I'm Meir. I drive a taxi in Ashdod. This is a picture of my rig to the left. Hey don't get me wrong, I'm not religious or anything, and I'm certainly not a Haredi. I enjoy a good soccer match (especially Betar Yerushalayim) on Shabbat. Some people think hackers are dumb, but not us Israelis. I can speak 4 languages - Hebrew, French, Arabic, and English. Rav Lazer said I could write whatever I want, and that he'd only correct spelling mistakes, so he can't sell me down the river.
The truth is, that before I met Rav Lazer, I used to work like a dog for 7 seven days a week. In case you're wondering about moving here, life ain't easy with 4 kids and a wife that likes to serve meat or chicken every day and to get her hair done once a week.
Once, I drove Rav Lazer to a lecture of his in Ashkelon. Even though he's a Haredi, we hit it off great. He didn't nag me about religion, just took an interest about my family and me. I told him I was in debt up to the nose. He asked me if I worked on Shabbat. I said yes. He said let the rig rest on Shabbat, have a nice meal with the family, and take a walk on the beach with the wife and kids, and he promises I'll get out of debt. I said, "Rabbi, with all due respect, you're nuts. How can I work less hours, and forfeit Saturday doubletime tariffs, and make more money? Where the heck did you learn math?"
He only smiled. He said that I'll save the money on tires and repairs. I didn't believe him.
The following Saturday, I got a great fare from a French tourist who wanted to go from Ashdod to Tzfat via the Kinneret. Fat city! The fare was 1850 shekels round trip and the madamoiselle gave me a 250-shekel tip and payed for lunch. I laughed all the way home with 2100 shekels in my pocket...until Sunday morning.
The next morning, a cop pulled me over and claimed that I crossed a solid white line: 4 points and 600 shekels down the drain. The points on my license hurt more than the dough. An hour later, I passed a construction site and got two flat tires from nails on the road. The tires were shot, another 900 shekels. Then, I had engine trouble. Diesel engines use cheap fuel, but their maintenance is more expensive. Another 800 shekels. I made a lousy 200 shekels that day, but lost 6 hours and 2300 shekels, all the money I made the day before and the few fares that I made before the day was up.
At 7 pm, exhausted, I got a call from guess who - Rav Lazer. He wanted me to take him to one of the moshavim in the area for another of his gigs. To make a long story short, I put 2 and 2 together and figured that you can't fight city hall, especially when Hashem is the mayor.
Hey, that was 18 months ago. I'm not gonna tell you I'm religious or anything, but I don't work on Shabbat anymore. I've repaid 80% of my debts, and my home life is a zillion times better. So do yourself a favor - don't work on Shabbat. Take it from me, Meir the cabby from Ashdod.
Rav Lazer gave me one more piece of advice - buy gas from a station that closes on Shabbat. I do; here's proof:
Ashdod gas station, near the port: The neon sign says, "Open 24 hours, station observes the Sabbath".
This is really cool being on the web like this. I guess if I ever retire, I'll start a blog. You can't imagine how many juicy stories Israeli cabbies can tell. And I mean juicy...
When you come to Ashdod, look me up. L'hitraot from your friend Meir the cabby from Ashdod. Hey, how do you like my English?