Weekly Chasidic Story #1197 (s5781-09
/29 Mar-Cheshvan 5781 /Nov.16, 2020)
Two yeshivah boys decided to take a trip north in order
to visit some of the gravesites of the righteous in the Tsfat area. They arranged
to borrow a friends car and drive. Things were going along smoothly until
Story in PDF
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3rd birthday to Nava-Golda Tilles
number of years ago in Israel, two yeshiva students decided to take a trip
to the north in order to visit a number of the gravesites of the righteous that
are situated in the Tsfat area. It was a nice day, and they were able to get hold
of a decent car, so they decided to drive.
Things were going smoothly until
they noticed that their thermostat was running a bit higher than it should. Fearing
that the car would overheat, they pulled over on the side of the road to see what
Neither one of these students was well-versed in auto-mechanics,
so they attempted to wave down anyone who could help them. A number of motorists
pulled over and attempted to solve their problem, to no avail. Apparently, they
would need the services of a qualified mechanic. In other words they were stuck.
Suddenly, a car pulled up and out came a man adorned with beard, peyot
and black kippah, and dressed in full chasidic garb. He asked, "What
seems to be the problem?"
"Our car is overheating, and we have
no idea what is wrong," they replied.
"Let me see what I can
do," he man said.
He promptly removed his long frock robe and lay
down on the ground beneath the car, searching for the trouble spot. After a few
minutes, he emerged and said, "I see the problem. Your fan belt tore and
must be replaced."
"What should we do?" the yeshiva boys
"Not to worry," the man answered, as he returned to his
car and brought out a giant tool chest with car repair tools. He then opened his
trunk and took out a brand new fan belt. After completing the repair, he packed
up his car and was prepared to leave.
"How much do we owe you?"
the boys asked.
"Nothing," he replied. "I did it as a kindness.
I enjoy helping people out."
"Well, we cannot force you to take
money for the time that you invested, but what about the part? That is an expensive
part - why should you pay for it?"
"It's not a problem. I must
do this my way," he replied. "Let me tell you my story and you will
"I grew up in a totally secular environment, shunning
the religious way of life. I was a highly successful car mechanic with a thriving
business. Since I knew cars inside-out, I would diagnose a problem which the owner
had no clue existed, or I would charge inflated prices for the repairs that I
"One day, I decided to abandon my life of pursuit of money
and pleasure. Seeking meaning and purpose, I decided to return to my true Jewish
roots. I prepared myself to live a life completely committed to Torah and mitzvah
"As I advanced in commitment, one thing kept gnawing at
me. During my years as a mechanic I had been running a lucrative business, but
not in a very honest way. I was cheating my customers with exorbitant prices,
often for work that was unnecessary. How could my teshuva ('return') become
complete until I repaired all of the petty and often not-so-petty theft?
went to my Rebbe, who was guiding me on my journey of return to Torah and asked
his advice. He told me that since there was no way of identifying my victims,
my teshuva would have to be of a general, all-encompassing nature. He advised
that I should offer my expertise to whomever was in need, free of charge.
this is what I do. Twice a week, I cruise the highways, looking for people in
trouble. I carry with me a complete set of tools and many vital parts. Whenever
I notice someone in need, I offer my services. This is my teshuva. Today,
you have enabled me to draw one step closer to the One above. Thank you!"
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles
from Peninim on the Torah, as printed in the Jersey Shore Torah Bulletin and circulated
in Shabbos Stories for the Parsha.
ago he was a lone "Chasidic car-repair angel." Now there is an organization
with branches throughout Israel called YEDIDIM, with a central dispatcher
who will send the nearest volunteer to help anyone in distress on the roads who
calls and asks for aid, free of charge. On the day that I had to decide which
story to use for my e-mail story list, I had to make use of Yedidim's services.
I called the number and three minutes later someone arrived!
Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor
of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories
to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them
live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.
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1 of Yerachmiel Tilles's 3-volume set, "Saturday
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also available for purchase on
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