I know a successful commercial realtor who leased a Lexus before closing his first deal; he knew he was going to meet the potential buyer and he knew his first impression had to kill, maiming or merely wounding was not going to get him the deal. So he went out and leased himself the Lexus knowing that it would close the deal for him, and it did! It closed that deal as well as many others.
Clearly the car we drive communicates important things about us.
I know a 12th grade magid shiur in a yeshivish place who has used cars offered to him all the time, but he will only take the oldest, most beat up looking station wagon, or Buick Century, because ďsípossed nishtĒ for him to drive a nice car.
A big Lakewood askan, in a fit of insanity, once tried to start a campaign called ďAccords for AcurasĒ, where all the tinsel gevirim in Lakewood would trade in their Acuras for Honda Accords. For ďafter all,Ē he argued ďwhatís an Acura but a glorified Accord, and itís Yiddishe gelt mamish down the drain, money that our moisdes need very badlyĒ. This being Fakewood, the campaign didnít go anywhere.
So what does your car say about you?
Chevy Suburban – If you drive one of those houseboats youíre probably a chossid with 13 kids for whom sípossed nisht to drive a 15 passenger van because thatís not shtotty enough for your refined taste.
You probably also have more strobes and bar lights decked out than the chief of police of Ferguson, MO, but thatís fine, we donít judge you – we understand that you would have been a police officer and kept your lights down to a respectable minimum, if only the police weren’t such anti-Semites. But they are, so youíre in Hatzalah instead.
If you drive a Chevy Equinox, on the other hand, you probably have your lights hidden behind the grille because youíre an anav and youíre only in Chaveirim for the mitzvah.
15 Passenger Van – Speaking of those church vehicles; if you are a chossid driving one of those monstrosities you probably do it for a living, driving families up to the Catskills and back for the summer, and sometimes driving litvish bochurim home from yeshiva on the occasional off-Shabbos. But most likely youíre a litvak who wears his hat and jacket while driving and listens to Rí Avigdor Miller for insight into the apple seed.
You may also be a litvish woman who wears her snood over her eyes and is a danger to everyone within three blocks of her travel path.
Toyota Camry – If this is a brand new lease, youíre probably a fresh-faced yungerman who likes the driverís seat because it makes you feel manly, even though your shver is probably paying for it, and if your wife is paying for it then itís at least on the shverís name because you couldnít prove the income to get the lease on your own name.
You also take every opportunity to drive it because most of the week your wife commutes with it to her special-ed job in Edison while you lug the kids to their babysitters and do carpool in the minivan.
If this is a used model you got from Maven Motors then you probably didnít make the rich shidduch you were after, but had to settle for a girl who couldnít support you in style, the way hashem intended for you, but you bear it as well as you can – after all, the mishnah says poss bímelach tochal and this car feels like a slice of challah that was dipped into the salt too enthusiastically.
Minivan – †Of course there are so many different minivans and each one says a lot about you.
Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey – If this is a lease then youíre just a spendthrift or have an insatiable need to impress the Rosenbergs. If you bought this when it was only three years old and cost $14,000 then you probably took out a loan for it and you use that as an excuse on your kids scholarship application form.
Chevy Venture or Ford Freestar – Someone told you that after the GM bankruptcy their quality improved and thereís no reason to buy Japanese when you can get a perfectly reliable car for half the price. That person lied to you and now you spend every second seder at the mechanic.
Mercedes Benz – Youíre probably a rich Sefardi because no self-respecting Ashkenazi would pull up to their parentsí house for Shabbos in a Nazi car. Even if you do own a Bosch mixer thatís no reason to own a Mercedes; making challah is a mitzvah, but driving to work is not.
Mazda 323 Hatchback – You havenít yet found your basherte and you donít know why. You still have some issues to work through, which is fine, no one begrudges you that, take your time, youíll get there yet.
Same is true if you have any car with stick shift; driving a manual is so un-Jewish that if you do it and think you’re still frum you must have issues.
Cadillac Escalade – Youíre definitely a chassidishe rebbe and youíre reading this in your bathroom while people wait outside your door waiting to give you money with their kvittel.
Crown Vic – You love watching people move out of the left lane when you come up behind them on the highway because they think youíre a cop, but you hate the amount of gas your boat guzzles so youíre probably going to go with a Dodge Charger or Chevy Impala next time.
When I moved to Lakewood I had a 19 year-old car with no air conditioning and more miles than all of Avraham Avinuís camels combined. On my first day yeshiva I proudly pulled into the parking lot at the Simcha Room expecting to blend right in; to my chagrin I felt like I was in a high school playground with the bullies standing around admiring their newest cuff links and making fun of the shloomp who couldn’t afford to send his shirts to the cleaners.
While the realtor is working to impress his clients, us bínai toireh should be busy trying to impress Hashem, and Hashem is only impressed by old cars with bad struts, no shocks, a muffler tied to the frame by a gartel and windows that require a spotter to pull them up while you roll up the window.
As we listen to the shoifer blowing after shachris we should make a kabalah to trade in our Acuras for Accords.
Find out more about station wagons at 4torah.com