22 Av 5780 / Wednesday, August 12, 2020 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
 
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HomeFoundations of JudaismShabbatEmuna: A Welcome Shabbat Guest
 
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Emuna: A Welcome Shabbat Guest    

Emuna: A Welcome Shabbat Guest



Our emuna is tested to the max while traveling. As Shabbat quickly approached, she was suddenly in a guest room without one piece of furniture…

 



In matters major and trivial, our emuna (faith in Hashem) is tested every day. According to Rabbi Shalom Arush, at no time are we more aware of this than when were traveling.  

 

This past Elul (September), I was in southern California visiting my elderly father. Dad lives at an assisted living facility in Orange County, a mere 15 minute drive away from my sister and brother-in-law’s home. I lived at their house, commuted to Dad’s place every day with their spare car, and ate meals with my sister at a nearby kosher Jewish retirement facility. Fortunately, they also offered Shabbat accommodations to visitors who keep Shabbat. 

 

My sister made Shabbat reservations for me online. Everything was set. I left her house mid-afternoon on Friday, overnight case in hand. My plan was to pay a pre-Shabbat visit to Dad then drive to the Jewish facility. Very do-able. Or so I thought.   

 

I pulled into the Jewish retirement centers parking lot as planned, at 4:00pm. Having arranged to meet my sister and brother-in-law for early Shabbat candle lighting, evening Kiddush, and dinner at 5:30pm, I strolled nonchalantly to the main desk.   

 

Little did I know what was awaiting me.  

 

My room was number 140. However, the desk clerk, a pleasant young woman, did not have the room key. Not to worry, she said, picking up the phone and calling the administrative manager in the adjacent room. Shell make a key on the spot. After only a short wait, the manager came out to the front desk and handed me the key, a magnetic card.  

 

I thanked her, grabbed my overnight bag, and headed down the corridor. Being genetically pro-active, my sister and I had scouted out the location of my room the day before; it was a three-to-five minute walk from the main desk, depending on the length of ones strides.   

 

There was plenty of time. I walked slowly, arriving at Room 140 a leisurely five minutes later. I inserted the magnetic key in the slot, opened the door, and Whoop!   

 

Not one stick of furniture.   

 

The room looked like a new apartment for rent. Lines from a vacuum cleaner crisscrossed the carpet. A slight smell of lemon-scented disinfectant came from the direction of the bathroom.  

 

I looked at my wristwatch. 4:15pm. There was no time to lose.  

 

Overnight bag in tow, I half-walked, half-ran back to the front desk. Possible solutions bombarded me: All I needed was a mattress. And a chair. Perhaps their equipment guy could bring them to me?  

 

Once back at the main desk, the clerk told me to wait while she would try to rustle up the administrative manager.  I waited. Meanwhile, the Grandfather clock that was my Yetzer Hara (evil inclination) at that moment ticked the seconds off loudly in my head. Channa! Shabbat is approaching!    

 

The manager appeared. Im so sorry. I dont know why the rooms not ready, she said. I told the equipment manager about your upcoming stay. Afterwards, someone asked me if Id thought to protest in severe tones. Honestly, my thoughts were so far away from apportioning blame; all I wanted was to find an appropriate solution to the problem.  

 

I dont know what happened, continued the manager, as she tried to reach the equipment manager on her cell phone. This is terrible! Im so sorry.  

 

Having handled a time-intensive emuna challenge on my last visit in poor fashion, this time I was determined to redeem myself.  

 

I prayed. I said, I trust you, Hashem. I know the equipment manager is not the cause of this challenge. I know it comes from Your hand. I also know You wouldnt have put me in this spot an hour before Shabbat without having a solution already in place. Please give me the free gift of revealing the solution to the manager and to me.  

 

While I was praying this last bit, the managers phone rang. She answered it. A surprised yet happy expression appeared on her face. Then she ran off and, in an embarrassed shrug said, He prepared Room 104 instead of Room 140. Ill make you a key right away.  

 

Five minutes later, I was in Room 104, setting up my things for Shabbat while whistling a happy tune. I don’t know what made me happier: The immediate solution to the guest room problem or passing the emuna test.

 

Both equally I suppose.  

 





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