Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Unexpected Teacher

I was on the subway & feeling drained. 'Twas a long day. Sometimes an individual can forget why (s)he is here. That the whole purpose of our existence is to do good. To fulfill Torah and mitzvot.
I'm embarrassed to admit that at that moment, I wasn't focusing on my mission. I was just tired. I was fed up.

An African American man arrived on my subway car and was about to make a speech.
Oh great. Another speech about jesus or money. I silently dreaded.

But to my pleasant surprise, this speech was different. And was a huge wake up call for me.
I don't remember the beginning of the speech, but the middle to end went something like the following:

"I'd like to tell y'all that I wasn't always a good guy. I used to do bad things. But then I realized that I can change. I want y'all to know that - you can always change! You can be in the dark, but you're not trapped. Just step into the light. Just like that.
G-d is waiting for you. He will accept you regardless of where you've been.
And I want y'all to know...that G-d is great not SOME of the time, but ALL of the time. He is great."

I felt like he was sent to speak directly to me. Kinda selfish, I know. But hey - each person should feel like the world was created for himself/herself, right?
What was the message I got? Do teshuva. Know that everything is l'tova. Gam zu l'tova - BECAUSE G-d is always great and right. Not only sometimes. But at all times.

Chodesh tov. May this chodesh Nissan be full of personal redemptions for each one of you and all of Klal Yisrael.


  1. Apparently today was the day for inspiring subway rides. I'll mark that in my calendar so I don't miss out next year.

  2. Who said that this happened today? Perhaps this happened a while ago, and I merely blogged about it today. :D

  3. That's another "little" thing! It's so hard yet so important to pay attention to these sorts of things. I've had a few life-changing experiences because of stories just like yours. Thanks for reminding me of this message during this particular time of year. Although Purim has passed, it was "coincidences" like yours (whenever it was lol) that ended up being our salvation. By paying attention to the everyday happenings, who knows how one's life can change. Dozens of stories that have taken place around now throughout our history have started with someone simply paying attention to something out of the ordinary.

  4. And then he said, "Jesus loves you."

  5. I wonder if he got the idea of change from Obama...but all jokes aside, this is a great message. G-d is good ALL the time. We may not always see it but it's true!!

  6. The speech of the African American man on Sefardi Gal's subway car sounds like Tess Mercer's decision to become one of the good guys by joining Clark Kent and Oliver Queen in WatchTower in Smallville.

  7. %Shocked% - absolutely! One of my favorite quotes is: ezehu chacham? Halomed mi kol adam. If each individual truly digests the concept that he is WORTH one whole world, and that the whole world was created for him - he will see Hashgacha Pratit in ways that he never imagined.

    Princess Lea - LOL. Surprisingly...he did not! Or maybe he did...but I tuned it out with my ipod. I don't remember.

    Devorah - :D

    Mr. Cohen - I'm not familiar with that show...but becoming a good guy is always good! :)

  8. I meant to post this story yesterday, but I just did not have any time.

    The mashgiach of a large yeshiva in Israel got into a taxi. After a couple of seconds the chiloni taxi driver began talking to the rabbi (shocker...). The taxi driver says "Rabbi, you must hear this story." (That's right a story in a story.) A couple of years ago I went with a couple of friends backpacking through India. One time in the middle of the night we heard screaming in one of the tents. We all woke up to find one of our friends being chocked by a giant snake. We all did not know what to do. Finally one of the guys screamed 'quickly, say Shema,' having heard when he was younger that that is what one should say when he is in trouble. Just as the guy finished saying the word Echad the snake let go of him and slithered off into the forest.
    Rabbi, would you believe, now my friend lives in Meah Shearim with long payot, a long beard, and his whole family is chareidi?!"
    The rabbi responded back "so what happened to you?"
    The taxi driver replied with a confused look on his face "No Rabbi, you misunderstood, it happened to my friend."

    Sometimes Hashem could be giving you a sign, but you just miss the whole thing.

  9. Azriel Tzvi - wow. What a chazak story. It's so true! We can't just wait for personal miracles -- we need to learn from other peoples' miracles as well!

  10. That IS a really good story. And a powerful lesson indeed. We need to take messages from the things going on around us. Thanks!

  11. For another great train story, check out this post: