Nicholas is my Barber, but he is more than that. Each time I visit him at Tribeca Salon on Sanibel Island I receive not only a fine haircut but a thoughtful, common sense-laced discourse on events of the day and what is meaningful in life and what is not.
My most recent visit was particularly instructive. Nicholas spoke with passion — while his scissors never missed a beat — of the joy he finds in giving things away.
We spoke about several things: the upcoming interfaith trip to Israel that I am leading along with Pastor John Danner of Sanibel Congregational UCC. We talked about religious similarities and differences.
We agreed that “tolerance” as an interfaith goal was insufficient. We must strive for mutual understanding, respect and affirmation. We each can enrich our faith by understanding what most motivates others to practice theirs.
Nick noted that from all of his many customers, who often go on at length on a wide variety of subjects, he looks for the one insightful nugget that can add meaning and texture to his own life.
His words reminded me of the teachings of the second century Sage, Simeon ben Zoma, who taught : “Who is wise? The one who learns from everyone.” (Pirke Avot 4:1)
When he finished my last haircut, he said to my surprise: “Instead of paying me today, give the money to someone you meet in Israel who needs it.” I said I would pay him and also give the money to someone in Israel who needs it, but Nicholas would not accept the money.
So, I gave him a copy of my new book, … And Often the First Jewhttps://tinyurl.com/y6kl8ury that I signed this way:
A philosopher and humanitarian
Who also cuts my hair,
And teaches me valuable lessons
Each time I’m in his chair.