Monday, July 4, 2011

How much can you buy with a hundred shek?

Yom sheni, 2 Tamuz 5771.

As it was the first Sunday of summer vacation, the bus was typically very full.  Soldiers, giggling girls, mothers shlepping several little ones.  I sat down next to a young female soldier who was busy texting.  (I wish I could type that fast with just my thumbs!)

At every stop, the seats filled up, until eventually a young mother sat down on the steps with two small children.  I looked back to where they sat behind me, and noticed a hundred shekel bill on the floor near them.

I picked it up, and offered it to the mother.  She said it was not hers.  No one near her claimed it either.  As it was folded the way I fold my own, I checked my purse to be sure that it was not mine.  My bill was folded right where I had left it.  So, I got up and walked to the back of the bus, trying to remember who had boarded after me.

I offered the bill to everyone as I made my way through the bus.  A young solider in the back row of seats turned to his seat mate and said with exaggerated surprise, "Ohhhhhh, you remember that hundred shek bill I dropped earlier?" Even though I knew he was playing, I held the bill out to him; but he laughingly refused it.  "Staaaam!  Just kidding."

I went back to my seat.  I asked the soldier next to me to remind me of the grammar:  "How do I say "dropped" in Hebrew?"  She quickly went through a short lesson in Hebrew grammar, working out with me if I wanted a passive verb, or an active past tense verb.  (Everyone in Israel seems ready to be a teacher, if I ask.)

I walked up and gave the bill to the bus driver, explaining that someone had dropped it.  Thanks to my soldier-teacher, he understood me, and took the bill.  Of course I cannot know what became of it after that.  Did someone come forward, grateful that money was not lost after all?  Did the bus driver pocket it, turn it into lost and found, drop it into a pushke?  I don't know, and I don't especially care.

Right now, the value of a hundred shekel bill is close to $30.  If the behavior on the bus is not something you are accustomed to in your part of the world, you will understand why I never tire of "only in Israel" stories.  If it is something you are used to, then you are very blessed.

I would like to dedicate as much of that busload of honesty as possible to a refua shelaima for my dear friend Tzuriya Kochevet bat Sara Imeinu.  May we do as many acts of kindness and honesty as possible, and may they help us to pay for a healthy, whole, completely-repaired world.

Haveil Havalim #320, the Summertime Edition, is up at Frume Sarah's World.  Yeshiva Bochur, writing as "Exiled Warrior," has an excellent post published there.  Please shep nachas with me!
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