It’s 2:18am in Jerusalem. The Journey home is a book by itself. Last year, I flew American Airlines via Zurich. Last year, to make a ridiculously long story even more ridiculously short, mechanical problems requiring a change of aircraft after 2 hours in the air, made me miss my connecting flight and spend 9 hours in God-forsaken Zurich. And my luggage didn’t arrive in Israel and had to wait till the next day to get them.

My Tuesday night flight had mechanical problems after we were all boarded, required a change of aircraft and made me miss my connection in Rome to Tel Aviv. And my luggage didn’t arrive. Even worse, no one can find them. Three blue backpacks; very distinctive. Virtually every piece of clothing I own are in those bags. All the receipts from the trip, if not recovered will create enormous and frightening problems with the IRS for me and the Bat Ayin Yeshiva. And so much more. And American through it all has been dramatically unresponsive. And then…..

On the flight to Rome, the seating configuration was 2-3-2. I had a window seat. A wonderful woman who hates flying had the aisle. Behind her was a really big man, who was as large in vocal and behavioral presense, as he was in physical size. Effusive is an gross understatement. So, he was constantly pushing on the seat of my neighbor until she had to ask an attendant to intervene. Throughout the flight he was loud, gross and obnoxious; totally unaware of his surroundings or his impact upon this tight, intimate environment.

Just before reaching the breaking point, I asked him: “Please don’t shout.” Oy Vey! Bad move, Moish, real bad. He went ballistic. He started shouting, “You Effin’ Jew B…… No one evr told me to shut up. Just wait till we get off the plane. I’ll take care of you, you effin……….. .” And on and on. What did I do. I sat facing forward, making believe it just wasn’t happeniing. He was at least twice my size, we were 40,000 feet in the air, he was behind me and if I did anything, the overwhelming odds were that he would have lost whatever boundaries and borders he had.

After all the flight attendants failed at calming him, the head purser came and he seemed, old tired and burnt out. Rather than command respect for authority, he tried to mollify the man by saying how wrong I was, but let’s wait till Rome to deal with it. I prefer the choice of the attendant who wanted to bring the captain. later, an attendant named Natalie, who obviously was disturbed by what happened, came to me and told me she spoke to the captain and that there would be protection for me in Rome. Nothing, nada. As if nothing happened. No police, no expression of concern or acknowledgment of the situation by American.

I’m enough of a seasoned traveler to know how to get through, so I was able to move on past him, hidden and gone before anything could happen. And so much more.

So after 11 weeks of magic and wonders and miracles, up until JFK Airport and continuing after arriving in Israel, what does this mean? What’s HaShem trying to show me? What’s the lesson? Don’t have an answer yet because the story hasn’t ended yet. I haven’t gotten my bags and tomorrow is Shabbos and I have nothing. Nothing, that is except for some dollars, the best chevre anyone could hope for and Shabbos in Yerushalayim.

Stay tuned for further developements.

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