Rav Ron Yitz­chok Eisen­man is the author of The Ele­phant in the Room. He will be blog­ging here all week for Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ing.

Hava Nag­i­la (Hebrew: הבה נגילה) (lit. Let us rejoice) is a Hebrew folk song that has become a sta­ple of band per­form­ers at Jew­ish wed­dings and Bar/​Bat Mitz­vahs. The melody was tak­en from a Ukrain­ian folk song from Bukov­ina. The com­mon­ly used text was prob­a­bly com­posed by Abra­ham Zevi (Zvi) Idel­sohn in 1918 to cel­e­brate the British vic­to­ry in Pales­tine dur­ing World War I as well as the Bal­four Del­ca­ra­tion. (From Wikipedia)

Yes­ter­day was some day- I almost can­not remem­ber the clock mov­ing; it began ear­ly in the day at Shul and end­ed late at night. It was a day of con­stant motion and if I would fill you in on the details of the day… well, suf­fice to say we could sell such sto­ries to Ripley’s Believe it or Not’!

At about 5 pm, I find myself at my next chal­lenge of an already hec­tic day: attempt­ing to find park­ing on the island of Man­hat­tan. Final­ly, I spot a garage and quick­ly turn my vehi­cle into the lot with about 10 min­utes to spare for my 5:13 pm appoint­ment in mid-town New York.

As I open my door and begin to exit, the dark-skinned atten­dant and his side quick greet me with a smile. They could be African-Amer­i­can, Lati­no, Indi­an, Bangladeshi, Arab or per­haps Sephardic Jews (how­ev­er, that last choice is very unlike­ly).

As I am step total­ly out of the car and place my hat on my head, sud­den­ly my park­ing pals burst out in a spon­ta­neous ren­di­tion of Hava Nageela.

At first I am total­ly shocked by this unex­pect­ed occur­rence of being bageled’ — by these per­fect park­ing strangers. After all, here I am in the mid­dle of Man­hat­tan as these two men of unknown lin­eage are ser­e­nad­ing me to the tune of Hava Nageela.

As I am in a rush (which seems more and more to be the norm of my life and not the excep­tion) – I am some­what turned off by this unneed­ed and both­er­some waste of time.

How­ev­er, as I looked at their smil­ing faces and their gen­uine attempt to con­nect with me on my terms I real­ized that this impromp­tu med­ley came from a good and pure place of the human expe­ri­ence; name­ly their want and their desire to con­nect to anoth­er human being in friendship.

With this epiphany in hand, not only was I no longer agi­tat­ed by this spon­ta­neous song, I was elated.

Indeed, this was exact­ly the G‑d send I need­ed to cheer me up on this stress rid­den and dif­fi­cult day.

In less time than you can say Uru aḥim! Uru aḥim b’lev sameaḥ” I joined their duet and we imme­di­ate­ly cre­at­ed the Nageela Trio’ in the mid­dle of a cold night in Manhattan.

On and on we went, Hava Nageela, Hava Nageela….” as the three of us sang the night away — well, that’s some­what of an exag­ger­a­tion as in truth our open­ing ren­di­tion last­ed about thir­ty sec­onds; how­ev­er, the joy and fun we had was real and mean­ing­ful- not to men­tion great fod­der for today’s blog.

Why ignore those moments which are so pre­cious and so mean­ing­ful when you con­nect with anoth­er per­son in joy and simcha?
Why ignore some­one when they reach out to you on your terms?
If noth­ing else at least acknowl­edge and smile back- it will change your day.

Rav Ron Yitz­chok Eisen­man’s The Ele­phant in the Room is now available.