Friday, June 10, 2011

Proper care and feeding of the Rabbi

I wrote this in a different forum quite a few years ago, and still get a smile out of reading it...

So you are the proud recipients of a new Rabbi; congratulations!

Doubtless your community is excited at the opportunity to enjoy hours of endless fun with your fresh-out-of-the-package, dynamic new rabbi, but please take a moment to read the following guidelines. Following these simple and inexpensive tips could add years of life to your rabbi, and help make your experience much more fun and fulfilling.

First, do not allow your rabbi’s batteries to run down entirely before permitting them time to recharge.
Communities have trouble knowing when, exactly, to recharge their rabbi’s batteries, particularly because most models do not come with built-in charge readouts. Further, communities are loathe to permit their rabbis too much time off.
Fortunately, there is a simple, creative solution: Create periodic Rabbinic Off-Shabbos Weekends, in which the rabbi remains in town and is in his usual on-call mode, but he is relieved of responsibility for speeches, classes and krias haTorah. Such weekends should be instituted by the board, to reduce any rabbinic guilt feelings associated with taking a break.

Second, eliminate causes of daily exhaustion for your rabbi’s batteries.
Tests show that the primary daily drain for many rabbinic batteries comes from making sure that the synagogue maintains a viable morning and evening minyan. Allowing this frequent insult to your rabbi’s power cells fairly guarantees their early demise.
Be smart; require that your board members take weekly shifts at the minyan. Your rabbi will thank you for it.

Third, avoid stress loads beyond the recommended maximums.
Our recommended maximums apply only to new models in their first six months; following this "honeymoon" period, acceptable levels drop precipitously. This is a particularly great hazard within 50 miles of Brooklyn. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the stress burden upon your rabbi's systems.
For example: Remember that your rabbi is designed to enforce halachah (Jewish law) within your synagogue and community. If you continually badger your rabbi for leniencies, you cause a great burden of stress for his internal circuitry. This could lead to system-wide disruptions and even short circuits.
A second example: In maximizing rabbinic sensitivity, engineers leave rabbinic empathy circuits in a state of heightened emotional vulnerability. Repeated exposure to complaints will shorten the life of your rabbi’s systems. Please make sure to protect your rabbi from repeated outbursts of whining.

Finally, remember that your rabbi’s batteries have the ability to recharge “on the fly” by exposure to repeated praise.
Do not fear overloading the charge capacity; this has yet to be accomplished in the entire history of our product line. If you are unsure whether the compliments are justified, appropriate or welcome, err on the side of offering praise; you will not regret it.

Thank you for purchasing our product. Remember, there are no refunds. However, we do specialize in product exchanges; call now to have a new rabbi in place by Rosh HaShanah!


  1. Does this product line also include a care-and-feeding manual for the matching Rebbetzin model?

  2. Excellent.
    On the responsibility of the Rabbi is to know his own battery capacity and set boundaries BEFORE
    reaching it.

  3. Shalom-
    A good thought...

    Daat y-
    Yes, that's also a requirement - but without communal buy-in, it's insufficient.

  4. If one does not see those potential characteristics in that congregation,I would recommend not taking that position.

  5. The same goes for many "service" and "education" workers. Rabbis have an extra tough job, becuase davka the Holidays demand extra work, not vacation time.