The Matzav Shmoooze: What Are You Doing?


handicapped-parkingDear Friends,

My grandparents A”H made it out of Europe before the inferno that claimed the lives of their families. My grandmother lost those near and dear to her in a forest the Nazis ymch’sh ignited after the Jews of the village fled there. My grandfather’s family fared little better. Understandably, my mother, their only child, was adored and doted on, hardly being let out of her parents’ presence. Amazingly enough, though, for a Bais Yaakov High School and Seminary Chinuch , they sent her to a dormitory in Bnei Brak for 5 years.

If the Gemora enjoins us not to indicate the Makom Hashechita on one’s self, my mother (and most likely her parents before her) took it a step further. When we were growing up, we were never allowed to demonstrate on our selves where a friend had injured himself. The mantra was “Zindig nisht mit di reid” (Don’t sin by talking too much). And though there were no superstitious symbols in our house, our verbal expression and conduct had to be in keeping with my mother’s outlook.

We had our humorous moments too. My mother somehow knew when, for instance, a plate or a glass would fall and break. Today I know that she was not fey, but rather, her sharp instincts told her that a dish being clumsily held, or sitting on the edge of the table is likely to break. (At those times, we sometimes told her the dish broke because she was eyeing it with her all-knowing eye.)

So why all the background? Last week, outside a supermarket, a justifiably frustrated woman, driving a car with a clearly marked disabled license plate, complained that she has to fight for her right to park in the handicapped parking spaces. Speaking to me, she did not even realize what a receptive audience she had found!

Honestly, how can you even dream of parking in a handicapped spot? When legislation was proposed a few years ago to allow pregnant women or families with young children to apply for a temporary handicapped tag, there was uproar by feminist and family movements at the mere suggestion that pregnancy or children are a handicap.

So if B”H your arms are filled with of the purchases you can afford to buy, and happily your children are hanging onto your skirts and your feet are able carry you even to a farther parking spot, for Heaven’s sake! Zindig nisht! Please, don’t park in that handicapped spot and not only for the obvious reason that it is intended for those who genuinely require it.

Not even for five minutes.

Not even while your children run in to pick up a few items so that you can chat uninterrupted on the phone.

That brief period could be the exact time that someone who has a hard time walking up to the store,(or shul or school) has had to find a parking spot and make an exerted effort due to your shortsightedness or plain selfishness.

If my sentiments don’t move you, then please note:


The Red Band

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  1. I am in total agreement that parking in handicapped spots is a horrible and selfish thing to do, but what does this have to do with your grandparents surviving the Holocaust?

  2. I am in total agreement that parking in a handicapped spot is a horrible and selfish thing to do, but what does this have to do with your grandparents surviving the Holocaust?

  3. Agreed, parking in a handicapped parking space is rude, self-centered, and illegal. It really serves no purpose to publicly write and cast an Ayin Harah on those who park in the spaces.

  4. I lose all respect for any one without handicap tags who has the nerve to park i. a handicapped spot, no matter who they are…

  5. I lose all respect for any one without handicap tags who has the nerve to park in a handicapped spot, no matter who they are…

  6. Why does every subject have to have the Nazi’s brought into discussion? It hurts your point!

  7. I too agree that it is, of course, wrong for the able bodied to use parking spaces reserved for the handicapped.
    What I must object to, is the trend to appropriate stories of the Holocaust for the benefit of any and every cause a person can think of. Fundraising? Handicapped parking? Hachnasas Kallah? Just roll out your favorite Holocaust narrative.
    As the generation of survivors leaves us, it is incumbent upon us to continue their legacy, and to revere and respect their history. This is not done by abusing and exploiting their stories for personal gain.

  8. I had surgery 7 months ago and needed a permit due to a temporary handicap. At times I encountered inconsiderate people who parked where they shouldn’t. I once had to miss a shiur and minyan because the spot was taken by a healthy person(I recognized the car).
    When I recovered sufficiently, I would no longer use the permit even though it had a few months left on it.
    I would not want to be confronted with that aveiroh after 120.

  9. awhile back there was a clip which was posted on matzav which rabi paysach krohn brings down a gemara THAT ITS LIKE BURYING YOUR OWN GRAVE!!!!!!!

  10. I know the author and she is a very special person. The Letter was signed “The Red Band” because of the red band people use to avoid “Evil eyes”/ Ayin hara.

    The people who are knocking this letter about the holocaust need to apologize to this person and they jumped to conclusions.

    She introduced the family she came from and how there was a certain expectation of how one acts to others and finesse of how a Jew should represent themselves no matter what experiences we faced in life. In addition there was the mention of not showing or pointing to certain parts of ones body when saying things. In my family we don’t say “I will Kill You!!!’ “Zindig nisht” as Chas vsahlom for that to become true.

    The same is for one who has the chutzpah to park illegally even for one second in a handicap spot. Dont park there – Chas Vshalom you will truly need it. THE RED BAND.

  11. I am healthy and I never parked in a handicapped space.
    That said, before speaking we should hear both sides, we should give the benefit of the doubt, we should put ourselves in our neighbour’s shoes. Especially during the three weeks.

    Example: a senior citizen who doesn’t have a handicapped tag because they walk fine (even in their 80s) might R”L have bronchitis, it is raining or even snowing, must see the doctor, and the current system makes no accommodation for such a situation: at most the doctor will be able to fill the paperwork afterwards. What about right now? Should they risk pneumonia R”L? I know someone who did exactly that, because they were afraid of the harsh penalties you mention. Senior citizens, especially those who experienced Europe in past decades, are terrified of getting “in trouble with the law”. I am astonished your family did not explain you that.

    I agree with you, children and groceries are no good reason to park in handicapped spaces, but only if one is confident they can safely handle it. Some children learn very early about the traffic and are careful. Others do not necessarily understand the danger. A babysitter may feel insecure about carrying groceries and minding three children at the same time, especially if she does not know them well. Safety should always come first. Kids are precious, and R”L sometimes it takes an instant. You call that “shortsightedness”? “Plain selfishness”? Not everyone is seeking for convenient parking, is lazy, or is occupying the disabled space in order to quickly buy cigarettes. Please reserve your words for those who abuse reserved parking – be them lazy people without a permit, people who have no trouble walking and yet obtained a permit, or permit holders who have a disabled family member and take advantage of the system for their own convenience at the supermarket while the disabled citizen is at home.

    I am quite confident few people among us would be “incensed” at the proposal that pregnant women and people with small children should receive temporary “preferential parking” tags. Feminists and anyone who feels they don’t need, should simply not use them. We all should be calling upon our congresspeople for granting such permits, as well as on behalf of the elderly, who don’t normally need handicapped parking and are very proud of their independence, but should be entitled to legally use preferential parking when the situation calls for it. Moreover, if they are Yidden, they tend to stay away as much as possible from doctors and from certifications of disability, regardless of being entitled to them. I am astonished your family did not explain you that, either.

  12. My five year old son has a permanent ileostomy and many times the Ostomy pouch falls off, leaks, opens, spills. I had a handicap permit for two years so I could park and run to take care of him when needed immediately as needed. People would question and judge me that I used the permit even when not with him. Yes, taking care of a not well child, constantly going to doctors and hospitals and therapists and medical supply stores, while being up all night with him, while working full time to make ends meet, while trying to also take care of my older son….it’s exhausting and draining, physically and mentally and emotionally and sometimes even spiritually. Can you forgive me for wanting to park closer to a store or to my work when I could barely move?! Or do you want to rejoice with the DMV doctor who said my son is not handicapped, that he could walk (not when the pouch is leaking or falling off! Not when he’s exhausted from appointments, doctors, therapy, IV hydrations!) that he looks fine and doesn’t look handicapped so she is recommending that he not have the permit renewed. Well, now I don’t ‘abuse’ the permit and I also NEVER JUDGE WHAT CANNOT/MAY NOT BE OBVIOUS

