The Matzav Shmoooze: From Bnei Brak to Ashdod – What the Media Won’t Report

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mehadrin-busDear Editor,

The 350 Mehadrin bus from Bnei Brak to Ashdod is normally jammed, but at 3 PM more than half the seats were still vacant. Four young women in slacks, obviously not from the charedi or religious neighborhoods along the route, boarded the bus at the stop adjacent to the Coca Cola factory in Bnei Brak. Rather than moving to the rear of the bus, they sat down demonstratively in the front two rows seats on the right side of the bus. Some of the male passengers were baffled; two others decided to get off the bus. A Breslover Chassid, sitting across the young ladies on the left side of the bus simply closed his eyes and smiled. This was not a reaction that the headline-seeking heroines were looking for, having so boldly entered the mobile charedi “lion’s den.”

No one yelled at the fearless four, women’s-rights or democracy activists in their late twenties. No one even spoke to them. There was nothing to document on their cell-phone videos. What a waste! Well, at least they might be able to take a nice walk on the beach in Ashdod…

If there’s no news, then make the news! One of the young woman got out of her seat (while the three others were poised with their cell-phone video cameras, waiting to pounce on the action they hoped would come) and stood next to the Breslover, whose toothy smile would have done justice to any Crest or Colgate commercial.

“Hey, why can’t you look at me?” the young lady asked abrasively, obviously itching for a conflict.

“Do you want your husband looking at other young women?” the Breslover responded.

“I’m not married,” she said.

“I bless you that you should find your soul-mate this year!”

The activist wasn’t ready for this turn in the conversation. She needed to steer things differently. “What are you so happy about with that imbecilic grin of yours?”

“In Torah 282 of Likutei Moharan, Rebbe Nachman teaches us to appreciate our good points and to be happy with every little mitzvah we do; and in Torah 17, first part, Rebbe Nachman says that the slightest good deed that a person does makes a tremendous impression in the upper spiritual realms…”

The activist was getting more and more impatient. This was not the action she was looking for, wasting half a day on a bus ride going someplace where she didn’t need to go. “So what,” she snapped.

“You asked me why I’m smiling. I’m answering you. I never thought that riding a Mehadrin bus was a big deal; I mean, it didn’t seem to be such a great mitzvah. But if the Yetzer Hara is going to such lengths to bother me on this bus ride, then it must be really significant in shamayim that men and women don’t mix. This morning, when I was learning Tosefot on Baba Kama, the Yetzer wasn’t bothering me as much as he is now. Thank You, Hashem, for giving the mitzva of riding this bus.” With eyes shut, he turned at the activist and added, “And thank you, cherished sister, for adding to my rewards in the World to Come.”

The young lady’s antagonism was melting into frustration. She was obviously the ring-leader, and her three sisters-in-arms were eagerly awaiting to see how she’d react. Their game plan (or battle plan) to wave the flag of women’s rights on the Mehadrin bus didn’t anticipate a frontal confrontation with a Breslover…

“What do you people smoke that gets you so spaced out?” she chided.

“I’ll admit that I’m high, dearest sister, but that comes from tallit, tefillin, Torah, and an hour of talking to Hashem every day.”

“What’s with this ‘dearest’ and ‘cherished sister’ garbage?”

“You see,” explained the Breslever, “your soul and mine both are a tiny part of Godliness. We have the same Father; you don’t need a PhD in genealogy from Hebrew University to know that we’re brother and sister. Besides, the Torah says so explicitly…”

“Are you the real deal or are you just putting on a good show?”

“If I invite you and your girlfriends for Shabbat…,” meanwhile removing his kosher cellphone from his shirt pocket, about to dial his wife’s number, “will you come? When you taste Shabbat and my wife’s cooking, you’ll understand how much Hashem loves you, and so do we.”

Squirming and completely off guard, the activist snarled, “You’re wife is probably an illiterate cook and bottle washer pregnant with her twelfth – what would she and I have in common?”

The Breslover chuckled. “No, my wife is only pregnant with our eighth. But you’ll like her -she has a MBA in Finance from the University of Tel Aviv. Besides, she was a sergeant in the Artillery Corps of the IDF, an army medic and a training-base instructor in first aid. She even served in Lebanon for two months…”

“What?! Don’t tell me you were in the army too?”

“Yeh, I admit it. I was a tank commander. Then I did a degree in Communication from UTA. That’s where my wife and I met…”

All the stereotypes were crumbling. The four activists were disarmed. No fight, no arguments, no protests – only an invitation for Shabbat…

The activist tried one last effort. She sat down next to the Breslever. This will surely get his goat and make him lose his cool, she thought.

