Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Divine Providence Notebook

We are blessed every day with countless instances of hashgacha pratis, divine providence. Sometimes we see 'em, sometimes we don't, and sometimes we don't want to see.

But whether we are aware of these instances or not, or whether we want to see them or not, or whether we attribute these instances to "other" causative factors, the fact is ...

Hashem controls everything, every moment, every second. Everything that we encounter happens for a reason, and comes to teach us something, or to atone for something (kapara) we did wrong.

My family and I try to tune in on these instances of hashgacha pratis every day, and this notebook is an effort to force us to do more of it, and to share some of these examples of how Hashem guides us, teaches us, wakes us up, and loves us ... every moment of our lives.



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Feb 15, 2005 "Breakdown"
It was 11:10 pm, and we were leaving the office after a late night meeting in Jerusalem. I had 3 passengers from the office with me who worked in another division. As I rumbled out onto to S'dei Golda Meir on a chilly night, the old Toyota seemed to be moving smoothly, zipping down the hill toward Ramot. I turned right onto Yigal Yadin, past the Begin overpass, beginning the climb toward Ramat Shlomo and French Hill.
My friend in the passenger seat began to launch into a description of something that the company was doing wrong. He pointed out that they had adjusted the problem, but he kept harping on the "problem" with the company. I was feeling like I wanted him to stop complaining, as I had heard all this from him before. In fact, almost every interaction about the company, which he usually initiated, was negative.
It was then that the car suddenly lost power, sputtering, missing. I stepped on the gas, but the car was losing power, and it was happening just as we approached the merge from the Begin, at the base of the long, uphill climb to French Hill. Without thinking, I stopped my friend in mid-sentence. "Stop!" I turned to him and to the couple in the back seat and said just as quickly, "Say a tefillah, right now," as I pulled over into the right lane and slowed. I heard a prayer immediately being murmured from the backseat, merging with the one in my head, which was now moving almost inaudibly from my mouth.
Seconds later, I shifted to second gear, pressed on the gas, and moved forward. There was power! I was worried we would not make it up the steep hill ahead, but steadily, within moments, there was full, reliable power as we continued our tefillos. The scare was over. Hashem had heard, and He responded, on the spot.
The message was clear: Stop the negativity, don't talk badly about those who are providing your livelihood, your parnasah. Instead, find a way to be positive, to be grateful, and to thank Hashem.
April 13, 2005 "200 Shekels"
Our friends were here in Israel, having just called us out of the blue to go out to breakfast with them in Jerusalem. Great, Esther and I love going out for breakfast. Only one problem this time, we had no money. Esther had just finished davening (praying), including the usual prayer for parnasah (livelihood). After she heard about the breakfast plan, and realizing that we had no cash to pay for it, she decided that she would go upstairs and look under the mattress, hoping that 200 shekels would mysteriously appear. Although she had previously used up the cash that she had put there before, she was quite confident that Hashem would provide 200 shekels for some reason. So, she went upstairs, felt under the mattress, and pulled out a crispy new 200 shekel bill. The eggs tasted especially good that day!
The message was clear: Ask Hashem for anything you need, and he will give it to you! It may not be as straightforward as that everytime, because what we think we need and what Hashem knows we need are often not the same. But, if we have sufficient emunah and bitachon (faith and trust), we will see that Hashem in fact gives us everything we need.

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