t takes many years of diligent and profound Torah study and great wisdom and wide erudition plus personal qualities of integrity and discipline to become the head of a major yeshivah and to be recognized as the rosh yeshivah.

Nevertheless this week in one brief shining moment I became a rosh yeshivah. I was trying to squeeze out of my parked car when a passerby stopped reached in grabbed my arm and helped me negotiate the narrow door opening. I thanked him profusely but protested that he didn’t have to go to so much trouble. He replied: “Would you deny me the mitzvah of assisting the Rosh Yeshivah?”

He had obviously mistaken me for my brother who is here inJerusalemfor a brief visit and is in fact the rosh yeshivah of a major yeshivah in theUS and who shares with me a certain physical and facial resemblance.

I chuckled to myself: Not bad I have become a rosh yeshivah the easy way without having had to work for it. If everyone mistakes me for my brother that could have interesting consequences. For one thing people will now show me great respect and deference. In shul I will be asked to sit in the front row will be given a choice aliyah and everyone will stand up before me as I walk by. Perhaps my new title will henceforth be “HaGaon” — although that is rather prosaic these days. HaGaon HaGadol might be more appropriate.

Of course as a major rosh yeshivah I will be expected to dress the part. Although I do have the requisite gray beard there will be no more gray or blue suits no more gray or blue shirts no more interesting neckties. My new dress code will mean that I will have to wear a black caftan/kapoteh white shirts only and use neckties whose only variety will be the different shades of black. No longer will I be able to walk the hot summer streets ofJerusalemin shirt sleeves plain black yarmulke and without a pesky necktie. Together with the long black kapoteh a wide-brimmed black Homburg hat will now be de rigueur winter and summer.

So I mused my newfound honor and celebrity comes with a price. As King Henry IV said “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” (As an authentic rosh yeshivah I would not let on that I know any Shakespeare much less cite him…) Beyond my wardrobe from now on my every action and word will have to be measured and circumspect. Obviously I will be expected to be in the beis medrash full-time because the real rosh yeshivah’s reputation is at stake. I have become my brother’s keeper.

Not only must I look the part I must become a different person. My ultimate concerns will now be global such as the future of Torah and the destiny of the Jewish People. Besides delivering learned shiurim to hundreds of scholarly listeners I must not neglect the multitudes waiting to have an audience with me about personal and communal issues. Although as a rosh yeshivah I am a man of faith my shoulders will begin to sag under the burden that has been thrust upon me and my beard will gradually grow even whiter. My entire former life will go the way of all flesh sacrificed on the altar of my becoming the very model of a modern major rosh yeshivah…

Suddenly a voice: “Hello Emanuel! How you doing today?” I am startled. Who is this person who calls the rosh yeshivah by his first name? Where is the elementary respect? I look at him; he is an old friend from my yeshivah days. I am jolted out of my daydream.

Well it was an exciting experience being a major rosh yeshivah for a brief moment but now back to reality. No more kavod no more admiration no more deference.

It’s just as well. I really do not want the job. Even if I were able — like an authentic rosh yeshivah — to deflect the kavod without taking it too seriously the heavy baggage that comes with it the radical transformation that would be required is just too daunting and not for me.

Let my beloved brother be who he is and I will return to being who I am: a retired American rabbi who tries to study some Torah writes an occasional column and sometimes wears a blue shirt.

Most of all I will practice how to exit my car without any outside help.