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July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
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Twenty Dollars – And Help From Above

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I returned to work after the pre-summer Memorial Day weekend and found on my desk a brochure sent from the American Friends of Kupat Ha’ir. It described a tragedy that had recently taken place in Eretz Yisrael. A tzedakah campaign had been created after the father of 13 children was suddenly killed in a car accident, leaving behind a wife and the 13 children – including a six-day-old baby.

Despite struggling with many expenses, I decided to express concern by writing out a check for $20. I happily mailed it that morning.

Later that day, I received an earth-shattering call from my daughter. She timidly said that two of our children had just been involved in a serious car accident. Though the car was totaled, both were, Baruch Hashem, able to walk out of the overturned vehicle uninjured. Hatzolah medics told my son and daughter that they had never seen anyone walk away unharmed from an accident of this magnitude.

There are more aspects to our miracle. My son considered filling up the car before driving to work, but at the last moment decided against it, preventing a possible explosion when the car slammed into the curb and flew upside down onto the sidewalk. The impact was so strong that when we observed the accident site the next day we noticed that the curb had been pushed about four inches from its usual place.

A third child had wanted to come for the ride but was not ready on time. The daughter who was in the car had just promised her sister that she would return home to get her just before the vehicle went out of control. (The safety belts in the car’s backseat do not work well; thus we are grateful that she was not in the car at the time.)

With Hashem’s great mercy the children did not collide with the other cars at the accident scene as they went skidding down half the block and across an intersection.

There was a three-foot metal pole with the words “New Jersey gas line” only a few feet away from where the car turned over. It could have injured the children had they collided into it, not to mention the horror of smashing into a gas line.

Because of the car’s broken air conditioner, the windows had to be pulled down on that hot day. The windshield was shattered by the accident but remained mostly intact due to the specially treated glass. Who knows what would have happened to the glass in the door windows if they had been raised during the crash. Once the car stopped moving, the children, hanging upside down, were able to easily crawl out of danger through the open windows that were free of sharp, broken glass.

The next day my son bentched gomel in shul. Post-accident, the children experienced minor aches and pains but overall they are ever grateful with the blessing of survival after experiencing such a difficult ordeal.

Though we can never claim to know all the calculations that are made by the One Above as He steers us through life, we believe that tzedakah saves one from death. Yes, twenty dollars! That sure is a small price to pay to help a needy family, and is definitely a great bargain to protect my beloved offspring from the claws of death.

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I felt ill at ease in a strange way when our daughter drove off in our old Dodge Caravan to pick up my son from yeshiva. She was new at the wheel, and there was plenty of traffic to maneuver around in Lakewood on Friday afternoons. An innocent, precious neshamah in my eyes who didn’t belong on the busy roads, she wanted to help out. So when I was called later to the scene of the accident, the One Above seemed to confirm that my assessment had been totally accurate.

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