Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Adar 5766 - March 1, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Rarest of Gifts

by Sara Gutfreund

True stories about real people

She grasps the side of the rough, grey rock that juts out of the cliff towering above her. Glancing back at her hiking partner, she can see that her friend regrets following her down this trail.

But they are almost at the top now. When they scramble over the last steep patch of rocks, they see that the top of the mountain is deserted. Hills, the color of deep azure, stretch into a sea of greenery all around them. She is intoxicated with the accomplishment of having climbed so high. Her friend is not as enthralled. She shifts nervously on her feet, anxious about climbing down.

Suddenly, they hear a soft groan, and she spots a person lying about fifteen feet away from them. As they come closer, they see that an elderly man is bleeding profusely from his forehead. His white beard is streaked with blood.

"I fell and hit my head on a rock," he mumbles in a weak voice. For a moment they stand beside him, paralyzed with the panic of helplessness. Then she remembers the cell phone in her knapsack.

"You think it will work all the way up here?" she asks her friend.

"It's worth a try," she answers, as she looks up the emergency number on the hiking map pamphlet. Thousands of feet in the air, the cell phone works. The dispatcher tells them that he's sending a helicopter, and that they should try to control the bleeding. She finds an extra shirt in her knapsack, and her friend begins ripping it into make-shift bandages. They work together with trembling hands, wondering how this flimsy shirt is going to stop the stream of blood flowing from the man's head.

Just then a heavy-set woman lumbers up the side of the mountain and shading her eyes from the afternoon sun, she shouts above the wind.

"You guys okay over there?"

"This man is badly hurt," she cries back. The woman rushes over and grabs the shirt. She begins expertly tearing bandages and affixing them onto the man's head.

"I'm an emergency nurse," she explains as she checks his vital signs. And then they hear another voice behind them, deep and concerned.

"What happened?" A tall man in hiking gear is making his way toward them. After examining the injured man's head, he explains that he is a neurosurgeon. He helps the nurse stabilize the bleeding.

Soon the helicopter roars above them, and they crouch next to the rocks as it lands. As the emergency workers bring the injured man into the helicopter, the sun begins to set. All around them the hills are aflame with the majesty of Hashem. And she begins to count the ways that Hashem took care of that injured hiker. The cell phone. The extra shirt in her knapsack. The emergency nurse. The neurosurgeon. The rescue helicopter. All on a deserted mountain top. And then she begins to count the ways that Hashem takes care of her. And she finds that there are so many ways, day after day, that she can't begin to count them.

As she watches the helicopter disappear into the darkening sky, she bows her head in awe. Look how Hashem orchestrates our lives. How He sends messengers to heal our wounds. How He guides us up mountains and carries us down.

There, on that empty mountain top with her head cradled in her arms, she receives the rarest of gifts. Hashem makes her aware that He takes care of her. And since that day, there is a person hidden inside of her that is still kneeling in the rocks with her head in her arms, thanking Hashem for every minute of her day.


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