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