It was a brisk fall day in late October some years ago when Chavy (name changed) decided that since the weather was perfect she would walk to work. She had, Baruch Hashem, just resumed her work schedule after being home for six weeks due to her maternity leave for the birth of her latest child. She felt the exercise was good for her, as it was only about a half mile to her job. She put all of her work papers into her knapsack and gingerly swung it over onto her back for the trek to work.
It was a busy day as she walked along the main street to her job, carefully crossing the street each time as she waited for all the morning traffic to pass. Along the way there were many men out and about leaving the local shuls, rushing to start their day too.
She waited for the light to turn green at the street two blocks from her destination. Just as she stepped off the curb to cross the street, a speeding car came quickly onto her path from the main street and made a sharp right turn – hitting her hard. She flew up into the air and hit the ground hard but, Baruch Hashem, her knapsack saved her head from the expected severe impact. The rest of her body, though, was not as fortunate. Within seconds all traffic halted on that main street. People came running over to see what occurred.
Her family was contacted immediately, and Hatzolah arrived at the scene to medically aid her. She was rushed to the hospital while the police investigated the tragic accident. Her husband, Reuven (name changed), quickly arrived to help get the best care for her, while family friends helped tend to the needs of the other children at home. Thankfully, most of her children were already at school.
After almost a full day in extreme pain at a local hospital, Chavy was transferred to a top Manhattan hospital for critical care and surgery. She had injuries that, in time, would heal. It seemed that the knapsack she wore on her back helped cushion her fall when she hit the ground, thereby saving her life. She had intricate surgery to help heal her wounds.
During the weeks and months that followed, many wonderful people volunteered their time to help the family by preparing food and assisting with the children, among other acts of kindness. Five high schools in Flatbush took turns sending pairs of girls to Chavy’s house for several hours after school for many weeks. Their chesed was remarkable and extremely appreciated.
During this time, I was asked if I knew anyone who would volunteer to assist with the coming weeks’ meals. Since I was in charge of coordinating the high school girls’ schedule each week, I turned to my e-mail base of the hundreds of people I know through my Tupperware business and cookbook travels.
A day after this inquiry I received a call from Chavy’s sister-in-law, Malky (name changed), who was in charge of organizing the meals. She enthusiastically told me an amazing story, but first asked me to whom I sent the e-mails. I simply said, “Everyone.”
A man called her, saying that his wife received the e-mail and promised to bring over some food. But she left for Israel without getting the chance to do it. When he received an e-mail from his wife asking him to follow up, he did so. He asked if anyone needed breakfast, lunch and dinner for the family. After thanking him, Malky said that bringing over dinner would suffice.
Several hours later, there was a knock on the door. After a volunteer helper let him in, this man passed Chavy sitting with her crutches nearby. He had several boxes of food with him, enough to feed three families. As he left the kitchen area and looked at Chavy, they both stared at each other in a puzzled way. He said, “You look so familiar.” She agreed. He asked about the details of her accident, and saw how yad Hashem simply took over. He then said that he was in the car behind the car that hit her! He told her that he got out of his car and started to divert traffic away from her to avoid further damage to her. In all the tumult that was going on, he didn’t get her name. He heard she was a kimpiturin (mother of a newborn) and had, kin’ayin hara, a large family. He told himself in a heartfelt way that he wished he could help her in some way, and felt bad that he did not know how to reach her.Rochelle Rothman
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