web analytics
July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Navigating The Journey: Bein Odam L’Chaveiro

Wahrhaftig-022814-Man

A young man from Brooklyn came to his rav seeking a tikun. Desperate for attention, he had been vandalizing his neighbors’ vehicles. He loosened taillight bulbs and even removed turn signal arms from the steering column. “Rebbe,” he cried, “in the past three weeks I have destroyed the turn signals on hundreds of cars, vans and trucks in the neighborhood.” The rav asked the young man if he had stopped doing these things. “Yes,” the young man replied sadly, “because nobody noticed.”

The story is fiction, but exposes a wry truth. Repeated surveys show that 80% of drivers regard themselves as better than average, and consider themselves less likely than others to cause traffic accidents. While it is impossible for 80% of drivers to be better than the remaining 50%, most of us seem able to fudge the math.

Wahrhaftig-022814-HarlemI regard my own driving as superior. Family members, however, seem to have devoted themselves to pointing out my nonexistent poor driving habits. My wife has spent over thirty years telling me about exits and turns I was never really going to miss. My sons are very reluctant passengers, citing what they call my hyper-cautious habits. They disagree with my assessment that if you are able to lean forward and adjust the radio of the car ahead, you are not really maintaining a safe following distance. They also complain when I fail to change lanes after going three car lengths in a straight line. Their criticism may not have made me a better driver, but it has certainly improved my ability to drive while being showered with negative comments.

The boys grew up in Los Angeles, where driving courtesy habits might be considered neurotic behavior by New York standards. Signaling the intention to change lanes on a crowded freeway usually results in the other driver slowing to create an opening. Traffic on busy streets halts in both directions to allow pedestrians to cross, even in the middle of the block. On Shabbos, visitors are cautioned to wait for a lull in traffic before approaching the curb so drivers won’t brake on their behalf. Sure, shots are occasionally fired on Los Angeles freeways, but such incidents are offset by 15-mph police chases. Overall, I found driving to be a tame sport suited to little old ladies who view the road through the tiny gap between the steering wheel and the dashboard.

Things changed when we moved to Brooklyn. Honking horns, once heard only in cases of extreme danger, supplied the soundtrack to all driving. It quickly became clear that New York City has a very good reason for not allowing right turns on red lights: traffic still flowing long after the green light changes to red would be delayed by someone slowing down to turn. On this matter, authorities seem to understand the public’s needs.

It took some time, but I adapted to Brooklyn driving. Because our street is one of few that cross local railroad tracks, there is a lot of traffic. Our house is about 12 or 13 car lengths from the traffic light at the corner. At first, parking the car at home was a challenge. Traffic behind me would race for the light, even when it had been red for a while. I would signal and slow down, but drivers whizzing by prevented me from backing into the space. Since they were speeding toward a red light where traffic was already stopped, I have often had time to approach such drivers after I parked. This led to several unpleasant encounters.

About the Author: Boruch Wahrhaftig resides in New York when not visiting China, Israel and South Africa. His writing on culture, science, and personal well-being is published in the USA and globally. Books on inspiration within nature and edible science are under construction.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Navigating The Journey: Bein Odam L’Chaveiro

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Russia Steps Up in U.S.-led Nuclear Talks with Iran
Latest Sections Stories
Grieff-070315

In the face of evil, we can do acts of kindness. We can do good deeds.

Teens-Twenties-logo

I realized that I am an integral part of that man who wished to win – I am also a part of a nation; I felt like I was standing there and shouting, “I won.”

Teens-Twenties-logo

As I powerfully belted out the song, Ani Maamin B’emunah Sheleima – which means “I believe in God with full faith” – a thought suddenly crossed my mind.

Ganz-View-From-Window-logo

I do not suggest abandoning civilization for a pristine desert island or a hilltop in Judea or Samaria.

After diamonds were discovered in South Africa in the mid-1800s, Antwerp regained its prominence as the diamond capital of the world.

Search the Internet for innovative barbeque items and you might just be surprised at what you come across.

Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.

You’re not seeking perfection. You’re seeking a life that an average person can manage and feel good about. Don’t feel pressure to change everything at once.

The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.

In Culture Shock, readers will also come to identify with a culture from the other end of Orthodox Jewry’s spectrum.

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Executive Function Disorder (EFD) have trouble keeping themselves organized and on-task.

Our Sages have told us exactly how we should act – and how our children should act – in Pirkei Avos, Ethics of the Fathers.

A second supposed difficulty actually becomes a reason to corroborate that Amestris is Esther.

I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other.

More Articles from Boruch Wahrhaftig
Wahrhaftig-022814-Man

Have you seen drivers mindlessly block traffic to load or unload passengers and cargo while a huge parking space is only a few feet away?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/navigating-the-journey-bein-odam-lchaveiro/2014/02/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: