Sometimes you learn a lesson from the place you least expect it.
I spent this past Shabbos with my family in Jerusalem. We took a bus from Ramat Beit Shemesh until the entrance of the city. From there we took a cab until our destination. As soon as we got in the cab I knew he was Arab. There are certain clues that give it away. I am always interested to know what they think of us, and I asked him what the feelings are generally in East Jerusalem. He seemed a little bit perturbed that I was asking him this. He said to me, “If you want to know about politics, ask Olmert!”
At some point in our conversation, it seems like he felt he needed to prove himself and he pulled out a document attesting to the fact that he had served Israel faithfully in one of its wars. He also told me that he was sixty years old and the proud grandfather of eighteen grandchildren.
What impressed me was a comment he made. He said that the problem with politics is selfishness. We need to be concerned about honoring our parents and our elders. He told me that Teddy Kolek, who served as mayor of Jerusalem for over thirty years, is sitting and rotting away in a nursing home. Is this how we show our appreciation for a person who served the public for so long? This is how we treat our elders – as soon as they aren’t useful to us anymore we throw them out in the trash heap?
I told him that I was impressed with his attitude, and if there were more people thinking this way, the world would be a much lovelier place.
He left us off at our destination and said, “Shabbat Shalom.”
Seems you can learn something from any man.