Is one mechuyav to say thank you to a city bus driver?
It’s a good question. And the answer is if you look like a Jew, yes. If you’re a Jew who looks like an Irish man, then no, but if you look like a Jew then it’s a mitzvah of kiddush Hashem. It’s a mitzvah. Let’s say he stops the bus just for you and lets you on, make sure to say, “Thank you.” I’m not saying it’s a chiyuv but it’s a mitzvah of venikdashti besoch Bnei Yisrael; you showed that the Am Yisroel is a beautiful nation.
Like it says in the possuk: Banim atem laHashem Elokechem, you are the children of Hashem, lo sisgodedu, don’t make cuts on your body. And Rashi says tzrichim atem lehiyos na’im, you have to look nice. “You’re My children,” says Hakodosh Boruch Hu, “and I want My children to look nice because it’s a reflection of Myself.” And so you have to behave nicely too. And if you say thank you to a bus driver then Hakodosh Boruch Hu is going to give you reward for a mitzvah. We have to behave properly in all cases, in all instances, because we are carrying the tzelem Elokim. We are the representatives of Hashem in this world.
That’s why I always say, if you’re sitting on the subway and a man walks in with smoked glasses – he wants the people to think he’s blind – he’s carrying a tin cup and he’s looking through the glasses to see who’s going to give a donation. This “blind” man is looking to see who is going to drop money in this cup. Nobody is moving. It happened to me. As he passes by, nobody budges; nobody moves. So I put my hand in my pocket and felt if I had a penny. I didn’t want to take out a nickel. I took out a penny and I threw it in with the loudest possible noise – clink! – and I leaned back virtuously knowing that everybody was thinking, “Ah, what a nice fellow that rabbi is.” It was worth a penny; kavod shamayim. And so we should always be on the lookout to earn some honor, some kavod, for Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
TAPE # 393