Turning the Cumbersome Into Cruise Control

Another Installment In, “My Israel Adventure Prep”–

My Trusty Helper.

It’s the substitute for my mobility. In a very real way, an extension of my own body. The inspiration behind the title for this blog.

Should it break down or malfunction in any way (as happens on occasion), I become literally powerless, with no destination in sight.

Leaving it out of my eyesight causes me extreme panic.

A very precious commodity indeed!

What am I referring to?

My power chair, of course! (Never to be confused with an electric chair!).

So here I am – conceptualizing traveling together with my faithful “friend”. How will I bring it with me? It certainly won’t fit under the seat ahead of me, nor in the overhead storage area!

And sitting in it will not be an option, because it would block the aisle. I can just imagine all of the passengers climbing around, over and under me in order to get to the bathroom! No, no, no! Not happening!

What actually happens is, the airline personnel supply me with a “transfer chair”. This is a mini- manual wheelchair in which they pull me onto the actual aircraft. My preassigned helpers manually transfer me (a “pivot transfer”) into this miniature chair from my own power chair. After pulling me up the aisle and settling me beside my preassigned seat, I’m blessed with another manual transfer so that I gracefully land in my seat for the next 10 hours.

Back to my power chair, which was left back at the cargo door. Problem – the maximum height allowance is 31 inches. The back of my chair? 42 inches. So, after investigating various options, the best method will be for my wife to dismantle the entire back of my power chair. The now disassembled chair is ready to be loaded onto the plane, together with the other cargo.

All of these things must be accomplished within five minutes. They load us first, under the impatient stares of the airline personnel, and who knows how many passengers.

I can just picture the scene. Numerous airline personnel, barking instructions, reminders and orders. A few hundred passengers, including nervous fathers, pulled-in-many-directions mothers, rambunctious children and aloof businessmen.

Talk about pressure!

But maybe there’s a lesson in all this.

About how to keep our wits about us even when the world is crashing down around us! How to remain cool, calm and collected when intense pressure threatens to take us over!

The key is, place your trust in Hashem, and then, trust yourself. Trust that you have what it takes to banish your fear and to hold tight to the immense strength within you!



    Hello Rabbi Simes –   I would like to put you in touch with my friends, Harry and Gili Rosen, who have travelled to Israel many times under similar circumstances to yours. They are cc’d on this email and I am sure they would be of assistance to you should you require it.   Hatzlacha and Nesiya Tova!   Golda


    1. Dear Golda,

      I regret neglecting to get to your comment in time for our trip.

      We are leaving in 22 hours! YAHOO – the adventure is about to begin!!

  2. Thank you so much Rabbi Simes for sharing your life with us. You have a wonderful ability to acknowledge your feelings and then figure out how to manage in the face of major challenges. For me it serves as a great reminder not to get thrown by the small challenges every one of us faces on a daily basis.

    1. Well said, Lauren! Every day of our lives we must manage small and not so small challenges. Often they come at us at lightning speed. It seems our job is never to lose our balance, and to do everything in our power to stand upright.

  3. Shaindel Simes · · Reply

    I hope I can remember that & breath @ the same time while disassembling the chair! 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. I’m sure you can….

      And please don’t pull any funny stuff!!!

  4. Good for you, Yehudah! It sounds really difficult but we believe that the more effort the greater the reward!
    Can’t wait to see you!
    Love, judy

    1. I also can’t wait to see you – we’ll be staying right up the block on Rechov Hamayan!!!!

  5. Avrohom Vegh · · Reply

    While you are picturing the scene, you should picture your family and friends all over the world who will be cheering the two of you on.
    By the way, maybe you should call this website ‘Flying Rabbi’ 🙂

    1. Ha ha – I love that motto! After all, I’ll be flying high!!

  6. Rabbi Baruch Lederman · · Reply

    Good post.

    Great Lesson!

    1. Thanks so much for the accolades!

  7. Just got back from a tour of the newest Western/Southern Wall excavations. A very difficult area to walk through, but we saw three men in wheelchairs at one of the digs. So there is a way to access this really interesting site. You may want to contact the Davidson Centre.

    1. Terrific info….

      Thanks so much for looking out for me!

      I’m so happy you are having a wonderful time touring and living it up in Israel!

      We’ll be there in only ONE week!!

  8. Micah Shotkin · · Reply

    Keep the messages coming! They are fantastic! I love you with all my heart and all my soul! Micah

    1. My dear friend R’ Micha!

      We leave in one week from today – I’ll be seeing the old gang, including Asher Amselem! I’ll send them all regards and remind them of ABUVIM when we got lost up north!

      I can’t believe it’s been so long – those days were simply unforgettable!

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