9 Tamuz 5781 / Saturday, June 19, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chukat
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The Shabbat-Table Trial    

The Shabbat-Table Trial

When we thank Hashem during our painful moments, He resolves them in miraculous ways. Who would believe that a Friday-night meal is Judgment time?


Friday nights have become a combination of relief and total exhaustion. But, really, weren't they always? Of course, I can't possibly count all those Friday nights spent watching TV, going to friends' houses, going to the movies, and going to clubs. In my mind, they don't count because I was under 21, and therefore not responsible for my soul correction yet. Please, don't use my argument in Court. I have a feeling it won't hold up.


Well, last Friday night was no exception. I nearly passed out at the table after eating too much Moroccan fish and loading up on 20 different salads. Or was it the wine that made me woozy? And here we go again- another brilliant formula by yours truly. Wine + too much good food = coma. Seriously brilliant.


When I was only half-comatose, I got up to reach for some more challah. Being half-comatose, I wasn't careful of reaching for it, and before I realized it, I was screaming like a mad woman as I felt my finger get sliced open in slow motion. It was horrible. Just writing it gives me the creepie crawlies.


Here's why: a few weeks ago, I had my challah plate leaning against the backsplash on my kitchen countertop. It fell flat, and the glass top cracked. I couldn't find anyone that replaces these glass tops, so I just thought I would deal with it until I bought a new one. That worked for a few weeks until the glass actually separated into two pieces. Nonetheless, I still used the challah plate. Eeediotttt. (Idiot, for all you non-Hebrew speakers out there.)


I paid the price for my eeediotttnesss. Is that a word? Let's get back to the Friday night scream fest. Before I fully realized what had happened, I held up my hand and watched in horror as blood steadily pumped out of the tip of my pinky finger. Don't throw up. I think I traumatized the kids. Actually, once I stopped screaming, they were all like, “Let me see! I want to see that flap of skin hanging wide open!” And I was like, “Get outta my face before I'z funna give you a smack-down!”


After I calmed down, I sat with a towel pressed against the cut, hoping it would stop bleeding. Suddenly, I became very gloomy. Obviously I had done something to warrant such judgment. I just didn't yet know what. So, I did the most unnatural and illogical thing- I thanked Hashem for this judgment. I thanked Him that it wasn't a bigger cut. I thanked Him for the pain. I thanked Him for the two pints of blood that I already lost. I thanked Him that it wasn't one of the kids who got cut.


Once I did all that, lo and behold, the answer came to me. You see, I had been extremely judgmental of a certain group of people, simply because I didn't (and still don't) understand their mentality and reasons for doing things. My ego convinced me that I know better, and they're making a terrible mistake.


So, Heaven answered me midda keneged midda (a turn for a turn) in the most perfect way. Because I judged others, I opened up my file and created judgment for myself. Not only that, I executed my own judgment against myself.


This experience taught me several things. One: all of the suffering we go through is initiated by our own thoughts and actions. There are no exceptions. Two: when we thank Hashem during our painful moments, He resolves them in miraculous ways.


Luckily for me, there is a clinic right on my street that is open on Shabbat. That's a miracle right there. I walked over with my three older boys, holding my finger and hoping that it would stop bleeding one of these days. They were super-excited and looking forward to watching me get stitches. What fun.


By the time we were seen by the secretary/nurse/janitor, my finger still hadn't stopped bleeding. The s/n/j who bandaged up my finger told me that he didn't think it would need stitches, but the doctor would arrive at 11pm, and he could take a look at it then. Great! Not only would I lose precious sleep, but I would have to walk back and forth again. The kids were thrilled; I might as well have taken them to an amusement park, with all of the excitement they had.


Well, by the time we returned and were seen by the doctor, it was nearly midnight. He decided I didn't need stitches after all. To be honest, I was half bummed and half convinced that he just didn't want to do it, because he was Israeli, and Israelis sometimes suffer from this mentality that something potentially serious is really nothing. I tried to persuade him to at least give me one stitch, but he insisted I didn't need it. “Well, can't you just give me a shot of lidocane?” I hoped he would agree. He shooed me out of the office.


The silver lining on the midnight cloud was that I didn't have to do dishes the entire Shabbat. For some reason, my husband thought that applied to him as well. So, in the end, no one did dishes that Shabbat. In hindsight, I guess that really wasn't a silver lining after all.


Amazingly, Hashem healed my cut without stitches, and in much less time than I had anticipated. So you see, Rebbe Nachman's advice to do personal prayer really does help in two major ways: you get the answers you're looking for, and you see miraculous salvations.


Not exactly sure how to do personal prayer? No sweat- read Rav Shalom Arush's In Forest Fields. You can thank me later. 



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