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January 16, 2017 / 18 Tevet, 5777
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How Is This Night Different?

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We were making good time on Erev Pesach. The back of our car was packed with coolers filled with homemade foods for the Seder – savory Moroccan gefilte fish balls, sweet and sour turkey balls, and trays of delicious baked goods.

My husband’s white kittel lay atop our suitcases, together with the afikomen toys for our grandchildren. Everything felt just right.

Then we heard the sound.

This was the kind of sound that didn’t belong to our car, and it sounded expensive. My husband and I looked at one another and tacitly agreed to ignore it. Less than an hour further down I-95, a second sound joined the first one. This one was a bit scarier, as it was accompanied by a seizing, jerking sensation.

Traffic was dense and swift. A green and yellow eighteen-wheeler was bearing down on us just as we began to lose velocity. An hour outside Baltimore, I yelled at my husband to pull unto the shoulder – and the eighteen-wheeler just missed us.

We each murmured a prayer of gratitude as we called for roadside assistance. My husband’s knuckles were white.

Along that stretch of I-95, there are only two main rest stops. Was it a coincidence that we broke down one mile from the Chesapeake House? We couldn’t stay where we were, as it was far too dangerous. But how would we hobble across four lanes of speeding traffic?

I whispered another prayer. My husband looked up and saw that the highway was free of traffic. There was no traffic in sight! Could this be? We limped across all four lanes to the rest stop before the traffic resumed. How marvelous! I was giddy with wonder.

We pulled into our safe haven and unloaded everything. Laughing, we realized that we must have looked like two immigrants on a landing dock. The only thing we were missing was a featherbed.

The flatbed truck pulled out of the parking lot with our crippled car, headed back to Philadelphia. The sky was foreboding. The forecasted storm was gathering momentum. With the first raindrops falling, our son-in-law soon arrived to rescue us.

With a strong hand and an outstretched arm.

Miracles still happen!

Bracha Strimber

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