Rabbi Alexandri said: Two donkey drivers who hated each other were walking on a road when
the donkey of one lay down under its burden. His companion saw it, and at first he passed on.
But then he reflected: Is it not written in the Torah, "If you see your enemy's donkey lying down
under its burden…?" So he returned, lent a hand, and helped his enemy in loading and unloading.
He began talking to his enemy: "Release a bit here, pull up over there, unload over here." Thus
peace came about between them, so that the driver of the overloaded donkey said, "Did I not
suppose that he hated me? But look how compassionate he has been." By and by, the two
entered an inn, ate and drank together, and became fast friends. [What caused them to make
peace and to become fast friends? Because one of them kept what is written in the Torah].
I was driving along a somewhat deserted country road when I saw old Harry working on his car.
He obviously had a flat tire. He had a jack in his hands and was trying to insert it into the side of
the car without success…Now I never did like old Harry. Couldn't stand him in fact. Always
avoided him like the plague. Hadn't spoken to him for years. He had been very nasty to me
sometime ago. I decided to drive past pretending I hadn't noticed. After all, he had gotten himself
into this mess. It was nothing to do with me.
Then I remembered. We had just learned it last week, "If you see your enemy's donkey lying
down under its burden, and would refrain from raising it, you must nevertheless raise it with
him." This was it. I couldn't just drive past. "I don't have to speak to him," I told myself. "I'll
just change his tire and drive off."
I parked my car a little way up the road and walked back. Without saying anything I took the jack
from his hands and started adjusting it to fit into the leverage point. I couldn't keep it up,
however. Changing a tire goes better as a cooperative enterprise. I soon had to speak to him to et
things moving. Eventually we did the job together, more or less. Anyway, I worked and he
When it was finished, he was extremely grateful. He got out a cold drink and two plastic cups
from his picnic case and we drank together. His gratitude seemed to me very sincere. "Perhaps
he's not such a bad guy after all," I thought to myself.
"I don't know how to thank you," he said again.
"That's quite all right, Harry," I said, "Any time."
I walked back to my car. Before I got in I turned around. "All the best," I called out. "Be well."
"Extraordinary thing, this Torah," I thought to myself. "It tells you to help your enemy, and then
it turns out you haven't got an enemy. Extraordinary!"