The Catskills, Upstate New York, or “the country” as it is called, is a wonderful place for families to spend the summer, and get away from the city. It is also the place where many people live year round, where they have chosen to live for its less hectic environment, the peacefulness and quiet.
Even when we are on our best behavior, simply by our large numbers, we interrupt their way of life and get in their way. And when some people don’t even bother to try to behave in a mentshlich, courteous manner, it causes even more dislike and resentment, whether with reckless driving, poor behavior in stores, littering in parks…
Over the years, I have said things to people who I felt were really causing a Chilul Hashem, which ultimately impacts us all regardless of how we ourselves behave.
Recently, I was parking in Walmart’s parking lot in Monticello, and I watched a young couple in a large SUV park in a handicapped spot and calmly get out of their car with a baby and walk into the store. They did not have handicap plates or a permit, and were B”H able bodied. I followed them in and approached the woman, and I told her that she should please tell her husband to move their car since it’s not right to park in a handicapped spot. She answered me – and I could not believe it – “Oh we figured since we have temporary plates we can’t get a ticket so why not?!”. I told her it’s really a Chilul Hashem and it affects us all, you need to tell your husband to move your car.
When I came out of the store 45 minutes later, their car was still parked in the same handicapped spot!
I am not sure which was worse. That they parked in a handicapped spot, or that she didn’t seem to even realize what my point of going over to her was. She seemed to think I was concerend that she would get a ticket for parking there, when that was not my intention at all. It was to avoid Chillul Hashem.
Each of us has got to be careful to do the right thing, even if we think we can “get away with it”.
If I as a Frum person get frustrated from this type of behavior, how much more so will the local people resent us!
Name withheld upon request.
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.
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