Sunday, December 07, 2014

Pikuach Nefesh, Life Saving on a Bus

The other day, when traveling to Jerusalem by bus, I had to transfer from our Shiloh-Pisgat Zeev bus to one that would go all the way to the "Bituach Leumi-Kiryat Memshala" stop near Binyanei Ha'uma, not far from the Central Bus Station. I was on my way to the Israeli Museum, and it's a relatively short walk from there.

It would have taken me much, much longer to via our bus's Pisgat Ze'ev "first-last" stop. Now with the drastic changes in bus routes, our buses have been thrown out of the lovely CBS mall. All of our buses have outdoor, unprotected stops.

Of late, I've been learning entirely new ways of traveling by public transportation. People think I'm nuts when I joke that it's a technique to prevent or delay senility/dementia, because we must learn new things all the time. Of course the bureaucrats who designed these changes aren't dependent on public transportation. They have cars and most don't live in places like Shiloh, if any do at all. So, they really don't care. I doubt if they've ever traveled on a bus in recent years, certainly not the conditions we must live with.

Well, back to the story:
After a few minutes' wait at the Ma'avar Michmas-Psagot Gas Station stop, a bus to "Bituach Le'umi" arrived. It was crowded already, but a young man in the front seat by the door got up for me. It sure is nice to be an obvious alte-koka, old lady. On the other seat was a man, of about my age. Some men refuse to let a women sit next to them, so I was prepared to tell him that if he didn't like it, he could get up. But he said nothing. And so we sat side by side.

I started checking things/mail or reading a book on my smartphone, when suddenly I felt the bus quickly slow down, and the man's arm swung across my shoulders/chest to keep me from flying off my seat into the window.
"I'm sorry if that bothered you." Said the man in English.
"Pikuach nefesh, you saved me." I answered immediately.
Yes, he did. That type of bus does not provide protection for anyone in the seat I was in. The railing in the front just covered the person to my right. Since I had been caught by surprise, and my hands were occupied, I didn't have a chance to grab it. No doubt I would have had flown off my seat and been injured if he hadn't put his arm out to protect me.

Those new buses aren't safe. I remember many years ago, actually about forty when I had to take my second daughter with me to the American Consulate, which was then just across from the old border in East Jerusalem. We took what was then the #12 bus the entire route from Bayit Vegan to Sha'ar Shechem (Gate.) I had a terrible time at the Consulate because of the rude and nasty Arab staff and the unpleasant walk from there back to the bus stop at Sha'ar Shechem. When the bus arrived, the driver saw that I was upset and carried my daughter in her stroller into the bus. Then he told me not to sit in that seat, just over the door, because it wasn't safe.

Beware! Take care!


rutimizrachi said...

I am always proud when a Jew follows the Torah laws in all of their fine points (how we treat each other, for example) rather than getting caught up in the minutiae of the law that miss the entire point. Clearly, this Yid understands that when a life might be in danger -- even of just being damaged -- hilchot negia is suspended. I'm also glad my friend was rescued from harm.

Mrs. S. said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I think we sometimes forget that wonderful stories like these of ahavat Yisrael and concern for others are actually the norm here in our beautiful country.

Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod said...

This post has been included in this week's Haveil Havalim: The Vayeshev Version, a roundup of the best of the Jewish blog world. Come on back and pay us a visit!

Batya said...

Ruti, Mrs. S, yes, that is the true halacha, helping and saving other people, thank G-d. That's a mehadrin bus for sure.
Tzivia, thanks

Hillel Levin said...

Batya, all the new busses have seat belts. the first row has shoulder belts and the rest of the seats have lap belts.

I have taken to buckeling up when I get on.

Batya said...

not these unprotected ones

Batya said...

Hillel, again yesterday I was on one of the buses to Sha'ar Binyamin and there are no seat-belts at all.