Normally, we give out Shabbat candles and help people lay Tefillin. Yesterday we were unwitting park rangers.

Here is how it happened:

We took a trip to Estes Park CO. Perched in the Rockies, the small town has a lot of tourists and a few Jews.

Seven in the afternoon, we arrived at a house and discovered that a whole flock of elk were casually sitting on the lawn. For those of you who have yet to meet an elk, they are the size of a horse and have huge antlers.

I decided that I'm not going to leave the car, but my partner drove up the driveway and slowly proceeded to open the car door and inch toward the front door of the house. He rang the door bell. An elderly couple answered the door and they started talking.

I was still in the car and I started to feel a little left out, so I mustered up my courage and gingerly made my way toward the house, coming within three feet of the beasts. When I moved too fast, they started running in all directions and I almost fainted!

When I got to the door, I heard the man scolding my partner, "These are dangerous animals…" We started talking. One of the things he told us was that he and his wife were afraid of the elk and had been stuck inside the house all day. We did them a really big favor by coming and scaring away the elk!

On the way back, my co-rover remarked that this episode reminded him of the following aphorism of the Baal Shem Tov:

"A soul may descend to this world and live seventy or eighty years just in order to do a material favor, and certainly a spiritual one."