That year we made a Jewish heritage trip to Eastern Europe and convinced Shannon and Andrew to join us. It was on that trip in Prague that Andrew started to wear a yarmulke regularly. It was his very first yarmulke and he held it dear. On one occasion, instead of boarding the tour bus, Shannon and Andrew decided to take a taxi. No sooner did the taxi drop them off at the hotel than Andrew realized his yarmulke was not on his head.
In a panic, Andrew chased after the taxi with the swiftness of a marathon runner, all the while calling out to the cabby to stop. The driver heard his cries and waited for Andrew to catch up. Out of breath, Andrew opened the door of the cab. There, on the seat, was his yarmulke – and not just that, he also found his international phone, which in those days was a very expensive item. What is significant is that it was not the phone Andrew chased after but his yarmulke.
Recently, while visiting Shannon and Andrew, I heard the incredible story of Yedidya and Yaakov. Immediately, the incident in Prague that happened so long ago flashed through my mind. I connected the dots. Yedidya and Yaakov’s taxi miracle started in Prague when their father chased after the cab for his yarmulke.
From a taxi in Prague to a taxi in New York, it’s one straight line. And that is the story of Hineni.
I now ask you to multiply that miracle a thousand times and span it over 45 years of Hineni kiruv, and you will realize the awesomeness of the miracle of a nation that in an instant can close the gap of centuries and make the journey from New York to Sinai.
The story of Hineni: Here we are, Am Yisrael, our neshamas forever bound to our Torah bequeathed to us at Sinai. Hineni – here we are!