I

didn’t think I could be even more tense that I already am, but I’ve discovered that it is possible. I tossed and turned all night, and this morning I can’t swallow a bite of my breakfast. It feels like I’m shaking inside. Abba squeezes my shoulders and I feel his calm strengthening me a little bit too.

“How long is the drive?” I ask him.

“About an hour, depending on traffic.”

Fields and pastures flash by as our taxi heads for Tel Aviv, but it’s all a blur to me. I tap my foot, trying to release some of the pent-up energy. Our lawyer is sitting beside the driver who’s trying to make conversation. Why do taxi drivers like to talk so much? I suppose driving a taxi is a good job for a lonely person since the passengers can’t just get out in the middle if they don’t want to talk.

My father is whispering Tehillim. The men in the front are discussing politics as if their personal opinions make a difference one way or the other. A thin voice in my head screams silently in protest. How can they get so excited about whether the Bank of Israel will raise the prime rate of interest when my whole future is on the line? How can people just go about their regular lives when mine is in such an upheaval?

After we pass Yavneh and Rishon L’Tzion, the distant Tel Aviv skyline appears on the horizon like cardboard cutouts. On the other side of the highway vehicles whiz past, but on our side, cars are barely crawling. Oh, no, now we’ve stopped entirely. It looks like one long, narrow parking lot as far as my eyes can see.

What will happen if we’re late? Will they wait for us or reschedule the hearing?

I hear the sound of sirens. There’s a reflection of red lights as an ambulance tears past. A moment later another follows. On the other side, Hatzolah motorcycles scream by. The car remains quiet while we all wait tensely to find out what happened. Politics isn’t very interesting any more if you know that there’s been an accident and someone’s life may be in danger. Even my court case pales beside the possibility of someone being hurt and in pain. Only Abba continues murmuring Tehillim.

The line of traffic moves ahead in spurts and jerks. Now the other side of the highway is jammed as well. I suppose that’s because drivers on that side are slowing down to look at the accident that is still some way ahead of our position. The taxi driver turns on his radio and we listen to the news until finally an accident report comes on. The announcer describes a truck loaded with construction material that clipped an overhang from a bridge and flipped over onto its side. He reports that the police are clearing plastic pipes off the roadway and it will soon be possible to continue. I’m relieved to know that no one was seriously injured.

The semi-trailer is lying across the median with its wheels in the air. As we pass I glimpse the Hatzolah guys standing in a group kibitzing, the revolving lights on their empty ambulances still flashing. Right after the accident scene, traffic picks up again and our taxi speeds into Tel Aviv as if nothing happened. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 720)