W

hen I hear the term tzaddik nistar, I automatically think about Zusha the innkeeper, Leibush the woodcutter, and Moishele the water carrier.

I don’t think about Ayelet my driving teacher, who wears pants and doesn’t cover her hair. Yet once, we were having a lesson when her cell phone rang. It was someone with a question on Tanach. Ayelet immediately answered, giving her caller the perek and pasuk, as well as the relevant mefarshim. I took my eyes off the road long enough to shoot her a look of surprise. “Sounds like you don’t just know Tanach,” I said (oops, look at for that Mercedes…). “It’s more like the Otzar HaChochma computer program.”

“Well,” she replied, “I know that you’re not supposed to read newspapers or regular books on Shabbat. So every Shabbat, when I get bored, I open up a Chumash and learn the parshah. Then I go the Rashi, and if I still have some time, I open a Navi also and learn a perek or two.”

Not bad for a learning schedule.

“I’m 52 years old,” she continued, “and I never ever picked up a newspaper on Shabbat Kodesh. That’s the day we need to fill ourselves up with ruchaniyut.”

I gave a noncommittal hmmm. I’m all for Shabbos and ruchniyus, don’t get me wrong. But to me, Shabbos is also about… sleeping. Curling up on the couch with… okay, not a Tanach.

Ayelet hadn’t finished. “Don’t think it’s easy. Last year my son wrote an article that appeared in the newspaper on a Friday. Shabbat morning I was itching to pick up Friday’s paper to read it. I told myself, you haven’t read a newspaper on Shabbat for 51 years, you’re not going to now! It was the longest Shabbat in my life, but when Shabbat was over and I sat down with the newspaper to read my son’s article, I was filled with a pride in my son and victory for myself.”

I had to park the car. Seriously?! A woman of 52 who never in her life opened up a newspaper on Shabbos? This woman sits in a car all week long, teaching people how to drive, and she definitely doesn’t seem like a rebbetzin. But she’s spent half a century years chazering Tanach every Shabbos.