My 6 year old daughter and her friends apparently have taken to playing a new game on the playground--Harry Potter. My daughter apparently plays the part of Hermoine. Though she knows that Hermoine is a witch, when I ask my daughter what a witch is, all she knows is that a witch waves her hands and stuff comes out of her fingers.
Maybe some day I'll tell my daughter about the day I was reported to the Rosh Yeshiva for using magic...
...I was in Israel for a year, at a yeshiva. One morning, I just couldn't find my key to the room. I looked everywhere in the room, but I couldn't find it and my 2 room mates had not seen it either. For the first half of the day, every time I needed to get back into the room, I had to borrow a key. Obviously, I couldn't just keep borrowing the key. I was desperate.
A friend finally mentioned to me a 'trick' that he had heard from his grandmother on how to find lost objects. It seemed harmless enough. He told me the exact procedure that had to be done, but I ignored it at first. Finally, I decided to give it a try. After following the 'ritual', I went one more time looking for my keys in the room.
The way I remember it...almost immediately, I felt drawn to go to my desk and over to the shelf where I had a number of sefarim spanning the length of the shelf. I still don't know why, but I started pulling each sefer half way out and pushing it back in--one sefer after another. Each sefer slid in and out...one after the other...until the 6th or 7th one. Instead of sliding out smoothly, it made a scratching sound. I pulled it out and pushed it in again--and again it made a scratching sound.
I pulled the sefer out and lifted it up and there in the hollow formed between the 2 covers of the sefer as it stood on the shelf--there was the key.
I was pretty amazed at how well the 'bubba meisa' worked, and told people about it--including my roommates. One of them, a guy from Argentina was not so impressed and--without saying a word to me--reported me to the Rosh Yeshiva for practicing magic.
In the Beis Medrash, The Rosh Yeshiva called me over and explained what my roommate had told him and asked me for my side of the story, which I did. He said he would get back to me. Later in the day he came over and showed me a Gemarah, actually it was a Ran on the Rif--but I don't recall where--which dealt with using certain 'Eitzahs' (advice) and told me that what I had done constituted an Eitzah and not real Kishuf (magic). Advice? I vaguely recall thinking this was not the kind of advice I had ever received from my own grandmother.
I haven't tried this 'Eitzah' since--the experience did seem a bit weird. I was also afraid of ruining it by trying it again and having it not work. Since that time, I kept retelling this story many times--until one person told me he didn't want me to tell him the actual details. Maybe he didn't want to take a chance that it was real Kishuf. That was about 15 years ago. I don't think I've mentioned it since.
But after hearing my daughter talk about Harry Potter (she wants to have a Harry Potter birthday party...) I thought I would jot this stuff down.
Someday, maybe I'll tell this story to my daughter.