How far would you go to stand up for what you thought was right? Could you withstand yelling, threats and hostility? Would you be able to shrug off mockery and ridicule – or even disobey direct orders – and keep insisting that you were right?

That was the challenge facing Mussie Weinfeld on a recent flight from Tel Aviv to New York, as she prepared to return home after spending a special Passover in Israel. As the 22-year old teacher from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, settled in her window seat on a TransAero flight scheduled to leave Israel’s Ben Gurion airport late Saturday night, April 11, 2015, and fly to New York via Moscow, she thought something seemed amiss.

“There was a very loud and strange noise on my side of the plane. I probably was extra scared because of what’s going on recently with (crashes of) airplanes and I felt really uncomfortable with it,” Mussie recalls. She also thought something didn’t look right with the plane’s wing. Concerned, Mussie shared her observations with passengers sitting near her, but they “laughed it off and said it was just noises from the engines,” Mussie’s father, Rabbi Kalman Weinfeld, recalled after speaking with his daughter.

At that point, the plane started taxiing towards the runway. “When the plane actually started moving I got even more scared,” Mussie recalls, “and I said I have to do something.” She unbuckled her seatbelt and stood up. As her father reported, “The flight attendants, who themselves were already seated and buckled in, instructed her to return to her seat. When she told them her concerns about the plane they too laughed at her. She insisted that she will not fly on the plane if they didn’t check it out.”

The flight attendants threatened the young woman, yelling at her to return to her seat, but Mussie refused. “I said, ‘I don’t want to sit down – I want you to go do something about it.’ Then when I got back to my seat everyone took off their seat belts. Nobody wanted to take off now.”

The airplane returned to the gate, for – airline officials announced – a 45-minute safety check. Nearly two hours later, however, it became clear the plane was unsafe to fly, and passengers were asked to return to the airport the following day to fly home on a different aircraft. Turns out Mussie was right; there was indeed a problem with the aircraft’s wing. The synchronism slats on the wings’ edges which allow for proper movement of airplane wings were broken. TransAero later insisted that they were in fact in the process of detecting the problem right before takeoff.

Realizing that the young teacher in their midst had saved them all from a potential tragedy, many of the travelers, who just hours before had mocked and yelled at Mussie, came over “and profusely thanked her for saving their lives,” her father explained.

Mussie herself was modest about her role. “Everyone was thankful at least that we didn’t take off with that plane,” she said simply.

How many of us would have been able to stand up to such enormous social pressure and ridicule? By insisting that her concerns be checked out, Mussie Weinfeld embodied Hillel's maxim: “In a place where there are no leaders, strive to be a leader” (Ethics of the Fathers, 2:6). We all have the responsibility to take a stand and do what’s right, to go against the grain and make our voices heard, even in the face of mockery and ridicule.

Whether or not TransAero was aware of the damage, as they claim, there is no question that Mussie Weinfeld demonstrated remarkable tenacity in refusing to go back to her seat, disobeying the flight attendants' orders and not trusting those who should seemingly know better than her.