Back in the late 70's in Jerusalem, there was an eccentric old man who appointed himself the director of traffic at the entrance to Jerusalem. This was in the “old days”, when there was only one entrance to the city from the west. All the traffic from Tel Aviv and the coast funneled into this one traffic light at the old Givat Shaul intersection.
The old man, whom everyone jokingly and affectionately called the “Minister of Traffic” or “Honorable Minister” set up a beach chair on the concrete island that separated the inbound and the outbound lanes. In the winter, he'd have a thermos of coffee and in the summer, a bottle of water. Facing west, every time the light turned green, he'd motion with his umbrella to all the cars to move forward. Sometimes, he'd call out, “Yalla, yalla,” Hebrew slang for “get a move on, pal!” When the light would turn red, he'd snap to attention and hold his cane forward as if he were a U.S. Marine fulfilling the “present arms” command, signaling the incoming traffic to halt.
The Minister was well into his eighties in the early 1980's, but he was still directing traffic until the First Lebanon War broke out in 1982. After that, I never saw him again. Now, he's probably directing traffic at the entrance to Heaven; the prophet Isaiah said that we're all a nation of tzaddikim...
Sure, the “Minister” was eccentric. Someone once told me that he was a Holocaust survivor, but I never knew for sure. Someone else told me that he lived in the Givat Shaul neighborhood, and that he died of a broken heart after being hospitalized for an illness. He was beside himself with worry that while he was bedridden, there'd be mayhem at the entrance to Jerusalem. Who'd be directing the traffic?
Also featured this week (alphabetically according to author):
Rav Shalom Arush: The Righteous Leader
Dr. Zev Ballen: Multi-Messaging
Christal Carter: Which Child, Mom?
Rabbi David Charlop: The Simcha Connection
Dovber Halevi: Once Joe Cool, now Joseph
Yal Karni: Eternal Youth
Rabbi Nissan Dovid Kivak: Out of the Self Mode
Rivka Levy: Life Can be Better
Racheli Reckles: The Same Mistakes
Bright Beams blessings for a beautiful week!