Israel: Where there is more to life than meets the eye...
Last night, after a "night-out" on the town, my wife and I were on a bus back home from Jerusalem. As the hour was fast approaching midnight, we had the pleasure of having a bunch of rowdy teenagers join us for the ride home. I recall remarking to my wife that these loud-mouthed, spiked (and bleached) haired, earring-wearing teenagers reminded me of some type a gang.
Of course, by the end of the bus ride, I would (thankfully) end up eating my words.
As the bus entered Ma'aleh Adumim, and people began getting off the bus, some of the teenagers took advantage of the newfound room on the bus to start roaming the isles. One of these teenagers noticed a wallet on one of the seats where someone had recently gotten off the bus. He quickly proceeded to take the wallet to the bus driver.
The other members of the "gang" gave him a funny look, seemingly asking him, "why did you give the wallet to the bus driver - you could have kept it"?
This loud-mouthed, spiked haired teenager (this one didn't have an earring) responded (in Hebrew) "It says in the Torah that it's forbidden to steal".
My wife and I broke out into huge smiles.
Sure, I wouldn't say that I agree with his style of dress or the way he and his fellow "gang-members" seem to carry themselves on a bus late at night, but this particular teenager reminded me that in Israel, one can't always judge a book by its cover.
This teenager might be just that - a teenager, but he also is a Jew; A Jew who in a single action, by my count, fulfilled many Mitzvot (commandments): He didn't steal, he returned a lost object, he sanctified the name of Hashem in the eyes of his peers, and last but not least, he reminded me that outwardly observant looking Jews (like myself) do not have a monopoly on what it means to live as a proud Jew in the Land of Israel and that observance of the Mitzvot does not fall solely within the domain of the outwardly religiously observant.
"Who is like Your nation Israel, one nation in the Land".