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Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
A Really Good Deal On Oil!

My car is constantly running out of oil.  Since the gas station charges so much for oil, I usually drive around with the oil lamp lit for a while until I can bring myself to overpay at the station.  Last week the day had finally come.  I had no choice but to take the big plunge.  However I had to make a stop at a store along the way.  I parked, ran my errand, and headed back to my car.  As I was walking, out of nowhere, I saw an auto supply store that I never noticed before. 

I went in and saw a Jewish kid, maybe around twenty years, old behind the counter.  He had a long ponytail, no yarmulke, and his eyebrows looked like they were painted on.  I was quite taken aback.  There were two yeshiva boys standing in front of the counter, screaming at him, calling him a crook, and threatening to call the police.  Appalled by the way this kid looked, I instinctively assumed he was indeed a crook.  After a heated debate they then left.  I quickly bought some motor oil for one-third the price of the gas station’s price and turned to leave thinking thankful that I got exactly what I came for and even made it out alive.

As I was leaving I noticed the kid who was running the store walking behind me towards the door with keys in his hand.  It seemed strange to me but didn’t make anything of it and left. Anyway, I went next door to buy my son a lollypop.    As I walked out, instead of going to my car, for some reason I decided to go back and ask the kid in the auto supply store if he knew why my car was always low on oil.  When I got to the door of the store it was locked.  I couldn’t believe it since it was only 4 o’clock in the afternoon, so I gave the door a few shakes hoping it was just jammed or something.  What I saw next hopefully taught me a lesson I won’t forget for the rest of my life.  The kid with the pony, earrings, and paint for eyebrows came out from behind the counter to open the door.  In his hand he had a Tehilim, on his head was a small yarmulke, and his eyes were full of tears.  I was blown away.

Our eyes do not deceive us, our brains do.  Seeing is believing?  What we see actually does happen.  It is when we process that knowledge and the conclusions that we draw that are tainted with bias, lies, and stereotype.  The lesson I learned is a lesson that is taught to me all the time but somehow doesn’t last very long.  I am always sure by time the next suspicious fellow comes around that I finally got it all figured out.  Yet I am wrong time after time after time.  At least now I have learned a lesson stronger than ideals of Mussar that I read in a Sefer that may or may not have penetrated my mind.  I have real proof, “I saw it with my own eyes!”  “Btzedek Tishpot Amisecha”.   I thought I was getting a good deal on oil.  As it turns out I got a great lesson on life.

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