Parshas Behar-Bechukosai
May 16, 2009 - 22 Iyar 5769


 Voices From the Ezras Nashim

Late on the evening of Saturday, November 22, 2008 Hollywood Police Officer Alex Del Rio was killed in a one car automobile accident. Last week the enhanced video of his dash cam was released. This enhanced version showed clearly that Officer Del Rio was in pursuit of a speeding vehicle. On the original video the images were somewhat blurred.

I knew and respected Officer Del Rio who was a regular in the courtroom where I serve as a Traffic Hearing Officer. This, however, is not an obituary nor is it a tribute to his life and the foundation created in his memory by his mother. This is a comment on the revealed and the unrevealed and on halacha.

The newly released video shows Officer Del Rio travelling at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour in a residential neighborhood. Moments before the video begins Officer Del Rio had ticketed a speeding driver. He was sitting in his squad car when another driver flew by him. He took off in pursuit. The blur in the original video turns out to be the speeding vehicle. In spite of the speed of over 100 miles per hour that Officer Del Rio was driving the vehicle he was pursuing was clearly adding to the distance between them. Then out of the left side of the video a taxi appears and makes a left hand turn in front of Officer Del Rio’s car. The officer’s car swerves to avoid the collision and slams into a tree in the median of the roadway. The officer’s car bursts into flames. Bystanders are unable to open the doors.

Halacha tells us that we must not take the life of another and that we may not put stumbling blocks into the path of the blind. Our Rabbis have interpreted this to mean that we must abide by the traffic laws where we live. Speed kills. It kills those who speed and those who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is important for us to recognize that HaShem wants us to respect life, our own and that of others. In regard to speed while driving there is no discrepancy between civil law and HaShem’s law. It is our responsibility to uphold both.

We view HaShem’s world from the perspective of our life experience and through the cloudiness of our own perceptions. We are rarely, if ever, permitted the larger vision of all the details. I wonder sometimes if we would react differently if we could see all or if we would still be bound by the limitations of our own bodies and souls. It soothes my soul to have confirmation that Officer Del Rio died protecting and serving his community, but it does not change the result of what happened.

The blurred image in the original video was the stimulus that prompted the chase and fatal car crash. It set in motion things we cannot see or know. Somewhere in this city there is a driver who knows that their action led to the death of another. There is the essence of someone who is so interested in their own concerns that they would endanger a community and cause the death of one of its finest without stopping, looking back or coming forward. These negatives cannot be of benefit to any of us especially the offender.

HaShem’s world is one in which there is much that is unrevealed. Our sages tell us the when Moshe Rabbeinu was permitted to see the end result of HaShem’s plans he understood that all was for the good. He also understood that that good was not for us to know. We are to proceed with our lives doing as we were commanded with faith and trust. Occasionally we have glimpses of the unrevealed and we sigh with understanding.

Elk’s Menu
Parshas Behar-Bechukosai
May 16, 2009—22 Iyar 5769

Whole Wheat Challah
Baked in the merit of a child for a childless couple. To participate in this mitzvah please call Yehudis Halberstam—718-972-4793 for this week’s names.
Honeydew and Cantaloupe Fruit Cup
Potato Leek Soup
Salmon en Croute with Sauteed Green and Yellow Peppers and Onions
Salmon with Duck Sauce
Red Wine and Maple Glazed Carrots
Mixed Brown Rices with Rye and Wheat Berries
Quinoa, Parley and Pepper Salad
Lettuce Salad with Fine Herbs and Homemade Dressing
Homegrown Banana Cake with Orange Frosting


Egg Salad
Tuna Salad
Baked Gefilte Fish
Matjes Herring
Cucumber Salad

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