A Funny Thing Happened to Me On the Way to the Siyum HaShas at the MetLife Stadium:

Rabbi Perl Meets the Iron Man

Wednesday August 1, 2010


Bus to Siyum arrives at White Shul, Far Rockaway. All eager to board. Tickets checked.


Bus quickly fills. Passengers include noted Rov, Rabbi Tzvi Flaum, Milton Kramer, whose family help establish Chabad in USA and Dr. Benyamin Muller, president of the Chabad of the 5 Towns.  

I have an empty seat next to me. Leo Zucker from Long Beach, whose family hosted the 5th Siyum HaShas (1960) at his family’s renowned Glen Wild Hotel, is delighted to take the empty seat. (I have the window seat, not always a great idea, see later posting).


We leave. We make record time. No major traffic jams. Excellent journey through the Van Wyck Expy, LIE, speeding through Mid Town Tunnel. No traffic cross-town amazing. Enter Lincoln Tunnel we are still moving, soon we see the MetLife Stadium loom ahead of us. It is so early; we will be able to see the pre-game show. (The organizers promised music, video presentations to those arriving early).


Bus driver misses designated Siyum Bus Lane. So near yet so far. Ends up on the Car Lane. Traffic crawling now. Total stand still. Still waiting in a long line of cars. Heavy security. NJ State Troopers approach our bus. First they scan the outer perimeter. Their special Civil Defense Geiger Counters focus on my outside window. They suspect something. I turn to Leo Zucker. [What do they want from me, I made sure to leave my large Shabbat Challah knife at home!]


State Troopers now board bus. Survey everyone. They are now back focusing on our seats. They ask gentleman behind us did you have anything medically done to you recently? Yes, I had a stent put in. They are not satisfied. They leave the bus. Another heavy duty Officer orders the bus driver to move out of the traffic lane, to the side for further  inspection. We are now waiting another 5 minutes.


Haz-Mat Team vehicle arrives. Guys with machine guns and a K-9 dog now sniff and inspect the bus from the outside. Using sophisticated detectors again they are focusing on my window. On me and Leo Zucker. Everybody on the bus is getting nervous. I asked Leo did he bring any Cholent with him! He says no Cholent but plenty of kugel. Could this be the problem?

The authorities enter the bus again and are fixated on our seats. They ask Leo again, did you have any medical procedures recently. Leo looks at me and then to the trooper bedecked in camouflage and bullet proof vest. [I detect no tzitzit, but you could never tell.] 


Leo Zucker lights up! He remembers, on Monday he had taken a stress test. The trooper smiles, “Ah”, he says, “you still have the iodine and traces of radioactive material inside of you!” Boruch Hashem everything is okay. Leo Zucker stands up and apologizes to all the passengers for the delay. I tell him this is all a Siman Tov, this will be a good sign for you, for blessings of long life with good health. 


We are all on the move. The stadium is getting ever closer. We are here. Leo Zucker  heads to the Suites to join his family. I head to my seat on the Field Level. It’s now 7pm. I take out my small towel out to wipe the wet seat. They promptly announce there will be a 30 minute delay!

Final Announcement: Leo Zucker of Long Beach has been designated the Official Siyum ‘Iron Man’.  

It was a good ending to an even greater beginning of an amazing event honoring Hashem and His Holy Torah!

2:30am Thursday

Arrived back at the White Shul. Exhausted. On Thursday, the Rabbi Slept late.