I walked out of shul. The streets of Yerushalayim were still damp from the previous day’s rain. I had davened slowly and felt peaceful. The cares of the world seemed lighter, because it was clear to me that all the disturbing events of our times have been predicted as a prelude to the coming of Moshiach, and we can surely anticipate that Moshiach will be here soon.
And then I saw him.
Well … who knows?
Actually, he was a street sweeper for the Municipality of Yerushalayim. Wearing his reflective vest with the seal of the City, he was sweeping leaves off the pavement right outside the shul.
I said “Boker Tov” and he gave me a big smile. He was so happy someone had said “hello!” Then he asked me, with a little hesitation. “Is there a cup of coffee or tea” inside the shul? It was a cold morning and he wanted a hot drink.
I brought him inside the shul. There were still a few men learning and he said a big “Boker Tov” to them. Then I brought him into the kitchen, showed him the coffee, the sugar, the milk and the hot water. I said to him, “kipa!” He smiled at me, covered his head with his uniform hood and made a bracha. When I left, he was so happy! My only regret is that I forgot to hug him!
My friends, I felt as if Moshiach could come from this. His life – and mine – were changed because of one “Boker Tov.” It is so easy to bring Klal Yisroel together!
In this week’s Torah Portion we learn in about the uniform of the Priests in the Holy Temple. We have to understand that clothes affect a person. This was first brought out in the Book of Genesis when Adam and Chava protected their dignity by covering themselves after their sin.
We live in an age when the trend is increasingly casual. I do not like it. I know a serious Jew – a businessman and serious Torah scholar – who will not pray without a tie. He knows that he is coming to stand in front of the Master of the Universe and he wants to look his best. We need to help ourselves in this era in which “anything goes.” We need to lift ourselves. We need all the help we can get. There are certain rabbis who always wear cufflinks. I respect this.
A uniform reminds you of the importance of your place in this world. You remember that you have something to accomplish, a role to fulfill. Have you ever seen a policeman out of uniform? Do you recognize him? When he wears his uniform he remembers his dignity and his important work. He is watching after law and order, and he takes it seriously.
The street-sweeper’s face was shining when he returned to work. His job is so important! He is preparing the streets of Yerushalayim for the footsteps of the Redeemer, may we greet him soon in our days!
The Street Sweeper