My story begins on May 30, 2018, on what was supposed to be a very ordinary evening. I’d been invited to a chasunah in Williamsburg. Oddly enough, I managed to find a parking spot right near the hall. But in a bizarre turn of events I tripped and fell, and in the process managed to break my humerus—the long bone in the upper arm—into two pieces (sort of like a two-for-the-price-of-one, I joked). For a good half hour after the incident I was semi-responsive, largely due to the shock of the fall.
Before continuing, I have to admit something I’m not proud of and would love to blame on my secular education and its elitism, but before this incident I never took Hatzalah very seriously. While I appreciated what they did, I was simply not ready to accept that some Yanky or Shloimie would be the first one I’d want to call in an emergency. But that night I saw the mettle of Hatzalah’s Yankys and Shloimies (not to mention Yoilies; this was, after all, Williamsburg), who were on the scene within seconds. These brave men stayed with me the entire night, escorting me to the hospital and refusing to leave until I was settled in. While I can laugh off my ignorance now, that in itself was a lesson to be learned.
As I’ve often written, one of the things that drew me to Satmar in the first place was the sheer amount of chesed in their community, the kindness they are ready to dispense at any moment and their boundless ahavas Yisrael. Up until then, however, I’d only seen it from a distance, aside from the occasional hospital visit I’d make with a group of bachurim if I had a free night. Well, that evening I unexpectedly switched places and became a patient, experiencing the impact the mitzvah of bikur cholim can truly make on someone.
While I was being tended to in the hospital in Brooklyn, my parents were woken up with a late-night phone call that no parent wants to hear. But they were comforted by the fact that I wasn’t alone and was surrounded by friends. Around two o’clock in the morning I was given a shot of morphine and my arm was put in a cast. The next step was to see the specialist the following day whose phone number they had given me.
Since I’d left my car in Williamsburg, one of the yungeleit drove back to the hall, found my car and then met my parents back at the hospital. At three o’clock in the morning he then made a second trip back to the hall to retrieve my hat, which had fallen off when I tripped and was forgotten amidst the commotion.