The Disabled Parking Dilemma ­ Article ­ BINA

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The Disabled Parking Dilemma

by Rabbi Aron Moss

Question:
 
My grandmother no longer drives, so I use her car. It has a disabled parking permit, which allows me to park without paying anywhere I want. I feel a little guilty about it and thought maybe I should give it up. On the other hand, am I doing anything wrong just leaving it there?
 
Answer:
 
Thinking this one through, I can come up with several arguments in favour of keeping the permit, but only one argument in favour of giving it up.
 
Let's look at the arguments in favour of keeping the permit:
- You already pay taxes, so why pay for parking?
- You never claimed to be disabled. If the parking cops get the wrong idea, that's their problem.
- Parking costs are highway robbery. It's a way for councils to get rich.
- You often do errands for your grandmother with her car, so she is the one benefiting.
- People use disabled parking permits that don't belong to them all the time. The council knows this and allows for it in their budgeting.
- The car still belongs to your grandmother, who rightfully had the disabled permit. So why get rid of it? Do you need to purge the car of any trace of her? What if her music is still in the CD player, must you throw that away too?
 
But after all those arguments for keeping it, I can only think of one single argument in favour of giving it up:
- It is dishonest.
 
The human mind has an amazing talent. We take something that is clearly wrong, and come up with creative explanations as to why it is right. We call this talent justification. We all have a dishonest and cheeky side to ourselves, an inner voice that attempts to whitewash wrongdoing and justify immorality.
 
But we have another side to us that is honest and upright, our voice of integrity that wants to do what's right. After all the justifications, we know the truth.
 
There is a simple way to know which side of you is arguing which way. There are always many arguments to justify the wrong thing. There is usually only one argument to do the right thing. It's just right. So when you find yourself listing all the many reasons why some dubious venture is totally legit, you know where that is coming from.
 
And you know what you need to do. Give up the permit. And thank G-d that you don't need it.

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