebbe, Rabbi Harry Mayer in Hebrew Academy of Cleveland came over to me one day. He said, “Yechiel, would you like to go to the circus?” Now R’ Mayer ran a special incentive program. This was really before incentives were in style. R’ Mayer had a card that he would give each boy. If you answered the question well, he would punch a hole in your ticket. If you earned 50 punches, then you would be rewarded. He would take us on fantastic trips. So he came over to me and asked if I wanted to go. I said, “R’ Mayer, I only I have 42 holes on my ticket”. He said, “That’s alright, you are a great kid and I want to take you anyway”, and he took me to the circus that night.

I can tell you, I don’t remember the circus show from that evening, but now some 40 years later when I heard the circus was closing, it brought a smile to my face thinking about the kindness and warmth that R’ Mayer showed to a 3rd grade boy. I think it teaches me as a Rebbe, and you as the listeners of this Inspiration Daily, a great lesson.

If you do an act of kindness and warmth, whether it’s for a student of yours or your own child, or maybe to a stranger, perhaps at the moment it will make a roshem, maybe not. But little do you know that 40 years later, it will still bring a smile to their face.

So I’d like to thank R’ Mayer. I’ve told this memory to him a number of times. I hope it inspires someone out there to make a child’s day just a little bit brighter today. For that, it would have all been worth it. Have a great day and a great rest of your week.



  1. My husband lost one of our kids at the circus but found him gezunt UN stark. I’m glad the circus is closing so other parants won’t suffer like we did for 20 minutes.

  2. mrs flatbush- along those same lines, you’d be glad every time a mall closes, because children have gotten lost at a mall…


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