One night when the coachman was driving the rabbi to the next town, he said to him, “Rabbi, I wish I knew how it feels.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I want to be loved. I want to be admired. I want to be revered for my knowledge. I am so tired of being a nobody. Rabbi, do you think when we get to the next town, we could switch clothes, and I could put on your robe, and you could wear my rags, and then, everyone would think I am the rabbi?”
The rabbi smiled because in truth, he liked his coachman, a great deal, and he was a compassionate. person. He said to him, “My friend, you know that it takes more than clothes to make the man. What if somebody were to ask you a question you didn't know the answer to? It would be very embarrassing for both of us and even more so for me because everybody would think you are me.”
“Rabbi, I may not be a scholar like you, but I am no dummy. Oh, please, let me do this just one time, and I will never ask again. I just want to know what it feels like to be you.”
Now, the rabbi realized his coachman was not only curious and passionate, he was also convincing because against his better judgment, the coachman convinced the rabbi to go along with his scheme. When they arrived in the next town, they switched clothes with the coachman wearing the robe and the rabbi wearing the rags. They walked into the synagogue together, and the rabbi settled into the corner with his heart, in his mouth, hoping nothing would go wrong.
The coachman walked to the front and turned to face the congregation which was now streaming towards him. Right away he could see it in their eyes that they admired and respected him, and it felt wonderful. That was what he had been wanting all his life. Then, each member came up to him individually and shook his hand saying, “Sholom Aleichem, Rabbi,” and the coachman just basked in the warmth of that glow. He wished that moment could last forever, but you know moments like that never last forever. A congregation member , known for his braininess, approached him and said, “Rabbi, we were wondering if you could settle an argument for us. I say this passage means one thing, and everyone else says it means something else. I know that I’m right, however. Could you just tell everyone I’m right?”
At this point, the rabbi in the corner began praying, “Oh, God, please get us out of this deep water. Why did I ever let the coachman convince me to go along with this crazy scheme? If you can get us out from over our heads, God, then, I will be your humble servant forever.”
The coachman, however, played it very cool and calm. He looked at the passage, although in truth, he didn't even know how to read! But he could pretend. He perused every word of that Hebrew paragraph, although, it was Greek to him. After a few minutes, he looked up at the man, and replied, ”This is easy. This is simple. Why, anyone would know what this means. ANYONE! Why, even my coachman in the corner, could tell you what this means. Coachman, come over here and explain to this man who thinks he’s so smart exactly what this passage means!
It was in that moment that the rabbit realized his coachman was wise in a way that enabled them to emerge when they were in way over their heads. And he was humbled.