Eretz Yisrael is a land of wonders and miracles. The return of so many Jews to our homeland, the wars won against our enemies in defiance of all odds, the existence of the State of Israel itself — those are some of the larger miracles. And then there are the wondrous things that happen to us personally, individually.
Two women stranded on a lonely road in Eretz Yisrael, one a visitor from the United States carrying most of her possessions on her person — what were the chances these women would emerge unscathed from such a dangerous situation? But Hashem does not operate on chance. He exercises Hashgacha Pratit, Divine supervision of each and every Jew.
Four of my six children reside in Eretz Yisrael. Three of them live in Judea and Samaria, land which the Arabs keep insisting is “theirs” along with all the 20-something countries that are “theirs.” As a visitor, one can often feel a sense of danger there, although if one’s Jewish radar is properly tuned in, one can feel the concentrated presence of Hashem in His Holy Land, more so than anywhere else on earth.
On one of the many occasions when I went there to visit my children, my middle daughter, Bracha, offered to drive me around rather than my going by taxi or bus, my normal mode of transportation in Israel. We visited my youngest daughter and her family for the day, then set out for the drive back to Bracha’s house. The road from her younger sister’s house to hers is rather isolated, without much traffic. There was some road construction going on in the area, but otherwise it was almost deserted.
A few kilometers after we left, we heard a loud bang, and the car began to shake and vibrate. Bracha pulled over and brought the car to a stop on the side of the road.
It turned out that the tire had blown; there was a hole in the sidewall, and we weren’t going anywhere. We both got out of the car, not knowing what to do except pray. I was carrying my money and passport in a holder around my neck, and I had most of my other possessions with me as well. We called my youngest daughter and told her about our situation. She said that there was a tire dealer in the next town, but first we had to get to the next town. We tried to flag down the occasional car that went by, but no one stopped for us. What should we do?
A few moments later, a swarthy man in a T-shirt and jeans wandered over to us. We could not tell if he was Jewish or Arab. However, he turned out to be a pleasant fellow, and offered to help with our predicament.
Bracha opened the car trunk to take out the jack and spare tire, and the man changed the tire in a matter of minutes. We were very relieved and thanked him profusely. Of course, we also thanked Hashem!
We asked the man — who, as it turned out, was an Arab employed on the road construction crew — what we could offer him for his help. He pointed to a bag of old clothes in the trunk, which Bracha had been planning to discard or give away, and she gladly gave them to him. I also offered him money, which at first he refused to take, but I insisted that he take 100 shekels for his trouble. I wanted to impress upon him that a Jew could be kind to an Arab who was kind to her.
Bracha and I told each other that this must be Eliyahu haNavi. The Arab man smiled and said in Arabic, “Ah! Elyahu il-Nabi!” He too had reverence for our holy prophet.
The man went on his way, and Bracha and I made it to the tire dealer in the next town, where I bought her a new tire. All was well, Baruch Hashem.
Anything could have happened to us on that road. Instead of the kind man that Hashem sent, we could have, chas v’shalom, been met by someone malicious who could have done who-knows-what to us. But instead, Hashem sent His shaliach to perform an undeserved miracle for us.
This incident took place several years ago — but I will never “tire” of telling the story!