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Living Higher: Issue 960

“It was in the merit of your dedication to upholding your spirituality"

Rabbi Y.M. Friedman of Boro Park is the founder and editor-in-chief of Doeihu, a daily email program that aims to give participants clear and concise halachic direction in regards to the halachos of yichud and kirvah in the workplace, and guidance in navigating the minefield of contemporary office culture. Doeihu has evolved into a global movement, and the emails are sent out in three languages, hitting inboxes wherever Jewish workers can be found.

Last week, Rabbi Friedman received an email from a woman in Israel who subscribed to the program. The woman wrote that two years earlier, her daughter broke her foot as she was disembarking from a bus. The injury she sustained forced her to take a leave of absence from her job and cost the family significant medical expenses.

Suspecting that negligence on the part of the bus driver had caused the accident, the family contacted an injury lawyer to file a claim. The lawyer set up an initial consultation, and at the appointed time, the mother and daughter showed up at his office on the top floor of a high-rise building in central Jerusalem. In her email, the mother shared what had happened there:

We found the door to the lawyer’s office and knocked. We were buzzed in, and he ushered us into an inner room, where his office was. But looking back, we saw that the door had automatically closed behind us, with no way to open it from the outside. We told the lawyer that we were not comfortable remaining alone with him in the office unless he left the door open.

He refused. He said that there were folders with clients’ files in the outer room, and he could not leave the door wide open to the hallway while we were sitting with him in the inner room. I told him I would sit on a chair in the outer room, next to the open door, so that I could keep watch over the files, while my daughter would go into the inner room (with the door between the outer and inner rooms left open) and present the necessary documents.

This is what we did during each of our three meetings with the lawyer. We left the door to the hallway open, and I sat in the outer room and guarded the files while my daughter met with the lawyer in the inner room.

Several weeks after filing the claim, the letter writer continued, she received a call from the lawyer. He told his client that he had reached a settlement with the bus company — for a sum that was three times the amount typically reached in similar cases.

The mother was grateful but surprised, and asked the lawyer why he thought her claim had fetched such high compensation.

He paused before answering. “It was in the merit of your dedication to upholding your spirituality,” he finally responded.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 960)

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