I went to Hotham Street today to look for donkey droppings. There were none. Would the dancer/s be sad or discouraged?
There were two dancers this morning – Springheel Jack, closely shaven, waving his smiley face flag; and a shorter man, bearded, rounded, waving a Messiah flag. This man was aged perhaps fifty. I stopped and talked with them.
Blogberg: Good morning, gentlemen. Would you mind telling me about the older dancer who used to dance every day – the one with a white beard? I haven’t seen him for a while. Is he well?
Springheel – in ocker accents: Thank God, he’s very well. He’s staying home to look after his mother.
Blogberg: Golly, she must be old.
Springer: She’s older than he is.
Your blogger – Berg: Please excuse my curiosity – do you mind if I ask – why do you dance?
Springman: The Rebbe – you’ve heard of the Rebbe?
Dancer Jack: The Rebbe says it’s time to dance. The time of dancing is here. It’s time to be happy.
Berg: That’s why you have the smiley flag?
Jack, nodding: That’s why.
Berg: You do this for an hour a day, six days a week, you must be the fittest Lubavitcher in Melbourne.
Jack: Some days it’s only half an hour…
Berg, addressing the shorter, rounder, older man: Your flag reads ‘Moshiach.’ So you’re dancing to bring the Messiah?
Shortman, smiling benignly, speaking with a light Russian accent: Oh no, Moshiach arrived. We dance because of happiness.
Berg, diffidently, to Jack: You dance here in the mornings. How do you spend the rest of your time?
Jack: I care for my friend. Full time. Also my grandmother.
Berg, not short of chutzpah: What is your job? I mean does someone pay you? Do you eat?
Jack, unruffled: Thank God, I eat. No-one pays me. I dance and I care because it’s good.
Berg: You do it all, ‘lishma’ – for its own sake.
Berg, to Shortman: What about you? When you aren’t dancing?
Shortman: I am a dental prosthetist. I make dental appliances.
Berg: Well it’s been a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for talking to me. G’mar Tov (a seasonal benediction).
Both, cheerily: G’mar Tov.
Jogging home, chewing on food for thought, the image returned of the Messiah Man of Juneau, Alaska. A lean and straitened man, he stood in the grey of an autumn day in Alaska, unprotected from the thin rain, speaking aloud of Redemption. At his foot a placard advised: Jesus is Lord. Choose life eternal.
The man addressed the public at large bearing Good News in his thin voice. Actually it was a public at small: Your blogger was the entire public.
Blogger, Berg: Do you mind if I speak with you?
Messiah Man: Why?
Berg: I am interested. It looks like a hard thing, to stand in the rain and bring your message.
Silence from M Man.
Berg: I don’t want to disturb you. I mean no disrespect.
M Man: I am called.
Berg: How do you live? I mean, you aren’t soliciting funds…
Messiah Man: A few good people make contributions. And they don’t bother me as I do my work.
Berg: Please excuse me. I won’t trouble you further.
As the Rebbe of Bratislav said: Mitzvah ge’dolla li’h’yot be
simcha tamid. (It is a great and holy thing to be in joy perpetually.)
My impressions: it’s an easier gig working for the Messiah in a warm temperate clime than in Alaska: it’s easier to be happy in Melbourne.