“Kindelech,” said my father, “you know during wars they sometimes send troops over into enemy land to spy or do errands there…” We children settled in to hear the fascinating account of how spies communicate with each other. My father was telling us that at times they would drop a group of guys over enemy lines. The men would waft down on their parachutes, each one a solitary figure. And when they needed to regroup or to make contact, there would be some prearranged call they could recognize. “Crik-Crik,” my father imitated a sound. It usually was a natural sound to seem less suspect, explained my father, like the imitation of a warbling bird, or a take on a bull-frog’s throaty song.
It was a fascinating subject, to be sure, but we knew somehow or other any subject with my father led back to G-d. Sure enough, my father then said, “You have to know, in our time and age, a Torah-true Jew who is focused only on G-d is in enemy territory. He will be shredded by one and all if his loyalties are discovered. Sometimes you feel so alone. But it is reassuring, every now and then, to hear a ‘crik-crik’ and know there are other people from your side here in enemy territory, too.”
My father was a G-d warrior, out to battle lack of faith at any given moment. The slightest indication of people heading to destruction and he was up in arms. He wasn’t embarrassed to be made fun of, too intent on his goal to try to get some people back on track. He insisted on raising us “out-a-town” for he saw corruption in the city, even among his beloved cohorts. He let us know that being good is a struggle and fight.
My father would try to point out to us examples of those on the same side of the fight of right as he was on, by showing us, “ah, see, he is an ehrliche Yid”, or that one was a “tai’yere neshama. [precious soul]” It got so that we were trained to try to hear a spiritual “crik-crik” in the vast jungle of the world, to try to spot that “gitte Yid” [good Jew] somewhere. It wasn’t always that obvious. But that made it all the more fun, like a “Where’s Waldo” game. The ordinary Jew who wasn’t quite ordinary. And there are plenty of them to be found.
No, it wasn’t usually the expected folks. There are many who are “frum” but that isn’t the same as ehrlich. Frum, well that is observant, and one can be observant out of rote, or to fit in – ehrilch that means “upgeheeten” someone who really cares about doing G-d’s will and standing up for G-d’s honor.
I challenge you, can you spot them – those people who really mean G-d? (And are you sending out signals that you are on G-d’s side?)