Founded in 1950 by Yemenite immigrants, Moshav Bar Giora later attracted a large Moroccan community. Known for its Sea Horse Winery, thriving farms, and scenic views, Bar Giora also attracts tourists to its mountain biking trails and campgrounds. Though largely secular, Belev Echas has been empowering successful change and growth among its community for seven years.
Driven to Pray
Avichai sat tensely, fingers drumming on the table. He was trying to pay attention to the Torah class Rabbi David Alkoby, the moshav’s Belev Echad representative, was teaching him and his friends. But he just felt too tense.
A week and one day. That was how much time remained until his driving test. He spent as much time as he was allowed practicing in the family car. But he wasn’t sure it would be enough. He wasn’t a natural driver like the rest of the family.
He leaned his forehead on his hand and massaged its worry lines. Oh, he just had to pass! His friends and brothers all drove like it was nothing. What was it his cousin liked to say? “Once you can drive, you’re a man.”
He simply couldn’t fail his test.
But what if he did?
Don’t think about it. Straightening up, he did his best to tune into Rabbi Y’s words. The power of prayer…the importance of prayer… stories about people whose prayers were answered…Well, maybe that was what he needed to pass his driving test. Some good strong prayer.
After class, he sat down next to Rabbi Alkoby. “Rabbi, can I ask you something?”
Avichai bit his lip. “How do I go about praying to pass my driving test next week? Am I allowed to pray for that kind of thing?
Rabbi Alkoby smiled. “That’s exactly what we talked about today. G-d wants us to talk to Him about everything, not just spirituality. He wants us to reach out about our worldly needs too, even the little ones. Pray all you want to pass your driving test. I’ll pray for you too.”
So Avichai started praying. He spoke to G-d his own words as he went about his day. “Please, G-d, let me pass this test. Let me earn my license. Let me do a good job.”
On the morning of the test, Avichai borrowed a Psalms from the beit knesset and recited a few chapters. But he quickly decided that wasn’t enough. Turning to a religious friend who was finishing morning prayers with the daily Shacharit minyan, he asked to borrow the boy’s tefillin.
Test time arrived. Avichai closed his eyes, sent up one more prayer – and did an excellent job. The thrilled owner of a brand new drivers’ license, Avichai couldn’t wait to show it off to his friends and brothers.
But first, he needed to show it to Someone else. As he walked home, he carefully recited the words to a short psalm his Belev Echad madrichim had taught him – Mizmor L’todah, the Song of Thanks.