We were returning from the Kotel on a crowded bus, when we noticed an elderly lady get on the bus with her cart.
As is expected on Israeli buses, she approached a row of chairs in which three young girls (aged 5-6) were seated with their father. The lady proceeded to ask one of the girls to please let her sit down instead of her. Immediately, the father began to scream at her, saying that only the front seats are reserved for the elderly, and that they don’t have to get up for her.
As the bystanders remained completely silent to this lady’s plight, the Rabbanit took the lady in her arms and guided her to our daughters seats – both of whom made us so proud as they immediately got up on their own for her! – making sure she was comfortable and taken care of. The man continued to hurl insults, so the Rabbanit silenced him, sternly informing him that it was entirely inappropriate of him to speak this way to his elder, and that it was so tragic that he caused his daughters to miss an opportunity of learning the Torah law of respecting the elderly.
The Rabbanit stood with the elderly lady, Mrs. Edri, for the rest of our ride. She told us about being born in Morocco, her family, and how she regularly travels for hours on numerous busses to pray at the Kotel. She then blessed us, our children, and our community with long life, health, and all the blessings of the Torah – but not before sharing some unsolicited marital harmony advice, lecturing us on the laws of Tzniut, and the importance of the Land of Israel – all of which I am sure we will take to heart!
“תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: עֲלוּבִין וְאֵינָן עוֹלְבִין, שׁוֹמְעִין חֶרְפָּתָן וְאֵינָן מְשִׁיבִין, עוֹשִׂין מֵאַהֲבָה וּשְׂמֵחִין בְּיִסּוּרִין — עֲלֵיהֶן הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר: ״וְאֹהֲבָיו כְּצֵאת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בִּגְבֻרָתוֹ״.”
”And the Sages taught: About those who are insulted and do not insult, who hear their shame and do not respond, who act out of love and are joyful in suffering, the verse says: “And they that love Him are as the sun going forth in its might” (Judges 5:31).”
- Talmud, Shabbat (88b)