What Happened When I Had No Money at the Toll Booth

Making meaningful moments throughout our day.

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Comments (28)

(15) Birdy, November 22, 2021 7:16 AM

Cashless promotion

. Yet I wonder what would had happened if the good Samaritan was cashless too? Fine!! Sometimes I wonder if those lovely share, are deliberate promotion to help those wicked government to harassed nor bully us on a daily basis.

(14) Gloria Frisch, November 15, 2021 2:32 PM

I enjoyed your video and agreed with your views. Last week, you attempted to call me. I wasn't home. You left a return telephone number but you spoke much too quickly for my little pea brain to get your telephone number. I want to talk, LIVE, to you about why I wouldn't light a candle or say yarzeit on the anniversary of my husband's passing. I was SO angry with him but I have finally calmed down. I was going to divorce him but I had compassion since he spent 9 1/2 painful years dying from prostate cancer. Again, my telephone number is 404-255-6436. If you want to leave your telephone number, say it VERY slowly and repeat it or send it to me via this medium. Thank you. I respect your opinion.

(13) Mordechai Bulua, November 15, 2021 2:22 PM

One of the Tribe

On my way to Toronto though Sarnia, I came to a toll. I was in the process of taking out my wallet when the toll collector told me he already paid the $2.00 toll fee! He explained that while he might not be religious, he's one of the tribe! I found out later that he does the same thing for any identifiable Jew. Mi k'amcha Yisrael!

Mordechai Bulua, November 16, 2021 2:18 PM


I was on my way to Detroit through Sarnia

(12) Jonathan Keefe, November 15, 2021 12:53 AM

Can we make a Kiddush HaShem out of this incident?

Rabbi Sytner,

First of all, I love your videos. Yes they are inspiring. If I may so humbly suggest something. I want to to contribute a small amount towards a gift for that toll booth employee. I think that would make her feel wonderful. I also humbly suggest that she be sent a link to this talk.

I wish you success in all the great work you are doing.

(11) Janet Levy, November 14, 2021 3:19 PM

Listening to Rabbi Tzvi Sytner speak was very meaningful to me.

I have heard Rabbi Sytner speak before and he just seems to be able to zero in on things that are things I am concerned about. I am trying to live a more meaningful life (I split my time with my husband between Israel and Toronto) but am finding it hard. Through Rabbi Sytner I am learning that it is the small things that mean a lot. Please thank him for me.

(10) Prof Asher J Matathias, November 13, 2021 9:34 PM

Kindness is contagious …

B”H The driver may not have intended to be condescending, but he was! The tool booth attendant might be studying at her periodic breaks; and, could have been moved by the pathos the scene created to exercise the common kindness within us all —- without the prejudgment of a life less being lived!

Aliza, November 16, 2021 12:46 PM

I completely agree

I love the message Rabbi Sytner is trying to convey, but the presumptions about this woman and her job were off-putting. I'm sure that wasn't the intention, but that's how it came across.

(9) Anonymous, November 12, 2021 6:54 PM

nice but arrogant

it was nice to appreciate what this lady in the toll booth did for you. But it is arrogant to think she derives no meaning from her job and doing this nice deed was the highlight of her day. Unless she tells you this, you can't presume this.

Anonymous, November 14, 2021 1:55 PM

I agree

My pet peeve is we often ‘guess’ what is going on in someone else’s life.
I am guilty of it as well.
But, do we really know what went through the toll booth lady’s mind?
Do we really know what is going on in someone else’s life?

(8) Raymond, November 12, 2021 1:24 PM

Act of kindness…….beautiful.

Thank you, Rabbi…..you just said a very meaningful article….yes ,you made her day…she made your day as well I understood completely what your saying…….freely receive from G-d freely give to others in need……sometimes a small jest of kindnesss means a lot more than just the gift…..it is saying I accept you , no matter what religion you are? Colour? Greed?Culture?….you are made after the image of G-d and you are my brother,sister? You have a soul…feelings? desires? just as I have ?…..glad I’m not alone in this beautiful world ….but we can share the treasures of the Lord together. God made us so we can enjoy life together….how lonely would I be if I were an island to myself? me?myself? and I? Rabbi you made my day by your article ? for you reminded me the times I gave freely and the times I received freely….all part of good living…..wish you were here so I could buy you a coffee .

