Many of the deeds we do seem quite insignificant but prove to have far-reaching implications. The following true story highlights the great value of carefully considering each of our decisions, large and small.
Yosef and Rachel were looking forward to this long-awaited journey to Eretz Yisrael. They left for the airport shortly after sunset. As they drove along, Rachel was chatting excitedly about the trip. She wondered aloud whether she had found the right gifts for their family and friends and then her conversation shifted to her favorite topic – of someday soon meriting to live in Eretz Yisrael. All the while her husband, Yosef, wasn’t paying too much attention because he apparently had something weighty on his mind. He kept glancing toward the darkening sky, looking at his watch and repeatedly opening his ticket folder to check on the time of their flight. Rachel asked him what was on his mind. He was concerned, he said, about whether he would have time to look for a minyan to daven Maariv before the flight.
Upon arriving at the airport, they quickly loaded their weighty bags onto a cart and began the lengthy check-in process. Yosef kept glancing at the large overhead clock as if his concentrated thoughts could make the hands move slowly enough for him to still have sufficient time to find a minyan.
Carry-on bags and tickets in hand, the couple now walked briskly over to the security area, where they were told to place all they were carrying, including coats and shoes, into the ever-cycling gray tubs that would be shuttled through the fluoroscope machine one after another like a flock of sheep forced into a line to enter the narrow gate of the pasture.
Having rescued their possessions, they headed down the long corridor toward the waiting room next to their departure gate. Rachel began to feel faint. Yosef, noticing her discomfort, suggested to her as they passed a water fountain that they stop a moment for her to have a well-deserved drink and sit down on a bench to rest for a few moments. Rachel, who always traveled with clean collapsible plastic cups for health’s sake, filled the two cups with water from the fountain but insisted that move along quickly to the flight gate and only then would she sit and take a drink. Yosef knew they had at least another five minute’s walk ahead of them and suggested again that they sit down to drink and rest a moment. Rachel thanked him for his consideration but urged that they keep moving.
“Let’s just get to the gate as fast as we can – I can rest later,” she assured him.
At the exact moment they arrived at their flight gate, they saw a group of men standing in a corner of the lounge and heard them saying the Vehu rachu… that prayer that precedes Barechu. Yosef was delighted to be able to join in with the minyan and daven Maariv with the tzibbur.
Thanks to Rachel’s insistence on postponing her own comfort so as not to delay an opportunity for her husband to seek a minyan before they boarded the plane, she was able to reap the spiritual benefits of helping him perform a mitzvah.
We of course cannot say which rewards are connected with which mitzvos but it does seem strange that Yosef and Rachel were the only people on that entire jumbo jet who had a vacant seat next to them. Rachel, who usually finds it difficult to sleep, much less relax and rest in an upright position on a plane, and who had refused to stop and rest for even a few seconds on their mad dash to the departure gate, was able to stretch out and sleep comfortably for many hours for the first time on an international flight.
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- DAVENING AT THE TZION OF THE RASHBI-THE BURIAL SITE OF RABBI SHIMON BAR YOCHAI