Thursday, December 18, 2008

More on Ze'ev

Last week I stopped by to speak with Ze'ev (post of 11/21/08). Before I could even say much, his frustrations and anguish bubbled over, and his words of pain came tumbling out. I listened while he poured it all out, the cold, the ill health, the theft and abuse from other needy people in the shelters, and I could sense the fear, even panic, in him as he faced another night in the cold, on a bench somewhere.

When his words were spent, he looked slightly embarrassed, but my smile and acceptance assured him it was was ok. I am sure few have ever stopped to least without preaching at him. I've seen and heard those unkind words to Ze'ev and to others, and I have to imagine how humiliating it must feel. I heard in Ze'ev's words the profound affect those words from passers-by had on his soul.

Not that I've always been so forgiving. At times in the past, forgetting lessons already learned, I too could be found making assumptions I had no right to make. When he calmed down a bit, I gave him what little change I had in my purse, and ran to the nearby merkolet (little convenience store) to buy him a couple of cigarettes.

Aside from the amazing fact that you can buy individual cigarettes here in Israel ....there is the more amazing fact that I, as an ex-smoker who used to freak out at the mere whisper of cigarette smoke, was happy to run and buy him some..... (but that's really another story, for another time.)

As for Ze'ev, I just hope he collected enough money last week to put him into a room somewhere, if only for one night - Erev Shabbat, a night when everyone should be safe and warm.

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