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As we left the man behind, I began to explain the red string, the warding off evil, the meaning of the blessings. You should have a long life; you should be healthy and be granted parnasa (livelihood), and finally, you should have many children.

“You can’t ask for more than that,” said my guest.

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We continued to talk as we exited Zion Gate, leaving the Old City walls behind us. And then, as we were talking and walking, a woman approached from the other direction. She was trying to fasten a bracelet. She looked up and said, “Could you help me? My mother-in-law gave this to me. Just push it until you hear the click.”

And so I helped her with the bracelet and told her that I didn’t hear a click at all. Perhaps it is broken and she should be careful.

By now, I was thinking that my guest must think us truly mad. What kind of person holds out his arm and asks a complete stranger to help her fasten her jewelry? No fear that the other person will grab it and run? No worries other than needing help?

In what world do people act this way? Stop to deliver soup to a stranger; give a blessing; ask someone to fix your bracelet…or fix someone’s bracelet. In what world? In my world, of course. In Israel, where we really are one family, one people. Israel.

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