Shlomie heaved his stomach back inside the belt line of his black pants, stood up and went over to talk to his chevrusa Yankie, who was anxiously pacing backwards and forwards by the kollel’s coffee vending machine.
“Whaddya talking about, Shlomie? Calm down, speak slower. Who just showed up in the beis medrash?”
Yankie took a breath, stopped pacing, and turned to Shlomie. “Some guy called Moshe something… He said G-d sent him to redeem the Jews, and he wants to take us out of Mitzraim to the promised land!”
Shlomie’s eyes narrowed. Another nut-job talking about G-d! The last 210 years, there’d been a lot of these imposters who’d showed up trying to con the Jews of Mitzraim that one day they’d have to leave and go to the ‘holy land’. Wherever that place was meant to be…
“Where is this guy?” Shlomie demanded. “I wanna talk to him.”
With Yankie following behind, Shlomie headed off to the beis medrash, swung the doors open, and saw a tall, bearded figure standing in the corner with his eyes shut, rapturously reciting the bracha over a cup of water out loud.
Shlomie whispered to Yankie, “Uhoh, this already doesn’t look good! What’s with this guy’s accent? Is he Sephardi?! And who spends five minutes blessing a cup of water?! This is definitely bitul Torah!”
Yankie muttered back, “Shlomie, we didn’t get the Torah yet…” But Shlomie didn’t hear him, as he’d already marched up to ‘Moshe the moshiach’ determined to kick this imposter out of the beis medrash.
“Sooo, Moishe… where’d you learn?” challenged Shlomie.
Moshe Rabbenu studied Shlomie with wise, kind eyes and told him gently: “I’ve spent the last 60 years communing with Hashem in the desert.”
Shlomie eyes rolled so far back in his head they almost popped out his neck. Geez, the nerve of this guy!!! Still, Shlomie prided himself on being open-minded, so he decided to ask a couple more questions before officially excommunicating him.
“So, who’s your Rav?” he asked.
Moshe lowered his head slighty and said: “Hashem. Hashem’s teaching me Torah. Although I did meet Rabbi Akiva a little while back…”
Shlomie snorted again. What? That guy whose parents were goyim who converted?!?
He tried one last time, “where did you grow up? Did you study at the Mir?”
“I grew up in Pharoah’s palace,” Moshe Rabbenu replied gently. “I had to flee Mitzraim at the age of 20 after I killed an Egyptian by uttering one of Hashem’s ineffable names. I never got a chance to learn at the Mir….”
“Kishoofim!!!!” roared out Shlomie. “Out, out, get outta here with all your dangerous Moshiach talk! You’re nothing but a crack-pot, a false messiah, a person who’s trying to pull the Jews away from learning Torah with all your talk about serving Hashem!”
Yankie muttered again “But Shlomie, we didn’t get the Torah yet…” but again, Shlomie didn’t hear him.
Yankie was anxiously biting his fingernails. “The nerve of that guy!” sputtered Shlomie. “I can’t believe people are falling for this! We’re only meant to be learning about Moshiach, not believing in him!”
“But Shlomie, a lot of the really big rabbis - like Aharon HaKohen - say he’s the real deal…” Shlomie harrumphed. “All these ‘rebbe’ types stick together, you know that.”
“But Shlomie,” Yankie tried again, “This morning he turned the whole Nile to blood, and he’s told Pharoah there’s more natural disasters to come, if he doesn’t send the Jews out of Mitzraim…”
“Kishoofim!!” Shlomie yelled again. “Unbelievable bitul Torah! Instead of learning another three blatt Gemara this guy’s off doing black magic and talking to goyim! Don’t fall for it, Yankie, don’t let him fool you. Seriously, where was the guy’s hat??”
Yankie tried one last time: “But Shlomie, we have a tradition from Yaakov Avinu that at some point, the Jews have to leave Mitzraim, and that a redeemer will show up and take them out of galus…”
Shlomie sighed a big sigh, and put his enormous arm around his frail, naïve learning partner.
“Yankie, you’re a great guy, do you know that? Here, take a look over the other side of the beis medrash. Who’d ya see?”
Yankie turned his head, and spotted Korach, the Rosh Kollel, shtiggering away to the bachorim about how why the beis medrash doesn’t need a mezuzah on the door. Korach cut a fine figure in his Armani black suit, smart tie and brushed fedora, tilted at just the right angle to set off his jutting chin.
“Now, if someone told me that’s Moshiach, I’d believe it,” explained Shlomie. “That guy’s related to one of the most important families in Mitzraim; he’s got 14 kids - all shomer Toyrah ve-mitzvos - and he encourages his students to think for themselves. That guy is all about Toyrah and mitzvos. And his wife bakes a great kugel!”
“But Shlomie, we didn’t get the Torah yet,” Yankie wanted to say. But he didn’t because he knew there’d be no point.
Shlomie heaved his stomach back behind his shtender, and went back to learning his latest blatt on his My-Gemara i-Phone app.
“The nerve of that guy, ‘Moshe Rabbenu’!” he muttered to himself, thankful that he’d managed to save the guys in the beis medrash from another false messiah. Hrrmph! As if the Moshiach would be someone who’d never stepped foot in the Mir…