Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Kislev 5764 - November 26, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Rifca Goldberg

Have you ever stood by the window and waited to see the night sky light up with lightning, to say the blessing while actually seeing the flash itself?

You wait, knowing that if you miss that split second -- you'll miss it. Period.

Your eyes dart about, from sky to wet street below, back up to the sky, back once more to the street with its shimmering reflections of pale yellow street lamps, of cars driving along smoothly.

The sky flashes and flickers with light. Your eyes dart up but you've missed the actual lightning. You know that you can say the blessing even from seeing the sky lit up but you want so much, just this once, to say it on seeing the actual lightning.

"I'm going to watch just the sky," you tell yourself. "I'm NOT going to get distracted."

You force yourself to look into the black, black nothingness of starless sky, not letting your eyes or thoughts roam.

Even then, you know that if you're not looking at the exact spot, you'll once again see a moment of pale blue sky filled with clouds alight, the clouds that you couldn't see in the darkness, and then the blackness of the night once more.

But your eyes look down without thinking, wondering as a car speeds below. Headlights reflect long in the wetness of the street, the car turns a corner, the headlights stretch longer, the car goes around the curve. You now see the spray of water from the rear tires as well as the red tail lights reflecting in streaks below the car. They remind you of a rocket's exhaust.

A flash.

But as quickly as you look up, you've lost it. The thunder rattles noisily.

"Why can't the magnificence of the lightning stay in the sky for more than a split second? Why can't I see it, really see the power and the majesty it reflects?"

More frustrated than before, but more resolved as well, you are determined that THIS time you WILL pay attention.

Seconds turn into minutes. Perhaps the storm has passed. Perhaps the lightning has finished. "Did I miss out on saying the brochoh altogether?" you worry.

You begin to turn, to leave your spot, yet someting prevents you as you keep your head statue-like, eyes focused only on darkness. You wait. The coldness and rain from the open window dampens the front of your sweater. [You'd hoped that by keeping it open, you could capture that light much better.] You can hear the swishing sounds of the cars below, but this time, you don't look. You wait.

An instant. That's all it is. An instant of multi-colored, branched blinding spidery armed lightning, so bright that the blackness surrounding it flees. So bright that the blackness comes back even blacker.

You say the brochoh, slowly, amazement in each word.

Only an instant. An instant of awe.

[Editor's Note: It is best in practice to make the brochoh right away upon seeing the first flash, and then to try to witness the lighting stroke itself. One can then recite an appropriate posuk rather than saying the brochoh.]


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