Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Adar 5762 - February 13, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family
A Kiss From Hashem
by KSR

Sometimes things don't work out the way we had planned or wished. Maybe even several times a day something happens differently than what we had intended. We miss the bus. There's traffic. We wanted to go shopping but the store was closed. So what do we do? Do we rant? No. Of course not. Do we feel upset or disappointed? Perhaps. But then we shake ourselves back to reality and with a heavy sigh, mutter, "This is also for the good." But what exactly is that `good'?

That `good' is hashgocha protis, Divine Providence personalized.

Over Chanuka, I heard an explanation of the emphasis put on the miracle of the menora in the name of R' Chaim Shmulevitz zt'l. Really, the greater miracle of Chanuka was the Jews' victory over the Greeks, the many delivered into the hands of the few, etc. So why is the miracle of the oil lasting eight days so emphasized when halachically, at that point the Jewish nation could have `managed' without it?

The time of Chanuka was one of the darkest periods in Jewish history, when the Jews felt distant from Hashem. HaGaon R' Shmulevitz explains that the miracle of the oil was like a kiss from Heaven, reassuring us that yes, Hashem is still with us and cherishes our mitzvos. Not only does He intervene in our lives in monumental ways but even in the little everyday things. Hashem is concerned with our every move and worry. Just as a mother gives her child a kiss to assure him that she loves him and is with him, the miracle of the oil showed us that Hashem loves us and is with us. It was like a special bonus, a personal regards...

Recently, I felt my own kiss from Hashem.

For weeks, I had been planning to take a trip to Tel Aviv from Kiryat Sefer to acquire a passport for my baby, who would soon accompany me on a trip to the States. While I had always gone to Jerusalem in the past for my children's passports, with the security situation as it was, I preferred to stay away from East Jerusalem. The only option was Tel Aviv, which would entail a bus ride to Bnei Brak and a cab from there to the Embassy. But plan as I might, for various reasons my trip kept getting postponed. Finally, one motzaei Shabbos, three weeks before the pending trip, I sat down with my calendar to plan my week and decided that Thursday would be the day. I organized my week around it and did as much of my Shabbos shopping and cooking as I could. Wednesday evening came around, the night before the planned outing, and suddenly, my two-year- old, Chaim, developed a low fever.

When my husband came home, I shared the news with him. My disappointment and frustration must have shown on my face because he reassured me that Hashem knows about my plans but obviously has other ones. I sighed and resigned myself to accept this willingly.

The next morning I woke up to the sound of Chaim's pitter patter. His forehead felt cool but getting the other kids off to school kept me too busy to take his temperature. Beds, sandwiches, good-byes and I finally had a chance to sit him down and take it. His cheerful mood and bubbling energy seemed to indicate good health, and a glance at my thermometer confirmed that he was in the clear. Checking my watch, I saw that it was too late for the long journey to the Embassy, but not too late to take my toddler to gan. So I dressed him and the baby and off we went.

Passing by a building on my way, I saw my friend Shani bump- bumping her baby carriage down the stairs. She asked if I had seen the local van service pull up, explaining that she was headed for the Embassy.

"Which one?" I gasped.

"American, in Tel Aviv."

"Oh, wow! Can I join you?" I pleaded.

"Sure." It turned out that several women had organized this trip for the same purpose and there was room in the van. The next problem was to get my toddler off to gan. Her ride pulled up just then and I didn't want to hold up the whole group. Thinking fast, I realized that my husband would still be home. Normally he takes an earlier bus to his Kollel but that morning he `happened' to miss it. He still had a few more minutes before the next bus to Jerusalem. Leaving my baby and Chaim with Shani, I ran upstairs to get my documents together and ask my husband to take Chaim to gan. I also realized that my husband had to write a letter giving our baby permission to get an American passport. If he hadn't been home, I couldn't have gotten it.

I grabbed everything and ran downstairs. We pulled away and I took a deep breath. On the way to Tel Aviv, my friends and I marveled how much hashgocha protis had accompanied this maneuver. Shani had been going down the stairs exactly when I passed by and had mentioned where she was going. Then my husband had missed his first bus. The icing on the cake was that my child had had a fever the night before, which had made me change my plans of traveling on my own and leaving much earlier. How frustrated I would have felt seeing my friends hop off the van...

But the story doesn't end there.

After a relaxing and chatty ride, we walked up to the Embassy. In order to enter, you have to present a passport. So I opened my pocketbook to take out my American passport and to my dismay, I pulled out my Israeli one. I thought I must have brought both, so I anxiously searched thoroughly, certain that I would soon find the right one. After a couple of minutes it became evident that in the morning rush I had taken the wrong passport.

"Shani, what am I going to do? How can I get my baby's passport without my own? Here I thought that things were clicking so well, but it seems I've just wasted my whole morning."

"Don't worry," she reassured me. "We'll work it out."

They let me in on my Israeli passport and we headed for the passport department. I filled out the forms and awaited my turn. I approached the window and mustered up some cheerful confidence. "I have EVERYTHING except for my American passport."

The clerk said, "I'll see what we can do."

She took my documents and looked through them. She asked if I had anything from another child. With a smile, I presented my eldest son's Consular Report of Birth Abroad. With less of a smile, she asked me where it had been issued. Jerusalem. No go. All smiles faded.

Then she asked where my passport had been issued. Thinking fast, I blurted out, "HERE! In Tel Aviv!"

She looked me up in the computer and found my records. That was it. She could issue Baby's passport.

So why, you may ask, was my passport issued in Tel Aviv? Didn't I say that we always got our passports in Jerusalem? Well, nine years before, newly engaged, I was standing in Lod Airport on my way back to the States to plan my wedding. I presented my ticket and passport and stood shocked when the woman had pointed out that my passport had expired the day before! No amount of begging would convince her, or anyone else, to let me on that plane. I had no choice but to wait until the next day, renew my passport and fly then. I had slept over at a friend's cousin in Bnei Brak and tried to figure out why this had happened. Such a silly oversight. The next day I went to the Tel Aviv Embassy, got a new passport and proceeded to the airport.

At that time, my chosson, family and I all wondered why it had happened. Why couldn't I have traveled the previous day? What we couldn't know was that nine years later, I would thoughtlessly take the wrong passport and would need to have my records in that Tel Aviv Embassy so that I could get a passport for my baby. We didn't know... but Hashem did.

Why couldn't Hashem have arranged this some other way? Why bail me out from my own mistake?

It's simple. There was a lesson waiting for me to be learned: Hashem is with me at all times, even when I make careless mistakes. He cares about us not only when it comes to big problems: affording an apartment, helping us find our mate, finding us a job. Hashem is concerned with our everyday details. Nothing is insignificant...

A kiss from Hashem.


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