Having Rabbi Rodal as a teacher was without a doubt the highlight of every girl in my 4th grade class at Yeshiva in Pittsburgh.
First of all, we hatched chicks. And we got to hear the joke about how to tell the difference between female and male chicks at least once a week (how do you know if the chicks are boys or girls? Put a phone in the box and see who runs to it.) We laughed delightedly each time but I don’t think I got the joke until a few years later. Repition is key! Now these chicks were fabulous because somehow Rabbi Rodal had them nearly silent during the hours that he taught and constantly squawking during the hours our English teacher taught. Seriously, nothing more exciting than that.
Well, except maybe for recess. Because recess with Rabbi Rodal could be ten minutes or twenty five, depending on how well we played our cards. Generally, if we kept to the other side of the room or playground, and didn’t ask Rabbi any questions, he would nod off to sleep with his pen sticking out from the corner of his mouth. Ah, magnificent times. 20 years later I recognize the absolute genius of his recess plan. And we thought we were the lucky ones…
My last, and favorite, story of Rabbi Rodal (often called Rabbi Riddle and we all know why) was when he brought our class to kasher chickens at the chicken place. I don’t even know what to call the chicken place but I can close my eyes and smell it without much trouble. Did the place have a name? I remember crates of chickens living in the basement and a kashering station upstairs. Anyway, the Rodals and my family (the Munitz’s) were very close. So I took it on good authority when Rabbi Rodal told me, “You know what your mother would love to see? A chicken heart! Bring it home to her. Here, I’ll wrap it all nicely in this paper so you can open it up and show her. She’ll be so excited!”
If you know my mother (or any mother 🙈) you already know how not excited she was about the bloody, gooey chicken heart I proudly displayed upon coming home.
Rabbi Rodal, you are remembered fondly and truly missed. May you be a guteh better for us all and demand Moshiach immediately.