Uncle Moishe and I were reminiscing on the phone last week about the good old days. We were talking about Unc’s brother Saul’s son Benny, who had trouble keeping a girl friend when he was in his early twenties. Unc reminded me of the time Benny was in Shul on Shabbous and Rabbi Levy noticed how sad Benny looked. At the end of the service the Rabbi asked Benny what seems to be wrong and offered to help, whatever it was. Benny said he didn’t know what to do. He explained to the Rabbi that every time he brings a girl home to meet his parents, no matter how wonderful she is, his mother doesn’t like her.
Rabbi Levy said to Benny that he’d heard this same story many, many times before and had a tried and tested solution. He tells Benny that the next time he chooses a girl make sure she looks like your mother, talks like your mother, laughs like your mother, cooks and even dresses like your mother. Believe me, the Rabbi told him, if you find such a girl your mother will love her.
Now, I’ve heard this story many times before. It has become family lore. Unc loves telling it and I never get tired of hearing it. Well, many weeks went by until Rabbi Levy saw Benny in Shul and Benny looked even more sad and dejected than before. After the service Rabbi Levy asked Benny what was wrong, couldn’t you find someone like your mother? Benny looked forlornly at Rabbi Levy and told him that miraculously he had found a girl just like his mother. So, said Rabbi slapping Benny’s knee, everything should have worked out for you, no? Benny wailed, “No Rabbi, it didn’t. My father didn’t like her!”