Several days ago, we were on our way to Costco when suddenly it sounded as if our car had exploded.
We pulled over to the side of the road, carefully opened our doors and found that our right front tire had exploded. It was “only” a blowout that was the cause of the enormous noise. We stood there looking at each other, trying to determine if we could drive about another mile to visit Costco’s tire department. In actual fact, there was no way that we could move the car. Only in the movie “The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob” (for old timers who might have seen it) were they able to lift the rabbi’s car in order to hasten his trip to the airport. The situation was even more frustrating for us as the very morning of this incident we had taken our car to the garage in order for our snow tires to be removed so that our regular all-year tires could replace them. This tire was literally on our car for about four hours when it exploded.
As we pondered our choices we noticed a chasid walking toward us. Keep in mind this took place on the outskirts of Teterboro on a street called Green. What could a chasid be doing walking in this area? We heard of “Chaverim,” but did it exist where we were, and who had called them?
Our new acquaintance had apparently been right behind us when the explosion occurred, so he pulled his vehicle over on the next street and walked over to see if he could help. His tzitzit were flying in the wind over his shirt. He explained that he had changed tires several times in the past and was happy to help. As he bent down to work on our tire we watched as his tzitzit, shirt and pants were getting dirty from the filth on the street. He worked and worked until he was able to finish the job. We only know that he has eight sons, comes from Boro Park and has relatives in Teaneck. He also told us that he grew up in Monsey, in the Vizhnitz community. Obviously, doing chesed was a routine part of his life. He did not see it as doing anything unusual. We, on the other hand, were overwhelmed by his nonchalant kindness. Nina kept apologizing for the fact that his clothes were so soiled, and he reassured her that everything would and could be sent to the dry cleaners.
While in the hospital last year for five weeks with our daughter Naama, we would receive meals every day from the “bikur cholim.” It did not happen once, but twice a day, that lovely young or older women would show up in Naama’s room with specially wrapped and packaged meals for us to enjoy. Each meal looked as though it was made by a gourmet. The presentation could have been featured in any culinary display case. Not only was the food delivered personally, but each day the deliverers would stop and chat with us and with Naama and break up our monotony. The first thing that you should know about the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal is that it is a completely kosher hospital. We could have gone down to the cafeteria to get something to eat. True, we were reluctant to leave Naama in the room by herself and would each take a turn. These meals were a chesed that in a sense were uncalled for, but on the other hand were delivered with a “heimishe” touch to make our lives just a drop easier at a stressful time.
A Greek woman who sat in the hospital each day with her son George, severely handicapped and non verbal, watched as we would have these pleasant deliveries each day. She asked us, after having observed this happening week after week, how much we paid for the food being delivered to us. When we explained that there was no cost, and that it was a chesed being done by the Jewish community, she was totally flabbergasted. Chesed such as the two examples we have mentioned are unknown to the world outside of the religious Jewish community. Until these random acts occur, we think that we do not take enough time to realize how very fortunate we are to be members of this outstanding brotherhood and sisterhood called Yiddishkeit.
To Mordechai Miller, in case anyone in Teaneck reads this who is related to him, please let him know how impressed we were with his kindness and that we wish him the very best.
P.S. Later in the afternoon we had another flat tire on our right rear tire and this time could not find Mordechai Miller. Instead we called the AAA.
By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick