Road Trip Adventures - Chapter 3

Thursday, 16 April, 2015 - 3:44 pm

My family’s road trip adventures have been well documented in this forum over the years. See, and,

Before Pesach a few people commented to me how they were looking forward to reading about this year’s adventure. To which I replied, “no thanks, I am hoping for an uneventful trip.” After all, two break downs in two years is enough and we were due for a smooth ride. Or so I thought.

Following the last two encounters our recital of the traveler’s prayer has been with heightened intensity. So there we were cruising for two days with nary a blip. As we approached the end of the Virginia portion of our trip (our longstanding nemesis – see articles above), I began to breathe easy. “The best laid schemes of mice and men…” or as the Yiddish version goes, “a mentch tracht un G-tt lacht.”

2:30 PM, we were just five hours away from NY and we were making good time. All of a sudden I heard a pop. I knew it wasn’t a tire because it came from under the hood. Seconds later we lost the ability to accelerate. Thank G-d the highway was fairly empty and I was able to get into the right lane and coast toward the nearest exit. Once we pulled up to the stop sign at the end of the exit ramp we could not proceed any further. We were somewhere in rural Virginia. I called AAA and they were trying to find an open garage within range. Additionally, we needed a way to transport the family off the side of the road to the garage. We were told it would take 45 minutes. We were also told that the repair could not be done today and that we would need to find a place to stay and a way to get there…

I suppose the most difficult part was not being in control of the situation. We humans are nicely balanced when we (think) we are in control. When the situation slips away from us, the balance can slip away as well. I had to actively contemplate the idea that Hashem runs the world and He has a plan for getting us through this (not necessarily out of it – but through it).  

Being old hands at this, the children handled it relatively calmly. They were reciting Tehillim and Torah passages by heart (see second article above for more on that). In the meantime many nice Southerners stopped to ask if we needed help to make sure that we were safe.

The guy from the garage shows up with his SUV and informs me that the wrecker is on the way. First we get the kids into his vehicle and then we push my car into positon for the tow truck to be able to get it. As soon as he sees it he informs me that it is the transmission and the cost of replacing it is pretty high (more than the car is worth). At that moment I decide to get the car to his place and find another way to get to NY. He graciously drives me to the nearest Enterprise 10 miles away. We get a car (for an arm and a leg) and go back to his place to empty out our car and get on our way to NY. The bad news is we had to leave our car there to be turned over to salvage. The good news is we got a good deal on a nice new car. Now Hashem will continue to implement His plan by hopefully putting us in position to afford it… He has already begun to put those wheels into motion through some wonderful agents.

Lessons learned: Hashem is in control. The sooner we acknowledge that the happier we are. As Psalms 55:23 states, “Cast your burden upon the L-rd, and He will sustain you.” There were so many layers of Divine Providence here. It could have been at night. It could have been far from the exit or on a busy stretch of highway. It could have been a nasty garage owner. It could have been hours away from nearest rental office. It could have been very difficult to get another vehicle in New York. But it wasn’t and for that we must indeed be thankful to Hashem - for all that He does for us.

While we don’t always understand why things must happen, we must seek the positives in them. I don’t know why we had to breakdown and lose our car. But I am sure that Hashem has better things in store for us. If you ask my kids, we have already received the better things - they are loving the new car. Come to think of it, it was nice to drive back home without worrying about the old jalopy breaking down. Thank you Hashem!

Our condolences to Morris, Elliot and Nathan Lew and their families upon the passing of their sister, Rose Resnick.

Our condolences to Gary Remer and the entire Remer family upon the passing of his father, Mr. Natan Remer. I had the good fortune of knowing Mr. Remer from his visits to New Orleans over the years. Back in the good days when he was well, we had pleasant conversations on the long walks from Anshe Sfard toward the uptown neighborhood where we lived. May Hashem comfort the family among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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