Time to Slow Down a Little

September 2012

I read the following story in the Congregation Emanu El of Houston, Texas Temple Bulletin several years ago.

I’ve never forgotten it. The original source was forgotten, but the story must never be. Thanks to Rabbi Walter for sharing this story.

“A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar.  He was watching for kids darting in and out from between parked cars and slowed down when he though he saw something.

As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door! He slammed on the brakes and spun the Jag back to the spot from where the brick had been thrown. He jumped out of the car, grabbed some kid and pushed him up against a parked car, shouting, “What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck do you think you are doing?” Building up a head of steam, he went on. “That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Whatever possessed you to do something so stupid?”

“Please Mister, please. I’m sorry. I didn’t know what else to do” pleaded the young boy. “I threw the brick because no one else would stop. Tears were dripping down the boy’s chin as he pointed around the parked car. “It’s my brother. He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheel chair and I can’t lift him up.”

Sobbing, the boy asked the executive, “Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.” Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He lifted the young man back into the wheelchair and took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checking to see that everything was going to be okay.

“Thank you and May God bless you.” the grateful child said to him.

The man then watched the little boy push his brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long walk back to his Jaguar….a very long and slow walk. He never did repair that side door. He kept the dent to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention. God whispers in your soul and speaks to your heart. Sometimes, when we think we are too busy to listen, God has to throw bricks.

We are in the month of Elul, the preparatory month before the High Holy Days. As we turn our thoughts from the mundane to the holy, from the daily to the Eternal, may we begin to slow down enough to hear those whispers.

Jack, Jenny, and Becky join with me in wishing you and those you love a happy, healthy, and fulfilling New Year. We look forward to sharing the holidays with you.