Thursday, July 31, 2014

Two Flags and The Tzaddik (Holy-Man) in Disguise

Considering that I blog more about tremping (hitchhiking,) you should know that I also take buses. It depends on what comes first. Two days ago, when I made it to the bus stop at the Shmuel Hanavi corner in Jerusalem, I discovered that it would be almost an hour until the next Shiloh bus was due, so I took a #143 to the "city line" and had fantastic tremps home. But yesterday a Shiloh bus #148 arrived at the stop at the "top of" Ramat Eshkol just minutes after I got there, so I took the bus home.

I sat in the front seat behind the driver for a few reasons.
  • It was unoccupied.
  • I like to look out the front window.
  • I had to pay the "second installment*" of the fare mid ride, so the closer to the driver the better.
  • Officially, those seats are reserved for the "elderly," and now I'm pension age, so unless a couple of passengers incapable or walking further into the bus would get on, it's set aside for me and my peers.
Sitting in front gave me a front row view to all aspects of the ride home.

Everything had been quiet and routine until we just passed Givat Assaf, the Beit El Junction when suddenly the driver stopped on the road. None of us had seen anything to warrant stopping. And if there had, G-d forbid, been a terror attack, instructions are to drive away as quickly as possible. 

Not only did the driver stop the bus, but he quickly climbed out. No, he didn't find a corner to pee, which has happened over the decades. He bent down and picked up an Israeli Flag which he had noticed had fallen down from the poles near the junction. 

He placed it carefully near the flag he has on display in the bus and told us that the Israeli Flag is holy. He just can't abide the thought of one lying on the ground.

And that wasn't all. As we pulled out of the Ofra bus stop and security gate he noticed some people running from afar to catch the bus. And he waited for them. At the same time a woman in a nurses uniform got out of a tremp just across from the bus. She approached and asked if the bus was going to her destination, which it was. She was so grateful. Not only had the driver waited for those who were running to catch us, but because of that a young nurse was able to make it quickly and safely home.

And, no, in case you were wondering, this driver did not wear any of the signs of outward religiosity, not in his clothes, accent, hairdo or head-covering. It's obvious to me that in terms of Derech Eretz,  the Laws of Behavior between man and man, this man lived a "mehadrin" life.

What a wonderful Jewish people we have here in Israel!

*My Jerusalem ticket's "transfer" was good until the Ma'avar Michmas gas station stop, and only then did I have to pay the lower fare to Shiloh.


Anonymous said...

This is a heart-warming story, in many aspects.

Thank you for sharing your ride.
-Lorri M.

Batya said...

Only in Israel
Shabbat shalom

Vaguely Sinister Wife said...

Beautiful! Mi CaAmcha Yisrael? It's things like this, which makes me feel so blessed to be able to live in Irael.

Batya said...

Yael, thanks, and I agree that there is nothing more wonderful than being here in Israel with such wonderful people.