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Do The Right Thing


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In 2001, the year of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, my husband and I were both in mourning for close relatives. As a woman, I did not have the responsibility of attending a minyan to recite Kaddish. So I never realized how complicated it could get.

My husband, who never misses minyan, was ultra-conscientious during this time because he wanted to attend minyan in his shul three times daily. This was usually not a problem, since he worked in Brooklyn and was close to our shul. However, on one cold December day, he had to travel to Monsey for a closing. He scheduled the closing so that he would have no trouble getting back to Brooklyn in time for Mincha.

As he was about to leave Monsey, someone asked my husband if he could drop him off in Manhattan. My husband, always the first one to do a person a favor, was a little hesitant. Since 9/11, traffic did not flow smoothly, and he was afraid of missing minyan. He told the man that he was trying to avoid going through Manhattan, but that he could drop him off near the entrance to the Triborough Bridge where he could get a train. My husband would then go through Queens to Brooklyn.

The man agreed to the arrangement and was grateful for the ride.

As my husband got closer to the Triborough Bridge, he began to think that maybe it wasn’t nice to leave his passenger midway, and he decided to take the man to his destination. The man tried to talk my husband out of it, but he made up his mind that this was the right thing to do. He left the man on 47th Street and continued to the FDR.

Near the exit for the tunnel to Brooklyn, all traffic came to a standstill. The police instructed traffic to get off the FDR and take an alternate route. My husband began to panic. He started wondering if he had made the right decision. But how could doing one mitzvah get in the way of doing another one? He was sure that Hashem would not let that happen.

As darkness set in, he raced to the shul. He made it exactly on time and was able to recite the Kaddish. What a close call! After davening, he overheard some people talking about the Triborough Bridge. It seems that there had been an accident there, and people were stranded for hours. Had he gone that way, he would surely have missed the minyan. Hashem had sent him a mitzvah to perform so that he would get to shul on time.

If you do what is right, Hashem will take care of you!

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In 2001, the year of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, my husband and I were both in mourning for close relatives. As a woman, I did not have the responsibility of attending a minyan to recite Kaddish. So I never realized how complicated it could get.

Note to readers: When I heard the words, “You give us seven minutes and we’ll give you the world” on the radio at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, July 13, I never thought that what I was about to hear would shake me to the core and change my world forever. I could not come to myself – and I’m sure most of klal Yisraelcouldn’t either. So I sat down and the following poem spilled forth. Because it is written in a simple style, simple enough for any child to understand, I hope it does not seem to trivialize what happened; it is just my humble reaction to an earth-shattering event.

My husband of 40 years is always ready to help people. He is also very kind to his family and is always eager to embark on a family outing. However, he has one stipulation. He would rather not drive long distances at night, as he has had challenging experiences driving in the dark in fog, rain and other inclement weather.

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