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Angel in the Road
It was mid-afternoon on a hot summer day in 1994. Elana and Yoram D. and their four children were driving from their home in Beitar, Israel, to Beit Shemesh. Yoram was driving, and Elana was seated next to him, holding a book of Chitas – a Chumash, Tehillim (Psalms) and Tanya bound together. The Lubavitcher Rebbe had strongly encouraged people to carry this book, as well as a charity box, with them in the car, to protect them from any mishaps. Their four children were strapped in the back.

The car traveled on a winding road, with a wooded hillside to the right and a deep valley to the left. Suddenly, during a sharp turn, a car coming from the opposite direction swerved into their lane. Yoram’s heart began to beat furiously. It seemed that a crash was unavoidable.

At the last moment, Yoram managed to steer the car sharply to the right, towards the hillside. But to his horror, the brakes suddenly failed. He lost control of the car and it veered wildly to the left, plunging into the abyss…

“Today, there is a guardrail there,” says Elana. “But then there was no protection at all. There was nothing to stop the car from dropping straight into the wadi, while flipping over several times in the air.”

Elana can recall in vivid detail the thoughts that ran through her head in those moments of terror. “Yes, we are all going to die,” she thought in despair.

No! Within those brief seconds she remembered the statement of the sages, “Even if a sharp sword is lying upon your neck, don’t lose hope of Divine compassion.” She tried to recall a few words of prayer to recite… for as long as she was able.

The car continued on its inevitable doomed course down the mountain side, scraping against brush and rock, until it finally came to rest on it side on bottom of the ravine, on top of a tender young olive tree. It was as if the tree stretched out its welcoming limbs and broke their fall.

The first to make a sound was four-year-old Simcha. Apparently, she was undisturbed by the fact that the car was lying belly up in a ditch, and in fact, she found the whole adventure quite amusing. But where were the boys? Elana glanced quickly out the window and saw them both lying on the ground. She wanted to go to them, but the car doors would not open.

Their only option was to crawl into the trunk, which had popped open from the force of the collision. Elana and Yoram went out, drawing Simcha behind them. Yoram was pale and shaken, but apparently uninjured. Simcha was giggling, seemingly enjoying their adventure. Their older son was found a slight distance from the car, with a light scratch on his forehead. Their second son was lying face-down, but safe and sound.

Only Chassi, their 11-month-old baby, was missing. Where was she? Elana’s heart began to beat frantically. “Chaaaa—ssi! Yoram – the baby! Where is she?!”

“Ma’am, don’t worry, I have the baby. Everything is fine,” she heard a voice calling from the road.

Elana’s head spun around towards the source of the voice. At the edge of the road, she saw a man standing and holding a baby. Chassi had never gone down into the ditch! Somehow she had been thrown from the car before it fell off the road.

Who was that man? Elana was convinced that he must be an angel of G-d. Who else could have been standing in middle of a highway to catch an infant thrown from a vehicle?

Elana trembled from head to toe. The relief she felt was dizzying. They were alive! Every one of them, healthy and well, with no injuries. Thank G-d! her husband, herself, the children. A miracle.

The wails of sirens soon filled the air as rescue vehicles and police cars raced to the area. The paramedics went down into the wadi and all they needed to do was help the family get up on to the road. Their feet were simply shaky after the terror they had been through, and they needed a bit of support.

On the road, one of the rescuers handed Elana her infant. The baby was completely calm, not understanding the danger she had just been through.

The police officer who investigated the crash found it hard to believe that all the passengers had survived. “Unbelievable! Such a severe crash with no casualties?”

Elana believes that the family was protected in merit of the book of Chitas that she was holding. Her fulfillment of the Rebbe’s directive to travelers kept her family alive.


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