When Aharon Cohen, a star player on our baseball team, hit a home run in the first game (at his first at-bat!), no one was surprised. He’s got a lot of strength. But this past weekend Aharon exhibited another type of strength; the power of commitment, devotion, and faith. He had gone back to America for his sister's wedding and planned his return trip to make it on time for the Yeshiva's annual Eilat trip. This is one trip that no one wants to miss! The boys spend two exciting days with great activities, camaraderie and a chance to rejuvenate until the end of the zman. It is one of the highlights of the year and Aharon really hoped to be part of it. His El -Al flight was scheduled to leave New York at 6:00 pm on Thursday night, landing in Israel at 11am on Friday morning. This would give Aharon enough time to get a taxi to Yerushalayim and spend Shabbat in Yeshiva, (and make the bus to Eilat on Motzai Shabbat.)
Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. Sitting on the tarmac, the passengers were informed that there was some technical malfunction and departure was delayed for half an hour. Things dragged on and again and again, they were told that the flight was being postponed just a little longer. At a certain point, Aharon realized that the situation was delicate because the plane would be landing very close to Shabbat. After spending enough time in Lev Aharon and soaking in the beauty and sanctity of the Shabbat experience, and remembering the Halachot that specifically discuss not traveling on Erev Shabbat, Aharon did the unthinkable. With tremendous courage, he approached the flight attendants and expressed his concerns. They pushed him off. "We will make it with plenty of time" they promised. But time kept creeping by and Aharon was not convinced. He'd heard the recent horror stories of El Al planes landing after Shabbat had already started, and desperately wanted to keep Shabat in the most honorable way. Once again, he approached the stewardess and asked to be let off the plane. They refused. He turned to some of the more religious looking passengers and asked for help. "I can’t do this on my own. You guys know how important this is….please, back me up.”
His heartfelt words made a deep impression. A large group of over twenty-five people joined him in his request to be let off the plane. El-Al agreed and while their luggage headed to Ben Gurion, they were let off and spent Shabbat in New York. Aharon missed his flight and missed the Eilat trip. But he gained the zchut of a lifetime to stand up for the sanctity of Shabbat!