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Don't Tow That Car

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Don't Tow That Car
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Revach L'Neshama

Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein tells over a this story in his sefer Aleinu Leshabeach. In 2001, there was a huge explosion in the city of Hadera. R' Yitzchak Almaleach, the hero of the story, has served for years as the head of city parking in Hadera, and is also a member of Hatzala, an emergency response team. Through an unbelievable miracle that happened to him, he merited to not only save physical lives, but to inspire spiritual lives as well.

Yitzchak, who lives in Pardes Chana, arrived that evening at the main street in Hadera and began fulfilling his duty as parking supervisor. "In a few minutes, we had towed five cars, and subsequently we spotted a white Mitsubishi which was seriously impeding the flow of traffic. Its owner had parked it next to a bus stop which forced the bus drivers to stop in middle of the street, blocking all traffic."

"What happened with the white Mitsubishi was an open miracle. My life was obviously saved by Hashem," says Alameach, before continuing his story.

"I instructed the driver of the tow truck to place the hook beneath the car and tow it to the city parking lot. The driver did as I asked and approached the car, extended the hook from its place, and even placed it underneath the Mitsubishi. At that moment, and there is no possible way I can explain why I did this, I changed my mind. I instructed the driver to discontinue towing the car and continue driving down the street. The driver, who has worked with me for several years knows how conscientious I am about towing every illegally parked car. He was positive that he had heard incorrectly and he continued in his efforts to tow the Mitsubishi. However, I was determined to stop him and I screamed at him to stop and continue driving down the street. This time the driver responded and did as instructed, continuing down the street and turning left. Seconds later, we heard the explosion."

The explosion was so powerful that a bus which was next to the car bomb flew ten meters away from the force of the explosion. Tens of windows of stores and houses surrounding the area were completely shattered. Almaleach heard people screaming and understood that the explosion must have been a car bomb. As a member of Hatzala, which is a branch of Magen Dovid Adom Hadera, he immediately ran from the tow truck to the site of the explosion and began tending to the scores of wounded. It was only after a few minutes, when he had finished tending to the wounded and placing them in ambulances, that he heard that the car that had exploded was a Mitsubishi. He glanced at the place where the car had been parked (nothing remained of it except the shaft of the steering wheel and part of the motor) and his heart almost stopped in shock. It was the very Mitsubishi that he had almost towed away.

It was clear that if he had followed through on his original intention and towed the Mitsubishi, his life would have been over. And the miracle did not stop there. The weight of the explosive material which had been in the trunk of the car was 75 kilograms, the heaviest explosives ever used in Israel. Additionally, thousands of nails and screws had been placed among the explosives in order to increase the amount of injuries and casualties. How was it possible that such lethal explosives killed "only" two people? A thorough police investigation after the bodies and wounded had been cleared away revealed that the bus had absorbed the force of the explosion, and its strong frame had limited the number of casualties.

"Imagine what would have happened if I had lifted the car onto the tow truck which is a height of several meters," says Almaleach. There would have been nothing to absorb the force of the explosion and the number of wounded would have been much greater, not even comparable to what actually happened. And I don't even want to think about what would have happened to me."

Rabbi Zilberstein comments on this story, "We only need to open our eyes to see how Hashem manipulates events that even in midst of darkness and in the sea of fear and suffering, we are held in His hands like beloved children."

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