Just stop and think! Some of the things we see
happening around us seem to be truly detrimental. Even
though we know that everything comes from Hashem and
therefore, is intrinsically good, still we often feel
that in some situations, things like punishments, of
which we should never know, are certainly good for the
soul but nevertheless undesirable and even avoidable.
Over the past few years, for example, we see the
nation's water supply dwindling and our hopes and
prayers are focused on relief. We all know that we need
more rain. Do we wonder what else could be done to
alleviate the situation? We certainly don't think the
SOURCE of the problem can be dealt with by importing
water from Turkey. That's a second-best solution.
The Water We Save...
Consider the fact that the tourists have been diverted
just at a time when we could ill afford to let them all
come in and shower (I don't even dare say `bathe') to
their hearts' content. Just think of all the water
we're saving just because they're too afraid to travel
and have ceased bringing their various missions,
foreign concepts and treifa money with them.
We have been taught that the contributions which a
fundraiser collects for a yeshiva are utilized
corresponding to the caliber of the donor and the
purity of his intentions. Some donations are used to
buy texts, pay the Rosh Yeshiva's salary or provide
kosher food for the students, while other donations are
used to buy floor mops (sponjadors), pay the
dishwasher, fix the plumbing or other such necessary
So, too, we can imagine for what purpose the money
which the tourists spend is used in Israel. Perhaps
we're better off without it. Perhaps that's why so many
non-Jews were allowed to make aliya -- to rid us of
this ill gotten revenue! [How's that for perspective!]
Seed and Recede
Someone mentioned that the last time we had a winter
with abundant rainfall was exactly seven years ago. Not
surprising at all that Hashem should show us a bit of
mercy after observing Shemita.
As a bas Avrohom Ovinu, I am always interested in
the stories of his life. He was eager to offer
refreshments for free to whoever agreed to praise
Hashem after eating, but would claim an exorbitant fee
from those who declined to do so. Perhaps this should
hint to us that water, and indeed, all `groceries',
would be much cheaper if we could get all Jews in this
highly sensitive terrain to say proper blessings with
pure intent. For if we forget a blessing or omit
concentrating properly when reciting it, then perhaps
we are required to pay dearly!
Speculative Backyard Treasure
Let's get on a completely different track. We know that
the winds blow in the fall in order to shake the seeds
off plants and trees and wedge them into the cracks and
crevices of the earth so that when the rains come
they'll sprout upwards and send roots downwards. If the
earth had not dried up, creating those cracks, where
would the seeds take root?
Now, imagine that as a result of the drought, some deep
crevice were to open up and reveal a cave where the
vessels from the Beis Hamikdosh were hidden, or imagine
that they were sealed in a casket and dropped into the
Sea of Galilee for safe keeping. How far below the Red
Line might the sea need to recede in order to reveal
such a sunken treasure?
In All For the Boss, Ruchoma Shain writes about a
letter which her father received about 70-80 years ago.
In it, the writer claimed to have found these very
vessels and wanted to know what to do with them. He was
told to close up the hiding place and camouflage it.
The house I live in, the first one in the entire area,
was built around that time. I like to imagine that he
hid the treasure by building a U-shaped structure which
would frame the treasure and guard it nicely from
subsequent adventurers. My daughter and I have a
private fantasy that this cache is in our courtyard.
Every time an old tree falls in the woods behind the
house, or a flood loosens a few rocks from the
retaining wall, we jokingly suggest that the treasure
will imminently be revealed. Don't we all know that the
best treasures are often hidden in our own backyards?
A few years ago, late on Tisha B'Av afternoon, we heard
loud noises in our backyard. A man had begun digging
with loud machines and we were sure he'd stumble upon
the holy treasure. He was preparing a well for sealing
the leaky walls of an underground apartment. Among
other things, he discovered a buried stairwell which
originally led into the apartment from the courtyard.
How we hoped that on this auspicious date something
more significant would be unearthed. We laughed at
ourselves and agreed that he obviously didn't dig in
the right spot...
Isn't hope inventive?
On another note, the recent torrential rains created a
grand river near my daughter's house in the hills. She
has lived in her apartment for three years and only
this year was such a roaring stream created. It started
several hours after the rain had stopped and carried on
raging for hours before it petered out into a large
puddle. Perhaps the new streams of water gushed into
our enemies' stockpiles in the hills, moistening all of
their hordes of gunpowder, flushed out crops of
terrorists hiding in caves, or blocked the roads which
were to be used for an attack?
The Better to See
I've been taught that when Moshiach comes, we'll be
surprised to see the Redemption. It will sneak up on us
in the middle of our weeping, worrying and wailing.
Then we will truly wake up and see with new eyes the
GOOD which has always surrounded us. Then we'll
see that we were crying over spilt milk which was treif
anyway, or that we got on the wrong train, only to find
a long lost relative. Then we'll understand how all the
pieces of the puzzle fit together perfectly. We should
have known all along that only our great and omnipotent
Father in Heaven directs the steps of man.
One year I saw that my employer would soon be forced to
let me go for various reasons beyond her control. I was
understandably distraught and tried to make up for that
loss. I was quite worried and not a little bitter,
understanding the whole time that my lack of faith was
causing all of the distress. Now, two years later, I
must admit that this has brought me to realize my
talents in many other areas. Having questioned my role
in life and being forced to reassess priorities, I have
had some interesting experiences in the last few years.
May Hashem have mercy on all of us with faulty faith
and bring us speedily, joyously and painlessly to the
Final Redemption. Amen!