Which awful person had decided to build a psychiatric hospital on Rechov Olei Hagardom? The place wasn’t sad and distressing enough without being located on the Street of the Hanged?

Miriam stepped down from the number 78 bus, carrying a bag of hot food. “Olei Hagardom,” the bus’s speaker system announced pompously. “Olei Hagardom,” announced the sign over the bus stop. “Olei Hagardom,” announced a sign on every building, followed by its number. She tried to ignore them, but the nameless hanged pursued her all the way down the street.

“Tzadok,” she said softly, as she entered his room. “I’m here.”

“Avitzedek,” croaked the man on the bed. “Not Tzadok shall my name be called, but Avitzedek. I’ve told you a thousand times.”

“All right, Avitzedek.” She looked at him in horror. He was lying on his back in pajamas, his hands and feet were spread out and tethered with strong leather straps. A repulsive odor hung in the air.

“Why did they tie you down?”

“Because they’re crazy. I told them the truth — that I see visions of G-d, that I promised I’d go to the Valley of the Cross to hasten the End of Days.”

“Oy,” she said. “And then they tied you down?”

“Yes. Four male nurses.”

“When was that?”

“Yesterday, when it was still light outside.”

“So you’ve been tied to that bed for 20 hours!”

“Yes.” He was humiliated, defeated.

“Avitzedek,” she whispered. “You need to tell them that you’re not going to destroy anything. Tell them you don’t have any violent thoughts at all. Tell them that when they let you out of here, you’ll sing and play the drums, and nothing more.” Her voice rose, becoming a bit shrill. “Tell them you never saw any visions, and you never heard any voices telling you to break things or hurt people…”

“You mean I should lie?” he said incredulously. “I should betray what I know to be the truth?”

“It’s not the truth, Tzadok.”

“It is the truth. I saw Daniel, ish chamudot, with my own eyes. With my own ears, I heard him speak to me. With my own hands, I took the hammer he gave me.”

She sighed. “You bought the hammer in a hardware store on Rechov Agrippas, Tzadok. The price tag was still on it. You paid with our credit card, and the police had no trouble accessing a record of the transaction.”

He looked stunned. “Maaseh satan,” he said. “I know for a fact that the hammer came to me from Heaven. And I know that the truth is on my side.”

The sheets were wet, as were his pajamas. It was all so degrading, so miserable.

“Never mind your truth,” Miriam pleaded. Her voice broke. “Please, Tzadok, I’m begging you…” The plastic containers holding the hot meal she’d cooked for him were on the floor, getting cold. “What good is this truth of yours, when I have five kids to feed? What does it matter what’s true? Who cares?” Now the tears came. “Tell them you’re not going to destroy anything… please! Tell them you don’t hear voices anymore… Just act the way they want you to, like a good boy, so they’ll let you out of here.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 709)