Saying Thank You After a Storm

I will admit that I’m what I call a “winter weather wimp.” In my defense, I grew up in Southern California and still think temperatures below 50F should be outlawed.

Winter Snow in Jerusalem

Ten days ago Israel was in the middle of a major winter storm.

There was lots of rain.

So much that reports of the Kinneret raising double digits in one day became old hat.

There was snow from Mount Hermon to the south of Hevron.

Even Jerusalem got several inches of snow that stayed on the ground for a couple of days.

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The part of the storm that stood out for me was the wind.

It seemed like the whole world was going to blow away.

In fact, parts of it did.

I got up (as usual) early on Monday, January 7.

The wind had been blowing all night. I hoped it would be calmer in the morning, but that was not the case.

I was in my home office shortly after 6 am.

I heard a sudden noise outside the office window that made me think the wind was moving the potted plants sitting in the window sill.

I opened the tereis, but it was so dark I couldn’t see any thing.

I grabbed a flashlight.

Nope, the plants were still sitting in their places.

Fallen Pine Tree
This 40-year old pine fell across our garden.

Falling Down

About 30 minutes later the sun rose.

I again looked out the window and got a huge shock. I suddenly realized that I had heard a sound. It wasn’t potted plants moving, it was a 40-year-old pine tree falling over.

The tree had fallen in such a way that it missed breaking through my office window but had fallen across the building’s garden. The top of the tree was completely blocking the path out to the parking lot.

All that morning the wind raged and at times there was pelting rain.

Early in the afternoon the weather cleared some.

Leon and Ziv

Soon I became aware of a new noise.

A chain saw.

Leon, the building’s maintenance man, and Ziv, one of the residents, were using a small chain saw to clear the walking path of tree branches.

It was not an easy job.

The chain saw was too small for the task. The weather did not cooperate.

One minute there was sunshine. The next minute hail.

So it went all afternoon.

Leon cut branches. Ziv dragged them away.

Ziv deposited the branches in two piles.

He made an initial pile next to our local dumpster. Then he made a second pile in the parking lot close to where the tree had fallen.

Ten Days Later

Fast forward ten days.

Neither pile of branches has been removed.

I understand that it’s going to take the city cleaning crews time to clear all of the debris from the storm. In fact, it’s clear that a lot of progress has already been made.

However, I was becoming concerned about the second pile that Ziv created.

I had three concerns.

1. It was blocking at least two parking spaces in the lot. Not a big deal for me. I don’t have a car. But, it was clear that at times there wasn’t enough parking.

2. The city might pick up the first pile but overlook the second pile that was not so close to the dumpster.

3. Some people (we’ll refer to them as “scum”) were using the second pile as a new trash dump.

For reasons that I cannot begin to understand, it suddenly became too hard for the “scum” (there I go again) to walk the few extra steps to the real dumpster.

Moving the Pile

This morning I walked with Lisa to her train stop and then went for a stroll.

After my stroll, I took a another look at the parking blocking pile of branches and decided it was time to act.

I started dragging branches across the parking lot. I threw them on the first pile that Ziv had started.

I decided I had three goals:

1. Clear the parking spaces that were being blocked.

2. Be careful where I stacked them so that no other spaces would be blocked.

3. Remove the trash from the parking lot to the dumpster.

The morning was pleasant and the task I set for myself not too hard.

My Point (Yes, There is One)

But here’s the whole point of writing this story.

While I was doing this, about 10 of my neighbors came into the parking lot.

Some of them greeted me and got into their cars and drove away.

Only one person thanked me for what I was doing!

And she also does not own a car!!

I was taught that whenever a person does something good for you, YOU are obligated to thank them.

Even if the good they did for you was for their own benefit.

They did you good, you MUST say “Thank you.”

[BTW, just in case you were wondering, saying “yasher koach” is not the same as saying “thank you.” It’s not even close.]

So here’s my question for you: when was the last time you said “thank you” to the garbage man or street sweeper?

Yeah, sure, it’s their job. That’s why they’re there. But, still they are doing something good for you.

Let them know you appreciate it.


The Jerusalem City clean up crews arrived a few days after I wrote this post. You can read about it here.

Your Turn

Please share you thoughts in the comments. And, say thanks to the forgotten person who’s helping make your life better.

A Note on the Translations
The translation of Bible verses is based on the Judaica Press Tanach.
The translation of Gemara is based on the Soncino Talmud.
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5 thoughts on “Saying Thank You After a Storm”

  1. All the debris is being placed in the parking lot of the Paramus Municipal Pool, where piles of wood chips and brush have climbed to nearly 15 feet high. Joseph D’Arco, borough administrator, said the borough was bringing in a grinder to shred the material by the end of the week, but the plan for what to do with the final product was still being developed.

    • Thanks for sharing this interesting point, but I’m not quite sure how the problems in New Jersey relate to my post. 🙂

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