May 2, 2017

In Brooklyn - N.Y. a number of years ago, Mrs. Kleinbart was expecting a baby. Labour began one morning, and she informed her husband, that they had better hurry to Mt. Sinai Hospital. Driving through the streets of Boro Park was manageable, but the expressways toward Manhattan were totally congested in rush hour traffic. Every passing minute increased their worry that they would not get to the hospital in time.

The quickest way was through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but the lines of waiting cars seemed endless. In desperation, they made an illegal turn into the lane reserved for buses and taxis, and sped along - a lone car amongst yellow cabs and commuter buses. They drove passed the tollbooth and into the tunnel, without stopping to pay the toll.

As they emerged on the other side, a policeman who’d been notified by the tunnel authorities, flagged down the car. "What's going on?" the officer demanded. "My wife is in labour. We're rushing to the hospital to have a baby," shouted Yidel. "Why didn't you call us?" the policeman called back. "We would have given you an escort. Go!" The Kleinbarts resumed their rush and made it to Mount Sinai Hospital on time where their baby was born that morning. That night Yidel returned to Boro Park from Manhattan via the Battery Tunnel, and when he reached the tollbooth, he handed two tokens to the toll collector. "Why two?"  asked the attendant. "I was here this morning and I was rushing - "Before he could finish the sentence, the toll collector said excitedly, "Oh, what did your wife have?" Yidel was stunned. "How did you know?" he asked in amazement. "They told us that a religious guy like you could surely come back and pay," replied the toll collector.

The officers in the tollbooth and the patrol car had seen Yidel for merely moments and yet were confident to make their evaluation. A remarkable Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name)! As we approach Rosh Hashanah the central question that we are going to be asked is simply: To what degree does my life reflect G-d’s presence in this world? The answer is up to us as individuals, because to live an honourable and ethical life needs no special tools or skills, just commitment. 

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