12 Kislev 5781 / Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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The Lost Check    

The Lost Check

I was in a near panic attack. We had zero left in the bank, automatic withdrawals that could be going out at any minute, and a completely incompetent insurance company…


By now many of you may know that I have a special little soul correction with my car. I’ve never had more run-ins with walls, poles, drive-thru car washes, and nails than I’ve had in Israel. Even with my rear-view camera and careful (ahem,) driving I’ve still managed to bang up the car quite a bit.


How much of a bit is quite a bit, you ask?


Well. Let’s just put it this way. The car has to go through an outdated annual inspection. You know, like they used to do for emissions testing in the States. Ah, but over here it’s not enough to check if the car is sputtering out too much pollution through its exhaust pipe that’s just about skimming the concrete.


No, my friends! It’s also about seeing if your car can magically transform into a 4x4 Jeep with all-wheel drive and suspension so strong and flexible that the lowriders that bounce down the street get jealous. Oh, do you still have some tread left on your tires? Don’t worry, their anti-lock brake test will get rid of that in no time!

So this year my car didn’t pass “The Test” because my front fender had some slight aesthetic issues. You can read all about them in a previous article called The Car Test Test.


Ummm, so I just read the article I linked to and I saw that it was talking about some cracked rear tail light and a few “minor” dents in the front bumper. Let’s fast forward a few years and add in another cracked tail light and a cracked front bumper, hanging fog light, some mysterious burning smell, and I’m sure I could think of a few other things if I wasn’t so lazy.


Every year I had to deal with the car test was preceded by a few months of anxiety, mainly because I’m only one person and can’t keep up with everything. All that car stuff should have been dealt with by my DH, the King of Bet Shemesh, famous for his princess-soft hands and inability to drive the car to the mechanic, The One, The Only (thank G-d,) King David.


There. I said it. Men have men responsibilities and women have lady responsibilities. Take that, you PC crazies.


The super insensitive car test guy told me that I needed to change the bumper, get the fog light fixed, etc., etc. I was hurt and highly insulted by his complaints. Couldn’t he just appreciate my car for its unique charm? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is it not? Anyhow I stopped listening after a while because the list was so long.


When I did my husband’s job and went to the mechanic for a price quote, I nearly fainted when I found out the total would be around 23,000 shekel. For G-d’s sake, I could go on vacation with that kind of money!


Since I didn’t want to pay 23,000 shek because of someone else’s lack of tolerance and understanding, I was forced to make a claim with my insurance company. When they asked who I was making a claim against, I proudly told them it was the ugly little square pole’s fault. Was it my fault that he was so short that I couldn’t even see him sticking up from the ground?


Now the next part of the story takes six months, so I’ll save you a bit of highly dramatic reading. Just know that the mechanic made me give him a post-dated check which he absolutely assured me would not be cashed, because all insurance companies pay out before three months pass.


All insurance companies. Except mine.


I had been dealing with phone calls and zero answers for nearly three months, and then one morning I get a phone call from my bank. “你的支票已經反彈。 請立即進來。,” random bank lady said, then quickly hung up.


“WHAAA??” I started freaking out. What I heard was, “Your check has been deposited. Please try not to kill your husband for not having taken care of this.”


I was in the middle of bagging my groceries, but that didn’t stop me from calling David and yelling at him like crazy in the middle of the store. No one looked twice because yelling is a favorite Israeli pastime.


The rest of the day I was in a near panic attack. We had zero left in the bank, automatic withdrawals that could be going out at any minute, and a completely incompetent insurance company.


In typical Israeli fashion, when I called the insurance company to freak out on them, they had no idea why their check hadn’t been delivered to us yet. I mean, they had sent it out three weeks before! But around here, the postal service is notorious for losing mail. I’m serious. It’s so bad that many people prefer to drive around the country and personally deliver their wedding invitations.


Thank G-d for email, I say!


The next day David and I arrived at the bank, anxious to straighten this mess out. It turned out that I didn’t understand the Chinese-speaking bank teller who called me the day before. Gee, what a surprise!


After waiting an hour in the stuffy hot bank, the soulless bank teller finally stopped What’sApping her friends long enough to call our number. Without so much as a glance and a decent greeting, she said, “Your 23,000 shekel check has been denied because you don’t have enough money in the account.”




I stood up and started doing a victory dance in the middle of the bank while David cowered under his chair.


Not enough money?! Who would have thought that having no money in the bank would be such a blessing????


Why is this such a miracle? Since that check bounced, I was able to get the insurance company to deposit money directly into my account. Electronically, yo. Like, 21st century.


It saved me (I mean David) from having to move money from my American account, because moving money = losing money. It also put in more money than I would have moved at once, which gave me a nice little buffer for about a week or so.


So what’s the point of this ridiculous story?


Our reality is so completely, absolutely, totally tied into how we perceive things. It cannot be objective, because we’re the ones living our reality.


That day that I was freaking out because I heard something wrong - that was my reality because of my faulty perception.


It’s amazing how warped our perception can be, even though what we experience may seem totally legit to us. We have to keep in mind that in every situation there are always at least three points of view: ours, our enemy’s (ha ha,) and Hashem’s.


So, two lessons: First, always make sure there’s money in the bank. Second, stop thinking your point of view is the only reality. It’s not. Got it?


And just for fun, here’s a bonus lesson I learned: if David could speak Hebrew and communicate with others, none of this would ever have happened.





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Feel free to send Racheli your questions, particularly in the areas of marriage, dating, child-rearing and women's role; write her at racheli@breslev.co.il 

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