(7) Jewish Mom, November 11, 2021 10:26 PM

One can make the mundane meaningful too

Your point is well-taken but I think it's a mistake to find meaning just in those few moments of stretching out our necks while ignoring the meaning in our mundane routine. Unless we live alone, every errand or chore that we do is a chessed - an act of kindness - to our family.
Why not feel satisfaction in that? In Tehillim 136, we detail many acts of G-d's kindness to us including splitting the sea, leading us through the desert, helping us vanquish strong kings and so on. Each verse ends with the words "because His kindness is eternal". Not counting the general wrap-up of thanks in the last verse, the next-to-last verse (25), is the culmination of His kindness: "He gives bread to all flesh because His kindness is eternal".
If we shop for food and prepare it for our family, we are the vehicles of Hashem's greatest kindness - an extension of His Arm, so to speak.
Let's take satisfaction in that!
If we going to the cleaners, tidy up our homes, go to work to support our family, there is meaning in those mundane actions. Even the acts of eating, exercising and sleeping - if we bear in mind that we are maintaining our health in order to serve G-d at full strength - that, too adds meaning to the mundane. Dealing honestly in business, speaking with honesty and with respect, expressing appreciation, refraining from put-downs - there are so many ways that we can add meaning to our everyday actions. A nod, good morning or thanks to service people who many treat as invisible (e.g. garbage collectors) might feel like an extra, but acknowledging our spouse and children is no less important and can fill our days with more meaning.

Dvirah, November 12, 2021 8:38 AM


If our actions were random or only for selfish reasons, they'd have little meaning, but each is purposeful and benefits others as well as myself - even what I do at the office. And by conducting oneself (or at least trying to!) in accordance with Torah precepts, they become holy.

John Grantsaan, November 12, 2021 12:50 PM

The mundane has meaning

I agree with you Jewish Mom. We can find meaning in the mundane. We are blessed by Hashem by being able to do the mundane. We know that when we experience poor health and cannot do them anymore. Why wait for poor health to be grateful?We take so much for granted including prosperity and peace. There is blessing by Hashem in the everyday.

(6) ציפי סמיתה, November 11, 2021 8:16 PM


Gracias por la articulo y video de chessed o viviendo chessed, cada día; me llámalo. Me requerido muchas tiempos (Baruch hu) cuando Dios pone una angel en mi vida exactamente cuando yo la necesito y el/ella cambia me día o mi semana! Es triste que hoy en el mundo nos vivimos chessed no es nórmale. Pregunta: ?רב, puedes le dan una bracha a la fin de la video? ציפי סמיתה

(5) martin, November 11, 2021 7:41 PM


beautiful message and presentation.

(4) Anonymous, November 11, 2021 6:27 PM


you fool. you didn't make her day. she made your day. did you go and pay her back for her kindness? she's a toll collector probably with little money.

Rabbi Sytner, November 11, 2021 9:07 PM

actually yes

I did offer to repay, but this was something she wanted to do, out of the goodness of her heart, because it was meaningful to her.

NesanelS, November 12, 2021 10:41 AM

Sharp term sometimes used

I guess we have to infer that this person is well versed in the words of the Talmud. Even in the Talmud they sometimes used a sharp word -- such as what one sage once said to another 'it seems to me that you do not have a brain in your skull’.
The Chofetz Chayim, one of the greatest rabbis of the past 100 years, discusses this in his book called Chofetz Chayim, which discusses not speaking gossip (unless necessary in a specific case). He brings several such examples from the Talmud, and says that they only spoke this way in order to wake up another, as they felt he had made a big mistake.
(And we can learn from the rabbi who responds pragmatically, without any personal upsetness.)
May God give you much success.

Nancy, November 12, 2021 3:03 PM

To commenter #4 Anonymous

Your comment to the rabbi is unnecessarily harsh. You could have merely asked the rabbi if he tried to reimburse the toll taker. Btw--I was once in a similar situation. My mechanic had to do a small repair on my car and he didn't charge me for the work. He is VERY busy and I tried to give him cash but he flatly refused to take it.

Anonymous, November 14, 2021 2:14 PM

I agree

It’s not nice to call the Rabbi a fool.
I assume you were in a bad mood when you made that comment.

And why didn’t the Rabbi mention that he offered to pay her back?

Daniel, November 15, 2021 9:44 PM

Who is the fool

It takes great arrogance to look down on another person and call them a fool, especially a resected Rabbi.
Actually, I think there is no reason at all to repay her for two dollars unless of course they ask you to. If she didn’t have the money to do charity with it, she wouldn’t have done so, or she would have said I will loan you the money. What happened to the ideal of doing kindness? Has charity been lost from society?

(3) Stephen, November 11, 2021 4:25 PM

Aware of Blessings

Thanks. I will be more aware of the opportunity to do a mitzvah. It really gives more to me than the person receiving.

(2) BRIAN, November 11, 2021 2:46 PM


Nesanel S, November 12, 2021 2:55 PM

Maybe you sponsor it for the rabbi!

It must have been a rented car...

(1) Julius, November 11, 2021 2:37 PM

Did you repay the woman who paid your toll?

Maybe that woman needed those two dollars and she was sacrificing to help you. Did you do anything to repay her?

Anonymous, November 11, 2021 9:09 PM


Hi, I tried, but she didn't want to hear of it. This was something she wanted to do out of the goodness of her heart, and didn't want the $2 back. I insisted, but she insisted more!

Anonymous, November 12, 2021 3:06 PM

To commenter #1 Julius

In my life, I have known wealthy people who are as stingy as the day is long. Conversely, I have known folks with less money who are the first people to donate their money and/or time when one is in need.


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