From the April 24, 2018, Detroit Free Press, I read a rather soothing and encouraging news story that caused chills to trickle down my back. I read with joy, tears and growing fondness a most remarkable story of a life-saving squad orchestrated by family and community state troopers who flagged down truckers traveling at midnight on I-696 in Oak Park. Those truckers focused their collective full attention, energy and efforts to save the life of one hurting individual wishing to jump off the I-696 overpass in our very community.
The 13 truckers, guided by state troopers, immediately formed a “bridge” on both east- and westbound lanes.
What an amazing feat these truckers did! What an incredibly creative, life-rescuing and deeply community-caring joint act to save one life! I am truly in awe of this “near miracle.”
Recognizing, appreciating and making known those meritoriously involved in an act of kindness, in spite of the hour of day or night, is clearly a Divine attribute. God Almighty withheld the first drops of rain ever to have descended on our earthly soil, days after the creation of His magnificent world, for the fitting, caring and understanding species, namely mankind, who would value the first droplets of rain granted by our One and Only Creator, appreciate it and truly realize that our world cannot exist without it (Genesis, 2:5).
How crucial is it, then, to continually be in a state of profound appreciation, gratefulness and to verbalize it clearly and loudly? The precious words with which we begin every day of the year are the words “Modeh Ani …” I thank you God Almighty for returning to me my soul … refreshed and replenished.
So much goes on in our world that is much to our dismay and reflects the shortcomings of our fellow species, yet this utter act of kindness by our troopers and truckers shattered the majority of media pieces that continue to blast us, frighten us and create a sense of instability, discomfort, tension, dissension and, even for some, total despondency.
Those troopers and truckers work diligently to serve our country, our men, women, children, families and communities. To them, I say, “You have saved one life! You have indeed saved an entire world.”
Not only is nothing random, especially a heaven-on-earth act such as this one, but everything is meaningful.
For those who appreciate the divine wisdom of number equations, the following, I hope, will inspire you to yet a greater degree:
- Indeed, it was approximately 1 a.m. when this event occurred.
- It was ONE life that was spared and saved at the ONE o’clock hour!
- Furthermore, 1 a.m. can also be read as “I AM!”
- Thirteen truckers! Nothing is random. “Thirteen” is crucial in its association to the age of bar mitzvah, when a young man joins the ranks of fully grown adults as does a young girl one year earlier at the age of 12.
I, as well as many of our great Oak Park community, feel embraced, watched over and well protected by the great Divine Aura and Presence permeating our lives when we affix a mezuzah (sacred scroll containing holy passages and versus of the Torah) to our individual and family door-posts. It is designed and meant to watch over us, our families, our safety, our peace, our health and all that we possess and everything that we are.
I am grateful that as the fortunate Oak Park community we are doubly blessed by being surrounded by two larger Mezuzah-like physical and human bases, namely the Oak Park Police station and our local station of state troopers, both well-equipped and skilled professionals who are on the alert round-the-clock. May this careful level of safety penetrate our entire world and our sacred land and people of Israel.
To our truckers: May you, your professional comrades and your personal families continue to be blessed with great bounty. May you and us all keep on “trucking,” striving and exerting ourselves in unity to maintain, preserve peace, safety and tranquility and when in need — save ONE’s life!
Rabbi Dovid S. Polter was born, raised and currently resides with his wife and family in Oak Park. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.