Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Tale of Two Lost Wallets

Yes, I know I haven't written in a while, already starting last year with spotty internet connections, and big life changes, and getting married, and just...LIFE. It took a toll on my postings (by "toll" I think I've posted like 5 times in the past year.
Anyways, my wife has told me she wants me to start writing again, and now that post wedding life has settled down, and we have a solid internet connection, the time seemed right.
The direction of this blog will take a turn then it did previously. Originally I'd planned to document my experiences as an oleh, and not delve into politics or other things that might have any shred of controversy.
My old blog was more, how should I say it?... eclectic. And I'm going to start writing about a broader range of topics now, and will probably even have some rants in there that I'm sure will offend some people.
But to ease you back in I need to tell you the tale of two wallets.

About 2 months ago we (the Jews) had a fast day known as Tisha B'Av. It is the day in which our two Temples were destroyed as well as a slew of other tragedies that befell the Jewish people.

During my first Tisha B'Av in Israel I had spent it on Moshav Matisyahu to hear Rav Zev Leff speak. Now that I was married I saw no reason to break with this tradition. So my wife and I planned that we would spend Tisha B'Av on the Moshav.
We packed our things for our overnight stay and left on the bus to Yerushalayim in the morning. She would be going to work and I would be in Yeshiva and we would meet up later to catch a bus to the Moshav.
I was in charge of our duffel bag, it had been a long time since I had transported anything under the bus, and I was worried that I would forget our bag under the bus when we arrived in Yerushalyim. (As I typically fall asleep on buses and in my stupor would forget a detail like that.)
Luckily when the time for my wife's stop came I was awake and had not forgotten about our bag. Four stops later my stop came, and I asked the driver to open the luggage compartment for me to take the bag.
I pulled the bag off, waved the bus driver off and waited for the next bus to take me to the Old City.
Luckily I didn't have long to wait, within a minute the #2 bus came, and I reached into my pocket to take out my wallet...
...which wasn't there.

With horror I realized that the wallet had fallen out of my pocket in the bus! Trying to think what to do, the first thing I did was call Egged's lost and found. My mind was racing as it dialed, how would I get to Yeshiva? I didn't have any money or my bus pass? I was also carrying this heavy bag so walking wasn't really an option.
The woman at Egged informed me that it could take up to 24 hours for them to locate anything and that they would get back to me.
Still not knowing what to do, I tried calling my wife, not sure exactly what she would be able to do, but at least to tell her what was going on, and maybe should could come to where I was and give me some money. (This is besides the fact that all of my credit cards-including the America ones- and my American driver's license were in the wallet-I had no idea how I would replace those in Israel).
So I called and heard the phone ring. And ring. and ring.
Upon hearing her voicemail I hung up and called again, and then something hit me. An image of my wife's phone charging as we had been getting ready to leave that morning and that she didn't have her phone.
Starting to feel a little more panic, I racked my brain of what to do next.The Egged station where all of the intercity buses ended their routes was only about a 15 minute walk from where I was. I could walk down there and see if I could track down my wallet.
I started walking and I realized the my father in law works in Har Hotzvim, right next to where the bus station is. So I called him and explained what had happened. He happened to be passing by the station at that moment, so he pulled in and went to speak with someone there, explaining the situation.
He ended up meeting my bus, right as it was pulling into the station. Within 5 minutes from then and less then 10 after I'd gotten off the bus, I had my wallet back in my hand.
Marveling at this incredible stroke of luck (or maybe a divinely assisted hand), my wife called me from her work phone to inform me that she had left her cell phone at home.
I promptly informed her of the events of the last 10 minutes.

That was Lost Wallet Story #1
Here's Lost Wallet Story #2

My wife had to work on Eruv Yom Kippur, I spent the day basically cooking and mikve and...cooking.
When my wife came home she she received a call that she had left her wallet on the bus. Her brother drove her over to Beit Shemesh to try and see if she could pick it up (she wanted to get it done before Yom Kippur. The bus driver said "it's fine I left it with the security guard-just ask for Muhammed").
To anyone living in the Beit Shemesh area knows that about 9 months ago Egged ceased being the main bus provider in the area, making way for a company called SuperBus. My wife knew where the Egged bus depot was, but when she arrived there she was greeted with only Superbuses.
It turned out that the old Egged bus depot was know home to the Superbus depot. The time for the fast was quickly approaching, so we had to go into Yom Kippur hoping for the best.

The morning after Yom Kippur we called the Egged Lost and Found dept. to see if they could locate the wallet. When it was found they said it would be given to the bus driver of the 10:00 bus to Yerushalayim, all we had to do was wait for the driver at the stop and get the wallet from him.
Somehow I was very skeptical about this working out, but at 10:00 I found myself waiting for the bus.
I waited for about 8 minutes when the Egged bus came around the corner. One of the good things about this was I learned a new Hebrew word Arnak (wallet). So I confidently stepped on the bus and asked the bus driver for "the arnak," and he kinda just stared at me with this blank look on his face.
I was beginning to wonder if I'd gotten the word wrong "the arnak."
He told me he had no idea what I was talking about.
I got off the bus, wondering if the wallet was on the next bus, and I noticed that the bus that I'd been on was the 497 to Benei Brak, not the 417 to Yerushalayim.
About two minutes later the 417 bus came and driver had my wife's wallet.
As I had been waiting for the bus I ran into a friend of mine and told him the whole story and he pointed out that it was very interesting that both my wife and I had lost our wallets on eruv Tisha B'Av and on Eruv Yom Kippur (I wonder if there's some hidden message there?)

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