"I think we're in trouble," said Yechiel to Miriam, as they stood at the end of a very long line with their suitcases and their children. This was after the seemingly unending packing and sleepless nights were behind them.
"What trouble? What happened? Just don't tell me we're returning home for Pesach." She was on the verge of collapse, and couldn't wait to get to her seat on the plane, sit down, and finally close her eyes. The apartment they'd left behind looked like a storm had hit it, and it would be most unpleasant to return there, although she knew that at least it was chametz-free.
"I hope we can resolve this with a payment, and that they won't hold us up," he said nervously. It was so close to Pesach, and the flight was very crowded. If they didn't get on this flight…but to return home was out of the question…they hadn't prepared a thing; they had no family; the kids would be sooo disappointed…she couldn't even think about it!
"My Israeli passport has expired. The French one is okay; I checked it at home- but I forgot to check the Israeli one. If we get a tough clerk…we're in trouble."
"What would she do?"
"Make me renew my passport at the airport. A thousand shekels easy." They started saying Tehillim as the kids lost patience and started running around. "I simply don't have it- you know. There's nothing left in the account after all the expenses." She knew. They'd barely had enough money for the taxi to the airport.
"Give a hundred shekels to Kupat Ha'ir," she pleaded. He hesitated, but finally agreed.
But the yeshuah didn't come as they'd hoped. The stern-faced clerk refused to stamp the passport. "Your passport has expired. You can renew it here at the airport, or you can return to the Interior Ministry in your city of residence and renew it there. Like this you can't get on the plane." Miriam got her passport and those of the children stamped, and they stood off to the side. "It didn't work," said Yechiel sadly. "One thousand plus another hundred- Kupat Ha'ir didn't help this time." He took his passport and went to the appropriate stand, where passports were renewed speedily- and at an exorbitant cost. Would he call a friend and borrow the thousand shekels from his credit card? How would he manage? She inwardly cringed at the thought of all that money going down the drain…
"But we gave to Kupat Ha'ir!" she said to herself disappointedly. "Did we not give enough? What did we do wrong?" She was still mulling this over when Yechiel returned…glowing!
"You won't believe this," he said excitedly. "I got there; the clerk looked at the passport, then at me. Then she asked for my French passport, looked at me and again at the passport, and after all that she said, "I'm sorry, but the machine that prepares new passports is currently out of order. I'll approve it for you, and you can go on."
"They'll let me pass?" I asked in astonishment.
"With the approval, yes," she answered. "When you return, remember to renew your passport, so you won't have problems the next time you fly."
Miriam listened in amazement. "Kupat Ha'ir helped this time, or not?" she smiled.