April 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Moments of Hashgacha Pratit in Teaneck

Editor’s note: We put out a call requesting stories of private chesed, in anticipation of creating a feature about these small beautiful moments of kindness, planned or unplanned, that we often hear about, for which people generally do not seek publicity. We were prepared to change names and protect anonymity. But then we received this beautiful article from Andrew Wexler, an incredible story of hashgacha pratit (divine providence). We thank him for it and please keep these stories coming to [email protected].

One night, about a year and a half ago in Teaneck, two different Jews performed the same exact mitzvah within 15 minutes of each other. While this is not unusual, the story itself is.

At about 9:15 p.m. that night, my wife and I pulled up in front of our house. My wife opened her car door and there was an elderly man just steps away coming towards her. We were both startled as he asked if we knew where Hudson Road was. I just said “yes” and pointed in the general direction. He then asked if it was only a couple of blocks away, but it isn’t. We live more than a half-mile from Hudson Rd. Since it was dark, I didn’t notice at first that he was wearing a kippah. When I did, I felt somewhat more comfortable speaking to this stranger. The man then told me he just left Rinat (also about a half mile away) and needed to get back to his son’s house on Hudson Rd. He was clearly lost and confused. While I don’t normally do this, I asked my wife if we should take the “risk” and give this stranger a ride, which we did.

As we were driving, the man explained that he was visiting from Florida for his grandson’s graduation. At first the mood in the car was relaxed, but the man then became agitated and somewhat panicked. He ordered me to put the light on in the car as he realized his son did not live on Hudson after all. I pulled over and the confused man fumbled for a small notepad where he had his son’s address written down. While it was not Hudson, it was only a couple of blocks away and eventually we found the house and got him back safely. Right before getting the man home, he called me his shaliach. The man turned before walking inside, smiled and waved goodnight. While my wife and I were happy we drove him, we were concerned that he was so confused that he became lost, and wanted to make sure his family knew what had happened.

My wife and I were able to play some quick Jewish geography and reached out to a friend of mine who lives up the street from where we dropped off the man. My friend knew this man and his son very well. My friend said he would let the man’s son know about his father.

At approximately 9 pm that same night a man named “Moshe” went to pick his father up at shul. While waiting in front, Moshe saw a relatively young man walking with a cane or a crutch. Moshe rolled down his window and asked the man if davening was over and the man responded “no.” Moshe realized he was early and had some time before his father would be coming out. While Moshe doesn’t normally give rides to a stranger, he asked this man if he could drive him home since he had difficulty walking. The man with the crutch accepted. Five minutes later, Moshe was back in front of the shul waiting for his father, who apparently had already left.

The next day the son of the man I had driven home called me to thank me for getting his father home safely. The man’s son explained to me that he had gone to pick his father up at shul and saw a stranger with a disability who needed a ride. Moshe then continued that he had never given a stranger a ride before that night. I then realized I had done the exact same thing for another stranger. It was Moshe’s father.


Andrew Wexler has been a Teaneck resident for 28 years. He and his wife of 30 years have three grown sons who he always taught not to speak to strangers. He’s happy he didn’t follow his own advice.

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