Claim: A Flight 175 passenger who insisted upon retrieving his forgotten tefillin delayed the doomed flight.
Status: Status: False.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2006]
David Miller* [*not his real name], a pious observant Jew was at Logan Airport getting ready to board United
Suddenly he remembered that he left his tefillin (ritual boxes with straps worn by Jewish men in prayer) in the terminal boarding area. He politely asked the stewardess if he could go back and retrieve his tefillin, which were sitting just a few feet from the gate.
She told him that once the doors of the plane closed, no one was allowed off the plane. Not about to take this sitting down, he asked if he could speak to the pilot to obtain special permission. Surely the pilot would understand. The pilot did not comply. He simply restated the policy.
David was not about to lose this precious mitzvah, or let the holy tefillin get lost like that, so, not knowing what else to do, he started screaming at the top of his lungs, “I am going to lose my tefillin.” The crew asked him to be quiet, but he refused to stop making a fuss — a rather loud fuss.
Finally, he was making such a ruckus and a tumult that the flight crew told him that they would let him off the plane, simply because he was a nuisance. In fact, even though it would only take about
No matter. David was not about to lose his tefillin, even if it caused him great inconvenience or cost his business a loss. He left the plane, never to reboard.
This flight was United #175. The second plane to reach the WTC. David’s devotion to a mitzvah saved his life.
The consequences of David’s actions do not end there. Originally the terrorists wanted both towers struck simultaneously to maximize the explosive carnage. Later it was learned that due to this whole tumult, the takeoff was delayed, causing a space of
Literally thousands, if not tens of thousands, of lives were spared because one Jew would not forsake his beloved tefillin.
Origins: This story first reached the snopes.com inbox in June 2006. While it would be somewhat heartening to believe one of those otherwise fated to die on
At 8:14 a.m. on 11 September 2001, United Airlines
None of the news accounts or official investigations we’ve examined of the events of that day mention anyone’s insisting to be let off
Moreover, even if a passenger on that plane had created a last-minute fuss, such an event doesn’t appear to be connectible to the flight’s delay in taking off. While
The account of a pious Jew who disembarked from
While the story appears to be more fable than truth, it perhaps more fairly should be regarded as an object lesson on the importance of maintaining one’s religious convictions even when it would be far more convenient to set them aside.
Barbara “soul survivor” Mikkelson
Last updated: 20 June 2006