Why The Raincoat?

A hospital…crowded, noisy but oh so lonely. A Jew…..cared for, recuperated but  alone and forlorn. A beacon of light walked in the hospital doors. “Aren’t you an Ezer Mizion volunteer,” asked the kindly nurse. “I have a mitzvah for you. This elderly man is being released this morning but needs help in getting home.” Raphael had been an Ezer Mizion volunteer for years and was happy to help him home. 

 Home??!! Raphael contacted Chananya Chollak, founder of Ezer Mizion. “You must come to see how an elderly Jew is living!”

The two men entered a completely dark home. Chananya tried turning on the light but nothing happened. “There was an electrical short circuit. There’s no electricity,” explained Aryeh who was lying on his bed recuperating, wearing a raincoat.

“How long ago did the short occur?”

“Oh, a few weeks ago,” answered Aryeh offhandedly.

“And why are you wearing a raincoat?” Aryeh prodded kindly.

“Look up. The rain leaks right in, onto my bed.”

Chananya glanced at the ‘bed’, a collection of threadbare fibers acting as a mattress. The raincoat apparently took the place of blanket and pillow. As Chananya’s eyes became accustomed to the dimness, he noticed a pile of sand.

“Aryeh, is someone doing repairs here? “

Aryeh laughed, “Repairs?! Only the mice are doing any repairs here. They feel quite at home.” 

Chananya spoke to Aryeh for awhile and a depressing picture emerged. Aryeh was a holocaust survivor whose entire family had been wiped out. He literally had no one. Recently severe cataracts had left him almost completely blind. Due to his poor vision, he remained closeted in his house. Several days ago, he was forced to leave his home to purchase groceries. Sure enough, he tripped on the stairs and was brought to the hospital in need of stitches. His fall became the turning point in his life. Ezer Mizion procured a new bed and arranged for workers to clean Aryeh’s house, repair the leaky roof and wiring system and exterminate the mice. Through Ezer Mizion’s intervention, an expert eye surgeon operated on Aryeh’s cataracts and his vision is now fully restored.

When Chananya tells the story, he sighs, “Aryeh was fortunate that he happened to meet an Ezer Mizion volunteer. But what about all those people that never do?

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