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Car Terror

Car Terror

Terrorists are using their cars for death. Let’s go out of our way to use ours for life.

by

Like most people, I remember exactly where I was when I first heard about the September 11th attacks. It was one of my first days of fourth grade. I had a hard time understanding why someone would purposely ram a plane into a building. I was so sure that it was an accident – it just didn’t make sense to me otherwise. I didn’t understand why the terrorist would put himself in a situation where he, too, would die, and I didn’t understand how he could use a plane as a weapon.

Terrorists use bombs. They use guns. They use knives and rocks and missiles.

But now that I’m older, I understand that terrorists can also use planes and tractors and bulldozers. And cars.

What makes these kinds of terror attacks so horrifying is that they are done through mundane, regular objects people use every day. I drive to work, I drive home. I use my car to run errands, to go visit friends. I see hundreds of cars every day.

Young Israeli children are trained to be alert and suspicious of abandoned packages. But how can we train them to be afraid of passing cars?

There’s no suspicious black bag or muted ticking. In the past two weeks there have been three terrorist attacks carried out through cars. In a sick act of violence, these terrorists ram their cars into throngs of people. They hit mothers, babies, soldiers, waiting for a bus or to cross the street. They use their cars as weapons.

What defense is there against cars? We can’t hide in our homes and pray they don’t decide to drive (or fly) into our buildings. It is easy to feel helpless, paralyzed by fear.

I have no answer for this, though I hope that our trust in God helps all of my brothers and sisters in Israel to continue with their daily lives, and I pray that there should be no more of this sickening terror in our Holy Land or the world.

I do have one suggestion about this car-terror that I think might be worth sharing. And it is something we can all do – whether you live in Israel or not.

I’m fortunate to have parents who bought me a car before I started college, and I tried to remember the power I had with that car to give people rides. I tried to offer anyone in need a lift to school or work or appointments because I enjoy driving and spending time with other people, and they really appreciate the favor. In fact you can fulfill the mitzvah of hosting guests through offering people rides in your car.

There is an enormous responsibility and power in operating a car. When I got my learner’s permit, my grandfather (a retired driving instructor) reminded me that operating a car is like operating a two-ton killing machine. He meant that as a warning to adhere to speed limits, pay attention to the road, and be a mindful driver. What power those words hold now.

The car has potential to be used for so much good and at the same time for so much evil. It’s all in the choices we make.

We decide what to do with everything we have – our possessions, our talents, our actions, our words. We can choose to spend money on extravagances or to donate it to tzedakah. A few extra minutes can be used to reach out to a friend or relative, or to watch TV. Our words can be used to build someone up or tear someone down.

These terrorists are choosing to use their cars and give up their lives to murder and instill fear.

As a spiritual response, let’s decide to go out of our way to use our cars for kindness. Offer rides, help cancer patients who need to go the hospital, contact the local old aged home and see if they can use your services.

The terrorists are using their cars for death. Let’s make sure we are using ours for life.

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Visitor Comments: 20

(18) Ariella, December 7, 2014 5:28 AM

what an amazing way for us to respond proactively and positively!

This article, specifically the suggestion that we "counteract" the terror being carried out by cars by using our cars and driving abilities for good really impacted me. In the past couple of weeks I've been zoche (merited) to have numerous opportunities to do mitzvos for people by driving them or their belongs places and it really impacted me that I could do this mitzvah. I now look for opportunities to use my car for good and its really an amazing thing. so thank you so much

(17) avi r, November 10, 2014 5:05 PM

AFRAID?

why would you want to train kids to be 'AFRAID' of passing cars? surely you mean to say that they should be VIGILANT and more AWARE of cars. dont the israeli children have enough to be afraid of?

(16) Marci, November 10, 2014 2:45 AM

Great suggestions!

I love Sara's suggestion! Please consider finding the agency in your city that resettles and assists refugees (maybe HIAS or an affiliate?) -- and offer to drive them to their many appointments or interviews or shopping; often if will be months (or years) before they can drive and/or earn enough money to buy a car!

(15) glenda urmacher, November 9, 2014 4:14 PM

We give our children the privilege of driving ,because it is a "right of passage "to growing up.
Perhaps millenniums of marrying one's first cousins has diminished the brain power of a group of people in Israel, and the middle east.
Until they learn that a car is a vehicle of transportation, and not a killing machine,
ALL MUSLIMS SHOULD BEEN BANNED FROM DRIVING IN MAJOR CITIES OF ISRAEL,
including
JERUSALEM..

(14) Anonymous, November 8, 2014 7:52 AM

No driver no death

PLAIN AND SIMPLE STOP THE POTENTIAL DEATH THREAT BY STOPPING THE DRIVERS. REVOKE THEIR PERMISSION TO DRIVE STOP PLAYING GAMES WITH THESE PEOPLE THEY USE THEIR FREEDOM AS A TOOL OF DESTRUCTION. THEY REFUSE TO STOP AND ARE ALMOST SCREAMING OUT, ""WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT" SO IT IS TIME TO STARTING DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. STOP THEM FROM DRIVING IN ISRAEL, FULL STOP END OF STORY, BUILD ANOTHER WALL TO KEEP THEM OUT ONE THAT READS PLAIN AND SIMPLY, SORRY YOU HAVE PROVED THAT YOU CANNOT DRIVE, SO WE HAVE DECIDED THAT IT IS TIME THAT YOU STOP DRIVING. THEY WILL NOT STOP, SO STOP THEM. QUITE SIMPLY NO DRIVER, NO ACCIDENT, NO INCIDENT, NO HARM TO INNOCENT PEOPLE. STOP THEIR PERMISSION TO DRIVE IN ISRAEL END OF STORY FULL STOP. TAKE THEIR WEAPON AWAY FROM THEM.

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