April 23, 2024
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April 23, 2024
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הַתִּקְוָה: The Hope

This past week I was in Israel for a friend’s son’s bar mitzvah and to get my necessary spiritual fix. As with just about every trip to Israel that I take, there are those “just in Israel” moments. While this experience may not have been the “open miracle” magnitude that I have seen in the past, it did leave me tingling with a feeling of hope and belief of what the future can have in store for you.

Friday, as Shabbat was about to be welcomed, I put 30 shekels in my pocket and went out to look for a cab to take me to the Kotel for Kabbalat Shabbat.

I got into the first cab I saw and asked the driver if he can take me to the Kotel and that I had 30 shekels for the ride.

This handsome, strong, 20-something-year-old driver answered me in an Arabic-accented Hebrew that the charge for the Kotel is 40 shekels.

I apologized and told him that to make it worth his while, I would get out earlier so he wouldn’t need to sit in the Kotel traffic.

My driver turned around, and once again in that accented Hebrew, asked me if I was going to pray.

I responded affirmatively, and my driver told me that for someone going up to pray at the Kotel, the charge would be 30 shekels.

I thanked him profusely and put my hand in my pocket to take out the money.

I checked both pockets thoroughly.

To my horror, I realized that a 10 shekel piece had fallen out, and that I was now left with only 20.

Getting closer to Shabbat, I started panicking that this man would kick me out of his cab for wasting his time.

I finally embraced my fate and fessed up to the driver that I only had 20.

He once again answered me that if I was going up to pray, that 20 shekels would suffice.

I was embarrassed but tremendously grateful to this man for helping me out in my time of need.

There was standstill traffic once we passed the Zion gate, and I had to make an early exit as to not miss the prayers; I can only imagine how much more time he spent trapped in the maze of traffic.

As I left his car, the driver called to me and asked me to pray for him.

I asked his name, and I blessed him that God should be with him.

That night, in one of the most memorable and joyously spiritual Friday night tefillot I have experienced, I prayed for my new friend, for his success and his health, multiple times.

These are the types of interactions that restores faith in people. They are the types of mundane interactions that quietly happen daily, all around this amazing country without any fanfare.

May these small acts of common decency and compassion one day lead us to the true peace that we all long for.

By Andrew Harary

Andrew Harary lives in Englewood with his wife Leah and their two daughters. He is the president of Village Print & Media, a NYC-based digital marketing production agency. Andrew spends much of his time dreaming about aliyah while advocating for Israel and Jewish life.

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