HaShem speaks to me through lettuce.
Really. I am not kidding.
Some people receive Divinely orchestrated messages through much more dramatic means. Not me. I am content to keep my eyes peeled (he he) for any sort of hidden meaning in the most mundane of places. Like the vegetable isle at the local supermarket.
So there I was, looking for that ready washed and prepared lettuce that comes nicely packaged in those plastic see-through containers. As my eyes scanned the isle, I saw packages upon packages of the regular, not yet washed kind. I sighed. It was towards the end of the week, and I really was too tired to soak, wash and check all the heads of lettuce I would need for Shabbos. That's when I suddenly spotted them. Nestled amongst the other produce on the shelves were two boxes of the ready-to-eat variety—exactly what I needed! I looked up at the drop ceiling, though my intention was really to look up to Shamayim, and I said, “Tatty, You really love me! You were saving these just for me! You know how tired I am this week, and look---you kept these two boxes waiting here! Amazing!”
I walked away with the biggest smile on my face, feeling like I had just received a Heavenly Hug. It felt like those moments we all remember from childhood, when our mother would hand us a cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter's day—just because she loved us. This was that same type of feeling.
The following week, the same scene repeated itself. Two boxes of lettuce, with my name Divinely inscribed, were waiting for me once again.
“Really, Tatty,” I said. “You know exactly what I need! Wow!”
On the flip side, He also knows when we don't need something we might think we really really need.
So there I was coming out of the supermarket (I know, I know—I really do spend a lot of time there), and proceeded to hail a taxi to take me, and my shopping home. In one of the bags were two bottles of 'Shabbos fruit soda' I bought, because they were on sale. Since Shabbos is really the only time of the week we let our kids drink anything but water, I was proud that I had seen fit to purchase two bottles so we could have a two week supply. As I hefted the bag to load it into the taxi, the plastic ripped, and one of the bottles rolled away right into oncoming traffic. It was instantly squashed by a passing truck, as I stood there watching this, mouth agape.
You see, I thought to myself (I try not to talk to myself in front of other people), -when HaShem doesn't want you to have something, you won't. It could be something as seemingly insignificant as a soda bottle, or it could be of greater import, such us a job, house, or potential marriage partner. Life's lessons abound—we just have to be receptive to listen to the messages. This too is a form of a heavenly hug.
Living life with an awareness of HaShem's existence, is opening our eyes to all the incredible good that He does for us. These heavenly hugs come in many forms. For me, a lot of them happen at the supermarket, because, well, outside of my house, that is the likeliest place that I could be found. I look back at all the times I didn't have change for a shopping cart (in Israel, you must insert a five shekel coin, which you get back once you return the cart). How many times didn't I have change, and there was a lone shopping cart waiting for me that someone had left behind, not necessitating those illusive five shekels? Or how many other instances do we encounter when HaShem makes His presence known in our lives, be it through the extra twenty shekels we find in our pocket, or the waived tax fee, or any of the other millions of possibilities when it makes us feel like He reached out and enveloped us in a warm, loving hug. These hugs from heaven are everywhere—but we have to make sure we don't miss them.
Some are of the opinion that HaShem no longer openly communicates with us, like He used to in times past. There is no longer splitting of seas, or burning bushes, or a voice emanating from the heavenly spheres. Those people are sadly missing out on incredible opportunities to feel close to our Creator. One has to be blind not to see all the urgent messages HaShem has been sending to the entire world. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes in New York—these too are heavenly hugs, beseeching us to repent and mend our ways. He is talking to us loud and clear. Unfortunately, a lot of people take these things to mean that there is no Creator, chas v' shalom, instead of the obvious conclusion. They live in a world of random happenstance, were they are at the mercy of nature, and nothing more. And that is incredibly sad.
We don't need such dramatic events to always know HaShem is there. Lettuce, or abandoned shopping carts can also serve the same purpose. So can a sudden bonus at work, just when the cash reserves were depleted—or a call from someone you love—just at the moment you were thinking of them. These heavenly hugs are HaShem's way of letting us know that He is there, watching us, caring for us, making sure that our needs are met. He is not some absent Omnipotent power Who does not care for the welfare of His children. On the contrary—He is constantly letting us know how much He does care. The question is—are we listening?
So the next time you see me talking to myself in the bread isle, or shuckling happily next to a gorgeous batch of green zucchini, please don't think I am strange. I am simply happy to receive an SMS straight from heaven—my very own personal and wonderful heavenly hug.