He still smiled, but a tear trickled down his cheek.

“Why are you crying?” she asked, jolted by this additional surprise. Her compassion was a sign of the Jewish soul that shined from deep within her.

“I’m not really the prude that you think. But I love my wife and want her face to be the only female image in my brain. You, dear sister, are a Bat Yisroel, a Jewish daughter. Every Bat Yisroel is beautiful. Please, I wouldn’t embarrass you by getting up. But I’m not a holy man – I wish I were. You’re really testing me. You are a moral young lady; would you steal something from a pregnant woman with seven children? By making me look at you, you’d be stealing some of my affection for my wife. I’m sure that’s not your intention.”

Gently, as if walking on eggs, the young lady stood up. “I’m so sorry,” she said, showing her true delicate and considerate inner self. “I never thought of it that way. Besides, if all the charedim were like you, things would be different.
“Are all of you this nice? I mean, you don’t try to act like Hashem’s cop.” She surprised herself by saying ‘Hashem.’ Since when do such words come out of an ultra-liberal libertarian feminist’s mouth?

“I only try to police myself.”

The bus arrived at the Breslever’s station in Ashdod’s Rova Gimel. The Breslever got up but added, “Let us know if you’re coming for Shabbat…”

Rabbi Lazer Brody

(Lazer Beams)


The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to

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  1. to good to be true !
    Perhaps some of our friends should read this. But I doubt that they will since they dont know how to read.

  2. Beautiful story. Some media outlets like to add in various descriptive words like “snarl” to make those who don’t share our opinion or perspective look ugly.

  3. Pathetic… Am glad the media doesnt report this kind of stuff. Its embarassing enough as it is! Why do people in Israel feel the need to be involved in everyone elses lives?

  4. I can’t leave this beautiful story without a comment. I feel proud and undeserving to call this Yid my brother.

    Maaneh Rach Mayshiv Chaima. May this person’s quiet answers succeed in calming not only the anger of the Chilonim but also the Charon Af in Shomayim.

  5. Lovely story, we should all try to emulate this.

    as for what happened in the past, The silent majority of ehrlich mentchen need to stand up and put an end to the Chilul Hashem.

  6. As to its veracity, here is what Lazer Brody said:

    The story is actually a composite of three stories, all of which happened. The activists on the 350 bus, with the Breslever’s comment about the value of riding a mehadrin bus was one incident that occurred 2 weeks ago. A Breslever’s invitation of egalitarian activist for Shabbat and the revelation that many Haredi men and women are university graduates and army veterans was a second incident. The explanation about the rationale of shmirat eynayim to a hostile feminist was a third incident that happened to me personally in Manhattan. I turned all three into one incident to show how Rabbi Shalom Arush teaches his students to react in such a situation – ahavat Yisrael and Kiddush Hashem.

    Blessings always,

  7. The Vilna gaon teaches us about the famous riddle of Shimshon, “From the strong came out the sweet”; that, when one is “strong” in his dedication to Hakodosh Boruch Hu, there will subsequently come out from him Torah which is sweeter than honey. It is well known that “holy, properly used strength” is a hallmark of Breslov.

  8. What a beautiful story.
    The author should perhaps try to submit it to at least the Jerusalem Post, possibly through R’ Yonason Rosenblum – it might work.
    Beyond that, maybe it would be a good idea if people who ride these buses regularly would write down these kinds of incidents – of considerate interaction, of the times when on a hot bus a woman fainted and the ones who rushed to take care of her were the chareidi Hatzolah members, etc. – they happen much more often than people think, and far more often than the sensationalist stories the media likes to report.

  9. Lazer,

    This story truly gave me goose-bumps, because I knew from reading it that it didn’t happen as you wrote it.

    “What the Media Won’t Report”? Of course they won’t report it because you made a cholent out of 3 different stories and presented it without a disclaimer!

  10. I love this story, but WISH we could find a way to dial down the rederick against the not-yet-observant. Not everyone has evil snarls, and having spoken to many writers, these are often added for dramatic effect. Unfortunately, this also support sinas chinam.

  11. ” … dial down the rederick …”

    Would someone please explain “rederick” to me, please? Try as I have, I cannot find it in any dictionary.

    What language is it taken from, please?

  12. I ride the mehadrin bus and sit in the front section all the time. I have never been assaulted or harassed, but it is improper for a man to talk to strange women on a bus – just sit down and mind your own business, and it is against the law to tell a woman on a public bus where to sit – she has the right to sit any where she wants. And men all the time tell me to move – and I tell them I won’t, since I like to sit int he front of the bus. The back is full of women holding screaming babies, who would want to sit there?


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