I was asked to drive an out-of-town visiting rabbi to the home of our rabbi.

When we arrived, our rabbi was occupied with another matter and asked that we wait for him in his study.

What does one do while waiting in a rabbi's study? One looks at the books which fill the shelves on every wall.

I'm looking over the English titles, and the visiting rabbi is looking over the many Hebrew ones. Suddenly the visiting rabbi pulls a book from the shelf. He opens it, rapidly scanning from page to page. The colour drains from his face. He is now quite pale and agitated.

Gradually he calms down, the colour returns to his face. He slowly closes the book, kisses it, and replaces it on the shelf.

I didn't say anything. After all, he's a rabbi and (on this occasion) I'm just his chauffeur.

But then it happens again. The visitor pulls another book from the shelf. Again he flips the pages furiously. Again he becomes pale and seems upset.

And again he regains his composure, kisses the book, and puts it back on the shelf.

This time I asked: "Rabbi, what was wrong with that book?"

He smiled and replied: "Nothing. Nothing at all. For a moment I thought he had one I didn't have."a