  13. Att #13

    Unfortunately many in our community (as well as other communities) are selfish and do park in these handicap spots. Many Shuls that are obligated to have such spaces disregard them or go further and discard them.(Why should the disabled be able to daven with a minyan?) The perpetrators are in a rush with always an excuse that they only meant to park there for a minute, It was the only spot avaiable? (So what!!)How many times have i seen a father or mother with a car load of kids park there even when there are other open spots…

    There is even opposition to any public awareness of this issue as every perpetrator has his own theory why he is right to park in such a spot. he owns the building. he is the gabbai of the shul. He donated a lot of money to the yeshiva…..And NOW you the disabled want to stop me from doing what i have been doing for years?! because you the disabled would like to daven with a minyan? or go to a simcha? or simply shop? This is an outrage for the disabled to come out and say Enough is enough!!! We can walk with no problem and therefore we can park were ever we want!!!

    If its our shul – why do we need a handicap spot? is the lame excuse i always hear.ANSWER Because that is the LAW. And with out the law its plain MIDDOS.

    The disabled parking spaces are mandated for the disabled with a disabled placard and the person it is registered for is there. If someone needs a temporary placard – it is easy to get. otherwise its gezel es harabim to park in such a spot or to remove it.

    In federal, state and local law if one does not provide sufficient allocated parking spaces for the disabled or access to buildings for both private and public parking lots, they are discriminating against the disabled. AND THAT IS WHAT IS HAPPENING. For state and local laws there is no religious, “employee only” or private club exemptions. ALL PROPERTY OWNERS RESPONSIBLE TO MAINTAIN THE DISABLED SIGNAGE AND MARKINGS OD THE DISABLED PARKING SPACES.

    Minimum required is 1 disabled parking space for every 25 parking spots. (if you have 5 then 1 must be a designated disabled space) one of 6 handicap space must be van accessible with aisle.

  14. The only person who is casting an Ayin hara is the person who is parking illegally in the handicap spots. They are bringing attention to themselves for doing something wrong.

  15. I debated whether to include the background that led to my mother’s insistence that we never demonstrate on ourselves, or make comments like “I was dying”,or “I”ll kill you” which is the lingo used cheaply today. However, those who treasured their survival, tried to elevate themselves by treasuring their lives and loved one’s and being sensitive and caring to others. Frankly, if my great-grandparents were murdered by the Nazis, I consider it a formative effect on me and my generation even 70 years later!

  16. Who said a person who is handicapped, HAS to have the “right” to drive? Why “must” everyone be accommodated? The City has Access A Ride. There are Ambullette services covered with insurance. Convenience is NOT a G-d given right.

  17. To Robert: #18.

    Huh? A handicap does not have to be 100% debilitating to entitle someone to the right to move independently for as long as feasible. There are individuals who have trouble walking but their car gives them the freedom to go to work, shop and socialize. How cruel to try deny them that!

  18. I hope one day you never need to be labeled as “handicapped” or disabled. The law has a reason.

    A) not every person who is disabled cannot drive
    B) ambulate service is NOT covered by insurance for someone who is capable of driving. Many people can drive that are still disabled. Even people who are in wheelchairs operate vehicles.

    When and if i have the strength to go out, i need to be able to park up close. Otherwise if no such space is available i must go back home.

    After a simple short trip to a store (or shul- if they have a space) i am finished for the day.

    Why do you have a right to drive more than me? What you are saying is what the law argues with. The law states that You are discriminating against the disabled by stating we should not have rights.

    You should not have a right to drive, or walk down the street. I paid taxes and when the city has lights on the street you should not be allowed to use it- if you state i have no rights. the same with garbage pickup.

    This is the USA – if you dont like find a country that thinks like you. Even in Israel they have rules like ADA parking.