Next time you’re on an Egged bus, you might notice two blue stickers saying “mepanei sheva takum” meaning “in the presence of an old person, shall you rise”.
Truthfully, I had never really noticed them until a friend pointed out that that is actually part of a pasuk (verse) from parasha Kedoshim (Vayikra 19:32). Only in Israel.
Now, trying to stand on a lurching egged bus is no simple task, even for the young. These multi-tasking bus drivers, (I’ve never seen anything like it, they’re making change, selling monthly tickets and phone cards, making all the stops, fighting their way through Israeli traffic, having a heated political argument with the guy in the front seat, changing the radio, looking out for terrorists, etc) God bless ’em, have yet to learn the art of a smooth acceleration.
Sometimes Israelis can be stubborn, and dare I say it, even a little rude, but this is one mitzvah everyone on a bus takes seriously. I was on the bus yesterday and at the Shuk it looked like half of the remaining pioneers were waiting to get on, pulling granny-carts and schlepping bags of veggies. As they boarded, everyone, one by one, enthusiastically got up to let these old folks get off the feet that probably walked them here from Russia. I even saw one old person stand for another who just looked to be having a harder time.
Being nice, sticking it to terrorism, and getting to fulfill this sweet little mitzvah, all on just one bus ride in the Land.