Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On the Bus

I know my blogging is very sporadic with blog posts few and far between, but G-d willing, that should be changing soon. As soon as I can, I will try to write a blog about what is going on in my life (some changes), but for now I just want to share a nice, little incident that happened on the bus today. If it wasn't so over-used, I  would call this blog post "Only in Israel" since it surely wouldn't take place anywhere else in the world.

I was on my way home from work, and I was sitting directly behind the seats with four grouped together; two seats opposite each other. An older man whose back was facing me was a very friendly man, talking to everyone who came and sat down in his section. He even gave a pen to a little boy sitting across the aisle with his Abba (Daddy), instructing him to use it for his limudai kodesh (religious studies) homework. When a young man in an army uniform came on the bus, there was an empty seat next to him, so the older man stopped him in the aisle and asked him to sit there. It seemed like he knew him already, but it's not certain as he treated everyone as a good friend. 

This sociable older man proceeded to take a bouquet of greenery out of his bag and gave a twig to each of the men sitting in his quartet. All of them were smiling and talking and smelling the little sprigs. I tried not to listen or watch too closely as my manners taught me, but I couldn't help feel the sense of camaraderie among these strangers on the bus. There was no way he could have seen me admiring this whole event, but he suddenly handed me a twig of my own without even turning around. I was barely able to say "thank you", when he was giving another to the girl beside me. Upon closer inspection, it was apparent that it was a small branch of Hadass (Myrtle), one of the four species we use on Sukkot as part of the Lulav. I said a bracha (blessing) and deeply inhaled the beautiful and natural fragrance.

After awhile, two of the passengers departed and left the two seats facing my direction unoccupied. Before long, a couple of high school boys got on the bus and as they began to pass by, our friendly 'Goodwill Ambassador' caught their attention and asked them to take the two seats across from him.  Glad to have somewhere to sit, they happily took their places as directed. After a bit of chit chat, the nice older man handed them each their own piece of Hadass.  They looked at their gift curiously and accepted it with a smile. Knowing that the boys were secular, the older man and the religious soldier were anxious to help them out with a kippa and a prayer. The soldier lent them his own kippa as they took turns being guided word by word in reciting the blessing over the greenery. It has been some time since I have seen such a beautiful sight.  Here were so many worlds connecting - an older religious, Sephardic man, a young observant soldier and two secular young men, all joined in a mitzvah, on a bus no less. What an irony that the center of this unity was the Myrtle Branch, the same plant used in the Lulav which itself represents a coming together of our People. 

Eventually they each went their own way and I was left with a feeling of contentment and joy. I only wish I had asked the older man his name. If I didn't know better, I would have thought he was Moshiach!

May each one of us strive to accomplish in our lifetimes what that man did in a short bus trip home.  May we soon merit to witness the true Moshiach, in our days, Amen.


  1. Beautiful story! Thank-you for sharing. So many beautiful acts happen 'only in Israel.' To bad the world is so blind!

  2. Wow - beautiful, Chaya! I love those moments!

  3. Excellent post. You're doing great. Keep it up.