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Monday, December 26, 2005


Not for the first time was I awed by G-d's way of handling my transportation.

It was a busy day, this first full day of Chanukah. First of all, I had agreed to teach, even though they wanted me in the yeshiva high school late morning, not my set time. Being extremely pragmatic, I made a condition. I would be willing to come, only if I could show the kids a movie. I was not going to endanger my health by trying to get 9th grade boys--that means 14 year olds--to study English just minutes before they were to be leaving for a week's Chanukah vacation, and even more distracting, while the homeroom teachers, called "RaMim," we giving out reportcards. Honestly, even I'm not that dumb.

Since afterwards I was going to my daughter's in Ofra I schlepped such a big bag full of presents I looked more like Santa than Savta, the Hebrew for grandma.

We, a loose term, watched White Squall. I'll have to show it another time, since there wasn't enough time, and my students didn't show. Other kids joined me. The theme of the movie is responsibility, teamwork, how important they are. It's an important lesson for the kids, but they didn't see much of the movie.

I had been promised a ride from school. I waited with the other teachers for our van, but when it arrived, it was clear that there was no room for me. Quickly I ran to the children's school buses which were over-crowded, since it was the last day before vacation. I got into the one going to Ofra and planned on standing. Just as it took off, one of the kids offered me his seat. I gratefully accepted it. The ten minute trip was not the most pleasant, but I was lucky that I had taken that bus, since it took me very close to my daughter's house and the van would have left me further away, at the entrance of Ofra.

A few hours later after giving out the gifts, making sufganiyot, lighting Chanukah candles, and a few other things, I "just knew" that it was time to go home. I said good bye to my daughter and her two and made my way to the main road. A couple of minutes later, a car almost went by and then stopped a few meters from where I was waiting. I walked over, gingerly, trying to get an idea of who the people in the car were.

They weren't neighbors, but the driver was someone we've known for decades. Ezra Yachin was on his way to lecture in a community north of us. Ezra had been a member of Lechi, one of the pre-State underground groups. We had a too-short talk about what's going on today in Israel. We both agree that the Jewish People as a whole are too far removed, disengaged, from Eretz Yisrael. Neither of us could understand how religious Jews could ignore the most basic of all of our mitzvot, the commandment to live in the Land of Israel. I felt strengthened knowing that such a legendary hero of our country feels the same as I do.

He dropped me off at the Shiloh Junction, and I didn't have to wait long. A small car pulled up, and we struggled to get the door open for me. Only when I got in and heard the driver's voice did I realize who it was. It was a young man I had known for many years. What a pleasure to see him and speak to him.

Ezra is a generation my elder and the second is a generation younger than I am. Actually, my age is half way between theirs. I'm sandwiched between them. I really enjoyed my rides home and thank G-d for making such pleasant arrangements.

Chanukah Sameach


Yehoshua Friedman said...

Nice, warm post. As a fellow trampist I appreciate it. Family and friends think I have a segula for rides. We also share the appreciation of multigenerational friendships.

Batya said...

Thanks. I feel so much closer to G-d knowing that we're not in control.