Greg Leake – Shabbos Goy

Greg Leake emails: Hi Luke,

I’ve been out of action because of rotator cuff surgery. The stitches are out, and I’m doing physical therapy, probably won’t be able to throw a left hook for 6 months. A drag.

In your post something you said loomed out at me:
“One of the things I love about Orthodox Judaism is that you know who you are. Things are set out for you. You do this and this and this, and that’s just upon waking. It gives you guidelines for life, guidelines that have proved themselves to work over hundreds of years.”

You know, Luke, you should have joined the military and then you would have had your days and nights structured without all of the extra mumbo-jumbo.

It seems to me that you’re observing Orthodox Judaism from the point of view of superlatives.

For example, as you know, 7 or 8 months ago I was living smack-dab in the middle of Orthodox Judaism in Dallas.

So one night at 2 in the morning there is a loud banging on my front door.

“What the hell…?” Runs through my mind as I stumble downstairs.

I’m thinking fondly of the well-worn butt of a .38 caliber revolver that I keep concealed by the front door for sentimental reasons.

I get to the door and I’m about ready to call out, “Do you have a warrant?” when I hear my next door neighbor calling out on the other side of the door. So I open the door, and there is my neighbor. “For crying out loud,” I say, ” what the hell is wrong?” I’m thinking, is it fire? burglary? Democrats?

My neighbor says, “My kid is sick, and I have a prescription and need to have it filled at the drug store.”

“So fill it,” I say.

“I can’t drive. It’s the Sabbath.”

“OK,” I say, “No sweat. I’ll drive you.”

My neighbor says, “No, you don’t understand. I can’t ride in a car even if someone else drives it… that’s why I didn’t ring the doorbell and had to pound on the door.”

“Yeah, but your kid is sick,” I say.

My neighbor says, “I was hoping you would go and get it for me.”

I look kind of sidelong over at my wife and slightly roll my eyes. I say, “I don’t think I can. You know, you can’t just wander in at 2 in the morning and start trying to cash in someone else’s script.” (I vaguely remember some guy I distantly knew a long time ago doing a short stint in the state pen.)

“But I have to get it,” my neighbor says.

“OK. I’ll walk with you.” My mind quickly cycles through my armament, and I’m thinking about a little North American Arms .22 caliber magnum revolver. I’m thinking that if I’m going to be wandering through the deserted streets and dark parking lots of Dallas at 2 in the morning, I want to feel the warm friendliness of my little friend safely secured in my pocket.

By the time we get it together, my neighbor has already found someone else to walk over to the drugstore with. I continue to offer, but not as vigorously as I could have. They take off, and I say to my wife, “Man, that’s crazy. They can’t even drive over to get medicine for their sick kids.”

The next day my wife sees the neighbor, and everything worked out. The neighbor says to my wife, “You probably think this is crazy.”

My wife, being more diplomatic than I, shrugs and smiles whimsically, and says, “Well, maybe a little.”

To which our Orthodox Jewish neighbor replies by saying, “It’s all crazy.”

So this is just one incident out of many. There are a million stories in the naked city, and you have just heard one of them.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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