Two incidents happened to me within two or three weeks of each other and what caught my attention, aside from the incidents themselves was the fact that they both occurred on Thursday night while I was preparing for Shabbat.
The first event seemed worse than it actually was but it still gave me reason to ponder its significance. We have a window in the kitchen with a big metal frame and it usually rests against the wall when it is open. For whatever reason, that evening it happened to be only partially open and lined up directly with the cabinet below. I bent down to get some beans out of the cupboard and when I stood up quickly, my head smacked right into the sharp corner. Ouch! It did hurt but I didn’t think anything of it until I unexpectedly felt blood dripping down my face. I grabbed some napkins and tried to absorb the blood but it kept gushing out faster than I could change the napkins. My daughter was home with me at the time and we both overreacted at first, but to make a long story short, there was nothing really significant in the puncture wound I had on my head. The scalp can bleed a lot, but only if one damages a major artery in the body is it something to worry about. With a bit of pressure, the bleeding finally stopped, B”H (thank G-d).
Since I know everything happens for a reason and is personally directed by Hashem, I thanked Him for this episode and asked Him to help me understand what I was to learn from it. Despite my prayers, I drew a blank.
Two or three weeks later, I was preparing chicken for Shabbat. I set the huge knife I was using on the counter while I reached over to get something at the back. Inadvertently, I knocked the knife off the countertop causing it to fall straight down into my foot! I felt a jab of pain, so after my initial shock, I removed my shoe and pulled off my sock. Expecting a nasty mess, I began examining my foot for a major cut and lots of blood. I was stunned when I realized the knife had gone right through my Crocks and BETWEEN two of my toes! Aside from a slash in the top of the shoe, the total damage was a couple small nicks on one toe. When I realized what had just transpired, I thanked Hashem profusely for this much-appreciated open miracle.
Once again, I asked myself what the purpose of this experience could possibly be and posed the same question to Hashem. As before, no obvious answer was forthcoming.
I put both of these occurrences on the back burner of my mind for awhile but they kept flashing back. I tried to find a correlation, something which would clue me in to what I was supposed to take away from them or something that I was meant to share with others. I kept tossing it around in my brain.
Could it be connected to tzniut (modesty)? In the first instance, although I generally cover my hair at home, I had just taken a shower and left my hair loose to dry out. Had I been wearing my head covering, it may have prevented the sharp window from penetrating my scalp so deeply.
Had I not been wearing socks with the Crocks, perhaps the result would have been much worse when the knife pierced my shoe. Was keeping my whole foot covered my salvation in this case? Could be, but I’m not confident that was what I was intended to learn. I also don’t believe that would be so inspiring to others.
Still unable to come up with any specific message, I realized that I needed to step back and view it from a different perspective. I should have been looking through a plain window rather than using a magnifying glass. The answer was so simple but to coin an old expression, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
If the first injury was on the top of my head and the second close-call was on the toes of my feet, we can assume it has implications for my whole being, soul included.
We go through each day with so many miracles we rarely stop and appreciate them. The multitude of wondrous phenomenon which we take for granted become part of our normal routine. Hashem is with us constantly, guiding us, helping us walk, talk and breath. We may be thankful for our blessings but how often do we actually acknowledge His kindnesses? G-d is constantly at our side through good times and bad but do we only call out His name when the going gets rough?
It shouldn’t have to take a knock on the head or a nearly-shattered toe to see The Almighty’s Hand in all our labor, mundane or otherwise. He watches over us and sees to our every need. Whether it be doing dishes, taking out the garbage or giving birth to a new son or daughter, our Father in Heaven overseas everything down to the most minuscule detail.
What was also obvious to me and worth mentioning was the fact that both times I was getting ready for Shabbat. Had I not been in the process of observing the Laws Hashem set out for us, I dread to think of what could have happened. G-d performed a miracle for me and I will gladly attempt to reciprocate the favor. Hashem’s kindness knows no bounds yet we have no idea as to His reasoning. He will let us get hurt (banging my head) or protect us through Divine Mercy (saving my toes) whether we acknowledge Him or not. While it is quite ungrateful to expect free gifts, Hashem is forgiving and loving. He simply wants us to recognize Him and grow closer to Him. He creates incidents like these to help us attain that goal.
So this is the message I am sharing with you today. Rebbe Nachman, may his memory be for a blessing, said it more succinctly when he taught:
“G-d is the ultimate truth. The more we are attuned to G-d, the greater is our perception of the truth. The stronger our commitment to honesty and truth – about ourselves as well as the world around us – the greater is our ability to perceive G-d” (Likutey Moharan 1:9)
A valuable lesson for life!
(If you have experienced an awesome miracle, we would love to hear about it. Please send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org )