In Israel, every employer is required by law to provide transportation to and from work for all of their employees. The larger factories send a bus around town to pick up every employee for every shift. A smaller business will pay for a monthly pass for the public bus system, which was better because then I could use the bus pass for my own errands and appointments as well. That saved me 135 shekels a month.
For this latest job, I was cleaning toilets and mopping floors in a factory that had 600 employees and was a 30 minute drive from my home in Tzfat. I received many miraculous blessings regarding this job, and one of them was that while all of the other 599 employees took the mini-bus to work, I alone was picked up in a private car.
I kid you not. I was a janitor. I cleaned the toilets, and yet, every morning, the factory sent a private car to pick me up and deliver me to work. I felt like such a princess. Something so crazy can only happen in my beloved Israel. Sending a private car for the janitor? It’s ridiculous!
My morning driver was named Moni, short for Shimon Bar Yochai. He was a silvered-haired, old man who only spoke Hebrew and liked things done his way. Therefore, instead of picking me up at my front door, I had to walk to the end of the street. It didn’t make sense, but I did it. None of it made sense, anyhow. Moni and I would talk for the first ten minutes and then my Hebrew skills would be exhausted, so I would look out the window and enjoy the gorgeous drive through the verdant mountains of HaGalil in Northern Israel. Princess Rivka in her private car.
One morning, I noticed that Moni had hanging from the rearview mirror, a photo of a young man in an army uniform. I asked him if it was him because it looked like an old picture. I don’t know. I thought maybe he fought in the Yom Kippur War of 1967. Moni explained that it was his son and he started crying. There I was, in the passenger seat next to this old man. He was crying and I didn’t speak enough Hebrew to understand why. Finally, I got it. He and his wife had 3 daughters and one son. When the boy was 20 years old, he took the bus to Tel-Aviv to renew his driver’s license and some Arabs placed a bomb on the bus and everyone was murdered. Moni kissed his son good-bye for a daytrip and the kid got blown up by Arab terrorists.
Moni said that he and his wife lost it after that. They both quit their jobs that they had been working at for many years and were soon going to retire, and they sold their dira because his wife just couldn’t live there anymore without their son. They rented an apartment on the other side of town and tried to get through the grief. Eventually, Moni was ready to get back to work so he became a taxicab driver and that’s why he was picking me up. He was very proud of his 3 daughters and had many grandchildren from them, but he missed his son.
It is a sad fact in Israel that you just never know who has lost loved ones to suicide bombers, rockets, and other acts of cowardly terrorists. It happens every week. We need Moshiach.
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