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May 19, 2008

2 stories of greatness

(originally posted on DB)

I just saw two separate stories, both of which display amazing levels of morality, chessed and I guess a good upbringing. I want to share them with you.

1. An Egged bus driver on a Haredi line to Ashdod completed his route. As he was inspecting his bus, he found a plastic shopping back under a seat. He described it as "the type of bag one puts pita in at the bakery". He picked it up and looked inside. To his amazement he found it contained a lot of money. Upon counting it, he was shocked to find $40,000.

I don't know about you, but if I was carrying $40000 I would hold on to it, even if it was in a non-descript package. If I carry anything more than $200 I am constantly checking to make sure I have not lost it.

But some poor shnook lost a bag with $40,000.

I like to believe that if I found so much money I would make an effort to find the owner, but maybe I would only make a half-hearted effort. You never know until you are in the situation.

Anyways, the bus driver, right away contacted the Egged guy in charge of the Haredi sector of Ashdod. A little while later they found the owner of the money who provided simanim and claimed the money.

Egged is awarding the driver with some sort of honor and certificate because of his dedication and honesty.

It is nice to see such honesty in our cut-throat world.

2. The second story relates to the three yeshiva boys who were recently arrested in Japan for drug smuggling. I have not found the story too interesting, personally, and have therefore not paid too much attention to the details. My feeling is that when you commit a crime you take a risk of being caught. I am a bit ambivalent to their plight because they took a risk, they were caught and are now paying the price. They are not in jail unfairly, they are not in jail because of anti-semitism or for any other unrelated reason. They were smuggling drugs. I am, as I said, a bit ambivalent to their plight. But then again, I am not really that nice of a person.

Rav Chaim Weiss, on the other hand, is a very nice guy. Weiss is a Satmar Chassid from Antwerp. Weiss travels around the world, whenever he hears of a Jew stuck in a jail somewhere - any Jew regardless of his affiliation, or lack thereof, to Satmar or any other group - and does whatever he can to ease the fellows conditions and try to assist in obtaining his freedom.

Weiss claims to have been in every country in the world, in almost every prison in the world, to assist Jews who get in trouble. One story related is that a week before Pesach, Weiss simply disappeared. no word to anybody - friends, family, nobody. Nobody had any idea where he was.

Erev pesach he shows up at home with tens of Jewish children that he smuggled out of Iran, by renting, out of his own pocket, a KLM airplane, getting them to Pakistan and from there to Holland.

With these threw boys in Japan, he worked his contacts and put forth his efforts, and he was the first person to be allowed in to see them. he has helped improve their conditions.

Weiss often fasts days in a row, surviving only on water (and I guess adrenaline) and food he was able to bring from home, when possible, because he goes to places where no kosher food is available.

His life is dedicated to the mitzva of pidyon shvuyim - whether you or I think someone deserves the help or not matters not. he sees someone in trouble and he drops everything and goes to help. And he gets the job done because of his dedication to the cause.


  1. i just hope the israeli tax authority is not going to look into where this guy got 40 grand from.

    i don't want to deny rav weiss's mesirat nefesh, but perhaps his efforts could be better spent on a different endeavor. i have little sympathy for jews in jail.

  2. LOZ - I don't either, as I mentioned in the post. But some people have a higher level of chessed and look for ways to help these people despite the fact that it was their own fault.

  3. why would you wish the israeli tax authority on anyone. no one deserves that (except certain politicians).



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