Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Variable - Does It Make A Difference?

My wife recently told me a great story about one of her non-Jewish friend's remarkable displays of chutzpah. The story goes something like this:

My wife's friend brought her toddler-aged daughter into the pediatrician with an ear ache. The pediatrician prescribed ear drops and told the mother that he would call in prescription to a local pharmacy. When the mother drove over to the pharmacy later in the day (after the pediatrician's office closed), the pharmacist informed her that that the pediatrician never called the prescription in.

The next morning this woman's daughter was in a lot of pain, so the mother called the pediatrician's office and inquired whether she could come over to pick up the prescription herself. The receptionist told the mother that the office was very busy that day and didn't know if the pediatrician would be able to get to it.

Hearing this, the mother put her children in the mini-van and drove over to the office. She called the receptionist once again using her cell phone and told her that she was now in the parking lot. The mother asked if she could come in and pick up the prescription. The receptionist stone-walled her and told her that all the doctors were very busy and would not be able to attend to this matter now.

Without second-thought, the mother parked her car and took her two toddlers up to the waiting room full of people. The daughter started to cry in pain from her ear ache and her brother who had not yet eaten lunch started complaining loudly as well. Within five minutes, the receptionist brought out the prescription that the mother had been requesting all along.

I have to say, I really admire this mother's chutzpah. She did what was necessary to help her children.

Now, at the same time, I wonder what would happen if I had gone into the doctor's office with my yarmulke on my head and done the same thing. Would my actions be viewed negatively, as a Chilul Hashem, since they would confirm others' stereotypes of Jews as being pushy?

Should the yarmulke on my head dictate that I not do the same thing as this non-Jewish woman? How does this change of this one variable make the difference?

(Picture Courtesy of


At August 31, 2006 at 5:33:00 AM EDT, Blogger Baleboosteh said...

I understand what you are saying and I know being 'obviously' Jewish should make no difference but in the real unfortunately does.

I must put another perspective on this situation though. I have found from my own personal experience that if I was in this lady's situation, I would have been treated the same way - stone walled. BUT, If my husband had have been the one to ring the doctors office in the first place, collecting the prescription would not have been such a drama. I find sometimes that there are different reactions to the same situation depending on whether it's a man or a woman asking.

Oh and by the way, Good for her! :)

At August 31, 2006 at 6:17:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Baleboosteh: I hear you. Recently we had a problem where it wasn't until I called and told them that they were in breach of contract did someone from the company respond. My wife had been calling for two weeks straight and they always kept putting her off.

At August 31, 2006 at 11:46:00 AM EDT, Blogger FrumWithQuestions said...

The pediatrician I go to is Frum and very friendly so I don't think that this would ver occur in this office. However if that happened to me, I would go to a different office, or I would go to the pharmacy, and have the pharmacist call because the doctor would have to answer the phone. That has happened in the past with my wife and the pharmacist was able to help in getting in contact with the doctor. I don't think I would do what this woman would have done. I would have gone elsewhere. I think she did add to that stereo type and probably got a lot of people angry in that office.

At August 31, 2006 at 1:32:00 PM EDT, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

Specifically addressing the last two questions:

1. Yes. The Yarmulka does take away certain avenues. There is no greater disaster than chilul Hashem - the fact that we represent our belief in G-d in all our actiona is incredibly significant.

2. every single thing we ever do makes a difference!

At August 31, 2006 at 1:35:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Aha! Just as I thought, Chabakuk Elisha. That was the conclusion I came to as well.

At August 31, 2006 at 1:42:00 PM EDT, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

Story: My father is friendly with an honest, hard working, Jewish publisher. It so happens that his business was once broken into and things were stolen & damaged.

When the insurance adjuster came to access the damage, he said that unfortunately very little of the loss would be recovered – however, he said, if you break some walls and make it look bad, I can take some photos and you’ll be more likely to recoup the entire loss. He also said that it wouldn’t really be the wrong thing to do, since he was legitimately out the money, and this was the only way to get what he should rightfully have coming.

The publisher said that he wasn’t comfortable with the idea, so the adjuster said, “OK - Call me tomorrow and tell me what you decide.”

The publisher couldn’t sleep all night. First thing the next morning he called the adjuster and said, “Forget it. Just make the claim the way it is and whatever I get, I get.”

“But I’m telling you - you won’t get your money back this way!” The adjuster argued.

‘It doesn’t matter,” said the publisher, “money comes and goes, and it’s all from G-d anyway; but when a Jew does something shady, the damage stays.”

“Wow”, the adjuster replied, “You know, you’re the first guy that ever said no to this proposal. I respect that greatly.”

At September 5, 2006 at 1:00:00 PM EDT, Blogger MC Aryeh said...

I admire the woman's chutzpah in this situation as well, but I think a frum yid does need to be cognizant of how his actions will be perceived, and this would be seen as a chilul HaShem in the eyes of others. There are other ways...

At September 5, 2006 at 1:05:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

I agree


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