Dec 5, 2013

Another bus incident, this one ends differently

Carmit Reuven, a reporter for Galei Tzahal in northern Israel, posted the following incident online. It happened to her and is not a fictitious story. I share it because it is far better than the type of the incident that normally gets publicized out of these situations... This is a great example of what should be done - by both parties.

Carmit Reuven writes (my translation):
Another bus, Tel Aviv again, this time an optimistic story:
I got on the bus, the only available seat was next to a Haredi man. I asked to sit down, he got up and I sat down. When I raised my eyes from my iPhone I noticed he had not sat back down. He was standing in the appalling crowdedness of the #240 bus line and was fighting for stability. 

Suddenly I realized that he is not sitting because of me, and he appeared to be older than me by several decades. The dilemma began running through my head... on the one hand, it's his problem! what is this? exclusion of women, I too am a human.. 
on the other hand, this is not how it should be, it's not nice, I am supposed to get up and let those older than me sit and not the opposite.   

After some deliberation I stood up and I said to him: if you do not want to sit next to me, then sit in my place. I will stand.

He smiled, thanked me, and said that anyway he is getting off the bus at the next stop, and then he explained to me that this is his problem alone and it is he who must pay the price for his decisions. "If I decide I want to do a mitzva, for example getting up in the middle of the night and praying loudly, but it would disturb the sleep of my neighbors and  those in my house - it is better for me to go to sleep. Doing a mitzva is not worth anything if it disturbs the other people around me."

I agreed with every word.

Not everyone spits on the bus. The time has come to abandon the hatred and the prejudices, and progress further, to the next station.

Beautiful story. Hopefully it will set an example.

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  1. like (both her offer and his response)

  2. I wonder which kind of incident hapens more often? ... this one? ...or the ones where women get beat up for sitting in the men's section?

  3. Agreed.

    I don't have any issue about getting up. However, if there are many seats available, and she davqa wants to sit next to me (Yes, this has happened twice.), then I will raise an eyebrow.

    I have more of an issue with the M/O guy, sitting next to me, who jumps to get up for a woman, who is not disabled, nor old, nor pregnant, nor any older than I am. I ask him why I should have to get to get because he wants to do what he thinks is a misswah. When I've had a long day, and the weather causes my "war wound" to act up, you do not want to make me get up. :-/

    1. Even if your Rabbi would permit you to stare closely enough at women to evaluate their state of pregnancy, I'm not sure you'd always be accurate in your guess. But maybe your Rabbi would permit you to remain seated. Or maybe that MO guy could tell you why most women could benefit from a seat on the bus after a long day working for their families before they get home to take care of everyone.

  4. Suddenly you go all egalitarian, eh, you feminist?

  5. Nice story, but it's a bit disturbing how the emotionally-charged phrase "exclusion of women" has come to include almost anything in which the difference in how halacha (or minhag, or whatever relevant level of Jewish practice comes into play) relates to the different genders manifests itself. By choosing not to sit next to women, the only thing the guy was "excluding" women from is the dubious right of being able to sit next to whomever they want, even if no one is even remotely suggesting they can't sit where they want.

  6. Exactly what mitzva is he talking about

  7. I don't believe this story. Everyone knows all Haredim are barbarians who have no respect whatsoever for women and only know how to be rude and spit and punch.


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