A Must Read: Count your Blessings…And Then Count Them Again


car-on-side-of-roadBy S. Friedman, Matzav.com

For the weak of heart, I advise you not to read the following story, as it can surely upset you. For those looking for a very poignant message, read on.

Yesterday, I was driving on Rt. 9 on the outskirts of Lakewood when I noticed a minivan pulled over on the side of the road. I slowed down as I approached to survey the scene to see if I can be of assistance. As my car passed by, I saw what appeared to be a young boy in a fight. I quickly pulled over thinking that I could break it up and help restore order. As I came to a stop, I quickly looked at the mirror to check that the situation wasn’t a dangerous one. The image that I saw was of a young boy pummeling a middle-aged man with his fists as the older fellow tried to shield himself from the blows.

Needless to say, I jumped out of my car and quickly ran over to the minivan. When I got there, I was met with the following scene: the man was clumsily trying put together his broken glasses (which already had tape on them) with his bloodied hand as the boy, probably fourteen years old, sat in the car. The boy had a blank stare and looked as if he was not about his faculties. The man then explained the situation that I had already ascertained. This was a special needs child, and he was his father, and the boy had a temper tantrum.

I was too dumbfounded to say anything at first as I watched him try to put himself together. I finally mustered up, “Is there any way I can help you?” to which he replied, “Maybe you can take him home with you.”

As I continued to stand there not knowing what to do or say and generally feeling guilty for just having to be present at the scene, this poor father told me that he can’t deal with his son anymore and neither can his wife. They tried to put him in a home, but none would take him. He was familiar with all the venues for special needs children and none were adequate for his particular needs.

I muttered a few things trying to sound nice as I tried to run back to my car without being rude or insensitive. There was truly nothing I could do to help this man and his child.

What a rachmonus. What a living gehennom.

When I got home, I gave my little baby a hug. Then I hugged again a little longer. I davened a much more heartfelt Minchah than I had in a long time as I profusely thanked Hashem for giving me a healthy child who gives me tremendous nachas as she grows and progresses.

At least for the time being, I will not complain about middle of the night feedings, spitting up on fresh clothing, excessively dirty diapers, and other such “annoyances.” For that matter, I will complain less about my dropped cell phone calls, my not up-to-snuff car, the pace of davening at my local shul, the meshulach who comes during supper, and other frivolities of life.

Boruch Hashem, for most of us, our lives are tremendous gifts from Hakadosh Boruch Hu, when put in the right perspective.

I don’t know if the power of the above episode will radically alter the way I perceive life, but at least for now I’m counting my blessings.

{S. Freidman, Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. I must commend the author for taking this incident to heart. Too often we witness things but don’t internalise their message. Thanks for the post!

    A mensch from Australia

  2. In addition to feeling how fortunate we are for not suffering other’s pain, we might also offer them our empathy, an understanding ear….

  3. This is much much more than a special needs child. This child is out of control and probably needs to be hospitalized and treated so that he does not harm himself or others. The parents need support and guidance and others to help them plan for a livable alternative.There are many individuals and orgaizations which can provide the knowledge, expertise and even assistance to help this family deal and cope. Is there any way to find out who the parents are?? I’d gladly offer my limited conections and time to try to help them out.
    eail to Rabbibr@gmail.com
    Please lets find a way to get in touch. It’s pikuach nefashos.
    Baruch Rabinowitz

  4. Thank you to Rabbi Rabinowitz. I would like add my voice to his plea. As a parent of a special needs child and a Special Ed Rebbe, I urge you in the strongest fashion possible. This is not something that should be tolerated. This boy needs serious help. Please get it for him. Email me at Abba!400@aol.com or call me at 516-678-0576 if you need.

  5. All i can say is:Mi k’Amcha Yisroel! -truly heartwarming to see how the sense of Achdus prevails-tovoi aleichem Brocho!!

  6. The article is certainly a moving one. I’m impressed that the author is taking it to heart and not saying that’s life and going back to the way things were. Its so hard to be appreciative of what we have.
    All those offering your help, ashreichim mah tov chelkeichem! I hope this child gets the professional help he sorely needs.

  7. I don’t mean to be naive, but did the man ever say the father of this boy is Jewish?
    Just curious.
    It’s still a tragedy even if it’s a gentile, but all those phone numbers would not be of help if it is not ‘unzere’.
    Not everyone in Lakewood is Jewish.

    We still should hug our children and count our blessings, nonetheless.

  8. this is all a bunch of nonsense, this guy just fabricated a nice story to get some attention & reponses. this guy maybe a good story teller & you are a bunch fools to beleive it all. what a joke. Mr. Friedman i hope you heard me loud & clear,the next time you need some attention go to a therapist & i will pay the bill as you are beyond help.

    all of you out there stop getting excited & posting this Mi Keamcha Yisroel nonsense.
    have you ever opened your wallets to help or just love to give free adivce, as you think you are so smart,as you are all hiding behind a website.

    good luck to you all outhere.

    Elisha Ferber, Matzav.com Editor, responds:

    Note that the story is 100% true and the author’s name, S. Freidman, is not a pen name.

    Thank you.

  9. Although the story does bring home a strong and beneficial message that our community as a whole needs more exposure to, the author should be ashamed of himself for just walking away from a fellow jew who was injured on the side of the road.

    In his own words:
    “I muttered a few things trying to sound nice as I tried to run back to my car without being rude or insensitive. There was truly nothing I could do to help this man and his child.”

    Don’t you think that a person in that situation might feel more hurt by the fact that you deemed his situation helpless after offering to help and rejecting his request for assistance!!

    I think it was a lack of sensitivity on your part and not one that you should be publicizing.

  10. Izzy Berkowitz (#14) declared “the next time you need some attention go to a therapist & i will pay the bill as you are beyond help”.

    How very generous of you, but perhaps you could use that money for anger management to cure your own ‘machalos nefesh’ .

  11. You really don’t have to find these types of stories to make you count your blessings. If you have a child who has ADHD or ASBERGERS or any kind of ‘small’ problem you can go off your mind. Take it from a parent and a teacher who works with children duch as these.

  12. #15 what exactly should he have done? the father knew good and well that this yungerman would not take his son home with him. He was probably very happy that the man walked away and did not make a big deal. This situation needs experts to help and even then it will not be simple to fix. My heart goes out to the family but this yungerman could not have changed the situation so he did the only possible thing.

  13. To the author
    Is this the first time you have encountered a special needs child?
    We see them all the time, in our own extended family, among friends, neigbours, or the society at large, Jewish and not Jewish.
    So what else is new? Have you just discovered America?

  14. To #14, Mr.”Berkowitz”
    While I undoubtedly can say many things regarding your comment,I’ll say only that I’m most gratified by the fact that your callousness is so outnumbered by the positivity of those kindly offerring to render assistance-and what is “nonsense” about “Mi k’Amcha Yisreoel”?! and finally,that it seems that you’re “hiding” behind your wallet.
    To #20,”Rifka”:I think the author’s point was that readers should be grateful for HKB”H’s Blessings-I fail to see, however,what your “point”is,(if any).

  15. Everyone has been exposed to special needs children (r”l), but are you not also amazed at this extreme case? I had a classmate with severe autism, but I found this story horrifyingly sad. Beating his father on the side of the road? Bloodying him? Parents totally can’t deal with the kid, and as the author ponts out, this man reached out to the organizations that deal with such kids and they couldn’t help.
    I’m sure the author had discovered america, but some things (at least to most people, but not to you) are still a chidush)