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Aug 21, 2012

Tzaddikim Feeding The Meters

A nice story is spreading through Facebook, as reported by Kikar. I first saw it shared by Jameel, both on his FB page and then on Muqata.

Nir Mennusi wrote, on his Facebook page, that he went out to his car on a busy street in jerusalem and as he gets to his car he sees a young haredi fellow, Litvishe and clean shaven, feeding the parking meter where his (Nir's) car is parked.

Nir stopped him and asked if he is aware that he is putting coins in the meter of "my car"? The young man responded that in another moment you would be getting a parking ticket... Nir looked up and saw2 meters away and advancing was a city meter maid checking all the cars and giving tickets.

"Ashrecha" - praise to you, he called out to the haredi fellow, though as he turned back he saw the young man was already running off to stick a few coins in the next row of cars that might have gotten tickets.

That's not the end of the story... after all, one can get in trouble for feeding the meter of someone else's car to avoid a ticket. the metter maid caught up with the young haredi fellow. the meter main, a bare-headed and stubble-faced man, stopped the young men and explained that he should check better as he showed him some cars had a digital parking device in the window so did not need the meter to be fed. The meter maid took the young man along with him and showed him which cars needed their meters fed..

Nir says that after he watched this he could not control himself and he went over to them and said "the two of you have made my day! you are simply two tzaddikim, and there should be many more like you in Israel!". The meter maid responded saying "I am no tzaddik, he is the tzaddik and I am just helping him..."

The meter maid might have just been helping, but he probably could have gotten in a lot of trouble for giving up all those tickets by helping the young men feed the meters...

Ynet spoke to Menussi, who seems to be the son of someone famous and is himself a baal teshuva who manages a website and teaches Chassidut, says that despite the cynics who have commented on his status claiming it to be an urban legend, it really happened and he saw it. All he wanted to do was share a nice story that happened to him.

Such a story also raises halachic questions, such as could this young man, if he wanted to, have demanded Nir, or the other car owners, reimburse him the money? if he had gotten in trouble, would they have had to pay his fine? Would they have to not just reimburse him but also pay him for his time? If he saw the meter maid coming, would he have been obligated (rather than just good-will), if it was not too much effort that would incur him a serious loss, to go out and feed the meters?

Despite all those side-questions, there are good people out there doing good things. And it is nice to share a good story every now and then.. Kol Hakavod!

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  1. I think that the most serious halachic problem is of the meter-maid himself: he is getting paid to give tickets, not to help people avoid them.

  2. Check out this comment I got on my blog:

    Chipper has left a new comment on your post "From Facebook: The Two Tzadikkim":

    I remember reading a story, at least a decade ago, in the New York Times about a New Yorker who was angry at the city government, possibly over a parking ticket, who found a way to get even. He figured out that the city would lose substantial revenue if he went around putting coins in meters, as the city could not write tickets for overtime parking, which is where the money is.

    It turned out that the fellow was costing the City of New York millions of dollars over the course of a year or so, and, of course, the meter maids in the affected area were falling woefully behind their quotas. The police were called in to investigate, and they found a way to prosecute the man. He was convicted and I think he even served time, but I'm not sure about that.

    If I had more time I'd Google it to death and provide links. But you'll have to do that yourself.

    I'll look into this tomorrow :)

  3. I wonder how much money he spent feeding the meters to screw the city

  4. http://moshemoshel72.blogspot.com/2012/08/rav-elyashiv-ztl.html

  5. This may be a tad pedantic, but how can a meter maid be male?

    1. just like a chairman of the Board can be a woman...its simply become a generic term

  6. Google to death?
    I found these in the first page of my first search:


    I think something that makes this worse is that he was doing it right ahead of the meter maid in already expired meters. In other words, his concern was to prevent people from paying tickets that for a crime they had already committed i.e. leaving there car at the meter beyond the amount of time they had paid. Which causes the city to lose revenue, and removes a deterrent against repeat offenses.
    If he would see people's meter just about to expire and decided to pay for them, that is a different story, although in some places in the US at least that is illegal.

    Good intentions, but he didn't consider the harm he was doing to the public.

  7. It's an episode of Dharma & Greg (1st season)

  8. i don't even know what that is...


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