We may not take much notice, but miracles are happening all around us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Every aspect of our lives is a miracle and everything that surrounds us, from our own heartbeat to the tiny ant carrying a cumbersome load on your walkway. Most of us take these occurrences in stride, as we are conditioned to think they are not extraordinary. Because they can be explained away by science or nature, many people do not even recognize that they are in fact miracles, while others may call them hidden miracles. But occasionally, a phenomenon happens which glaringly stands out in the face of reality and no one can deny that it is miraculous. One such incident took place a few months after we made Aliyah several years ago.
I guess you could say I am an idealist. If I believe in something strongly, I won’t wait around for logic or practicality to help me achieve my goals. In particular, with regards to making Aliyah, I knew that Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, was where we belonged so I felt we had no choice. The fact that we couldn’t afford pilot trips or vacations to plan our move sensibly did not deter me. I had never before set foot in the Holy Land, but my husband was a returning Israeli and I trusted in HaShem, so I wasn’t worried. In mid-August, three months pregnant, with 4 children in tow, my husband and I embarked on our one-way journey to Jerusalem.
After being in a temporary apartment for the first week, we rented a flat not far from my cousin and his family, which is where we lived when our daughter was born. In Israel, it is common for women with several children to spend a week after birth convalescing with their newborns in a post-natal hospital designed for this purpose, but I preferred not to leave my family for so long. Instead, we found out about a woman who prepared cooked meals and we arranged for these to be delivered once a day for a couple of weeks. This in itself was a blessing.
With thanks to HaShem, our precious little girl was born at the end of February, and that year, Purim was on March 6th
. We were still receiving these delicious home-cooked meals, but weren’t aware that we wouldn’t be provided with anything on Purim due to a mix-up in communication. By the time we realized we didn’t have any food for our Seuda, the festive meal, it was too late and all the stores were closed. Busy with a new infant, and still adjusting to the new country, we didn’t even have enough supplies to put together an impromptu meal. What were we going to do? I began to panic. My husband took the kids out to see what they could find.
So there I was, alone in the quiet room with my baby sleeping in the bedroom, when suddenly there was a loud knock, KNOCK, KNOCK! I opened the door and in barreled almost a dozen young men, Yeshiva boys, dancing and singing and bringing with them bags of groceries (Mishloach Manot). They put the food down and danced around me in a circle, round and round, singing “Mishe Mishe Mishe Mishenichnas Adar”. It was an amazing feeling, the likes of which I had never encountered, but I told them they must have made a mistake. This food wasn’t for us. They said “Yes, it’s for you”. I asked; who was the intended recipient of this gift? What was the family’s name? They had no answer but they insisted that it was for us. But how could they have possibly known? No one knew we needed food!
When my husband and children returned, they were astonished to see the miraculous provisions which suddenly appeared. They had no idea how it got there or who those ‘mitzvah men’ were. I called my cousin (who was unaware of our predicament) to ask if he knew anything about what had just transpired, but he responded in the negative. So there was only one explanation…… it was a true and open miracle! HaShem acknowledged our plight and provided a solution. It is said that Israel is the Land of Miracles and this was proof.
Each experience in life is either a test, or offers a lesson for us to discover or for others to learn from. In this instance, I would say all holds true. For those who are contemplating Aliya but are waiting for the right time, there is no time like the present. In the words of our Sage Rabbi Hillel, “If not now, when”? Once you have reached the decision, don’t allow anything to hold you back. Make the first move and HaShem will guide you and support you every step of the way.
Did I appreciate that which allowed us to fulfill the mitzvah of rejoicing in the Purim miracle? Definitely. Did I show my appropriate gratitude for the wonders G-d bestowed upon us? Perhaps. Did I remember what Our Merciful Father did for us and work to improve my service to Him? I think not. Instead I allowed the difficulties of life lead me astray and I became distant from HaShem. When our people were redeemed from Egypt, they too witnessed miracles yet they quickly forgot and sinned. It’s so easy to lose our way, but the Almighty, in His Loving Kindness and Infinite Compassion, is always right there pushing us to get back on track. It is up to us to fine tune our senses to recognize the subtle messages HaShem sends us since nothing is random.
By using our time wisely and devoting ourselves constantly to a life of holiness, HaShem will have no need to test us, and will increasingly shower us with Heavenly Gifts. Consequently, the miracles we merit to witness will become so numerous and recurrent that we will enter the realm of the sublime until the entire world is full of Miraculous Light. May we all strive to achieve this goal!