The traffic grew heavier as they approached the entrance to Yerushalayim. Going to the Holy City for Rosh Hashanah, the Silbers were in good company. Buses, buses, and more buses, and countless private cars, clogged the roads. A typical erev chag.
Packing up the car with clothing and food for the whole family had taken the bulk of the morning. Silently, Pinchas berated himself for not having set out earlier. The closer to the z’man, the longer the drive always takes.
Finally, with little time to spare, Pinchas steered his loaded minivan onto the block where their hosts lived. Then he started circling. “Who can spot a parking spot?” he called out to his restless crew. But every inch that could possibly fit a vehicle seemed to be taken. There were even cars spilling over onto the sidewalks.
“There! I see one!” eight-year-old Yossi shouted from the backseat. Gratefully, Pinchas pulled into the space, barely noticing the large, green dumpster that was to be his car’s neighbor for the duration of the three-day chag.
The kids piled out of the car and helped unload the suitcases as they rushed to settle in before Yom Tov began. It didn’t take long for the Silbers to realize that it hadn’t been a coincidence that this honored spot was the last one available. The previously empty dumpster filled with garbage in no time.
By the second morning of Rosh Hashanah, on their way to shul, Bentzy pointed across the street: “Look at our car! There’s a bag of garbage on the hood!” And there were red and green and gray and white garbage bags piling up in front, behind, and on the side of their silver minivan. The sanitation department wouldn’t be coming by until after Shabbos – another day-and-a-half away. The thought of his immaculate, relatively new minivan being buried under mounds of greasy Yom Tov meal rubbish was hard for Pinchas to block out. But there was nothing they could do about it at this point.
Still, he voiced his inner challenge for his sons to hear, hoping it would help him calm his personal angst. “It’s Rosh Hashanah now. Let’s not think about the car. Now it’s time to daven. After the chag we’ll take care of the car.” Each time they passed the minivan, they saw less silver and more trash. The car was really getting a filth-wash!
At last, it was Motzei Shabbos, and Pinchas and his sons put on rubber gloves and headed out to unearth the vehicle so they could think of traveling home. It wasn’t a very pleasant job, but with concerted efforts, it was done more quickly than they’d thought. “Tomorrow morning, I’ll take it for a car wash,” Pinchas assured his wife and kids. “And it’ll be good as new – hopefully!”
Fast forward a year.
The Silbers were on their way to Yerushalayim for Rosh Hashanah again. This time, the car was a bit fuller – Bentzy was joined by his new wife, Kaila. Soon after last Sukkos, the Silbers had been thrilled to reach a new stage. Their eldest had gotten engaged!
It felt like déjà vu. The car was inching forward alongside multitudes of Jewish families pilgrimaging to Yerushalayim for the chag. And of course, at their destination, there was no place to park. Besides for a nice space, right beside the big green dumpster. “Not this time!” Pinchas chuckled. “One time is enough.” Bentzy and his wife exchanged a smirk and then Bentzy began to laugh. “Nah, Abba! Another time won’t hurt.”
Everyone seemed puzzled by Bentzy’s comment, but Bentzy continued to explain. “You see, last year at this time, a shadchan had ‘redt’ my name to Kaila’s family. They heard nice things about us. But for some reason, they got information that we are a very closed family. That we mind our own business a bit too much. Kaila’s parents weren’t sure what to make of the comment and they stalled on the shidduch.
“But then, on Motzei Rosh Hashanah, my brother-in-law happened to be driving past the green dumpster and he saw me and Abba and Yossi helping clear the trash. Because it was a high-traffic part of the road, he assumed we were doing it to make the area passable for the many people walking past, or helping someone in need. He told my father-in-law, who called back the shadchan that very night, impressed! And the rest is history…”