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A debt of gratitude to the founder of Yedidim

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

Most of those who owe thanks to Meir Wiener do not know that he passed away on Shabbat or do not even know his name.

In 2006, he founded “Yedidim” (Buddies) as a WhatsApp group in order to assist anyone whose car broke down or was locked out of their car or home. Initially, Yedidim operated out of Meir’s cell phone, mainly in his city of Modi’in Ilit.

Today, Yedidim has expanded far beyond that initial WhatsApp group. Yisrael Almasi, Yedidim’s general manager, spoke to me yesterday night. “To our grief, 43-year-old Meir, founder of Yedidim, passed away on Shabbat after collapsing last week in his home. He was a humble man with many merits. Today we have more than 65 thousand Yedidim volunteers and last year we received 893,000 calls for help.”

In the Torah portion from last Shabbat, we read: “Moses grew up and went out to his brothers and saw their burdens.” Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe explained: A great man is someone who goes outside of himself to notice the distress of another. Moshe Rabbeinu was a great man because he went outside the palace of Pharaoh, outside his life of comfort, saw the suffering of another, and provided help.

So thank you, Meir, for this great achievement in the name of everyone who has ever been stuck by the side of the road — and Yedidim arrived to assist. We are grateful for the spirit of lovingkindness and volunteerism characterized your life. In these challenging days, the State of Israel has appeared at times as one giant project of Yedidim.


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