I went to my office today in Or Yehuda. As I have mentioned before, it is a series of three busses to get there and a long commute. But no problem...that's what small-size Gemaras are for. Anyways, there were a few "Only in Israel" moments today that I just had to share with you right away!
1. Bus #1: I sat near a young lady, no more than 19 years old. I saw she was in a very intense discussion with someone, who, I surmise, was a student of her's. Not wanting to eavesdrop (yeah, right!) I couldn't help but overhear what they were discussing. The subject? Teshuva and the meaning of what we say in our daily Shemona Esray. And this conversation was being held as if it were a classroom. It was so inspiring to see this that it warmed my heart.
2. Mincha: I was running a little late heading back from the office towards Yerushalayim. I arrived at the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv at about 6:00pm. Knowing that there was a Bet Kenesset in the Station, I headed over there expecting a small little room with a few siddurim and my need to daven Mincha all alone. I was no less than SHOCKED to see a small bet Midrash with dozens of Sefarim (obviously have been used a LOT) and one Minyan for Mincha just finishing and one about to begin! Who would have thought that in Tel Aviv in the BUS STATION, no less, would I find a beautiful minyan with which to daven! And even more interesting was the makeup of the group: Ashkenazi, Sefaradi, Chasidishe, Litvish, Seruga, black hat and one or two that were not sure why they were there. It was a microcosm of Kibbutz Galuyot (the Ingathering of the Exiles)! And when I finished davening and walked out to head towards the bus, there were some wafers and (no, not wine!) juice for those who had just davened. After putting some money in the Tzedaka box, I headed to the bus...for another experience! Read on...
3. Bus #2: On the bus from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim, the traffic came to a standstill. Like all good citizens, I craned my neck to see what the holdup was. While it turned out that there had been not one but TWO accidents along the road, the scene lent itself to yet another "Only in Israel" moment. As I mentioned earlier, it was beginning to get a little late in the day. Evidentally, many of the drivers ahead of me originally thought that they would get to Yerushalayim in time to daven Mincha. WRONG! It was late, and it seems that many of the drivers had yet to daven. No problem! I counted no less than SEVEN vehicles that had pulled over to the side with the driver (and some of the occupants) standing next to their cars davening Mincha! It was so interesting to observe and re-inforced my view of what a special place it is to live. (I will not address the safety issue involved. That is another matter altogether.)
So, three moments that encapsulated for me (just today) why, indeed, I feel at home.