22 Sivan 5779 / Tuesday, June 25, 2019 | Torah Reading: Korach
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Almost Blind    

Almost Blind

Before I could realize what was happening, boiling hot wax had covered my entire face; the pain was unbearable. With each second, the wax was deep frying my skin…


One of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced happened when I was 19 years old.


It was late afternoon and I had just come home from college. I decided that my legs had reached their hair threshold and were long overdue for a wax.


Wax?? Who waxes their legs when there are these little things called “razors” that make hair removal so much easier and painless??


“Razors are the devil, Bobby Boucher!” my mother yelled at me when I dared ask her to let me shave. “You’re going to wax instead. Your hair will grow back thicker if you shave.”


Ha! Like that was even possible. But I was just 12 years old, and all of my friends had smooth legs while I walked around like a sasquatch with a unibrow. And a mullet. G-d help me.


Since I didn’t yet know how to argue back, I allowed myself to be tortured once a month as my mother yanked those cursed hairs out of my little chicken legs while I tried not to cry.


You know the worst part? My hair grew back so fast, I still had to suffer the embarrassment of having hairy legs until it all grew in evenly enough to be waxed again. So what was the point??


On life went, and each month I continued the torture treatment, while noticing that my hair was not getting any thinner. Much later I realized that body hair is genetic. My mom was just not hairy, and I was.


Amazingly, I continued to was through my teens, which didn’t make much sense because I could have asked my mom to buy razors for me. But maybe I did, and she refused. I mean, it is possible. Razors are expensive! But what’s a little pain when you can save some cash?


Now that I’ve given you sufficient rage-filled background info, I can continue with my story.


Before I lay down to nap, I had put a metal can of wax to heat up on the stove. The can comes sealed shut with a metal top, and you’re supposed to heat it up in a water bath so you don’t burn the can or the wax.


After I put the can on the stove, I stupidly lay down and fell asleep.


G-d knows how much time had passed. I woke up with a start, remembering that I had left the can on the stove.


I walked over to the stove and looked directly down at the can. I saw that the water had boiled away and the can was making a simmering sound. I started to move the pot off the stove when…




The can exploded.


In. My. Face.


Before I could realize what was happening, boiling hot wax had covered my entire face, my hair, my neck, and my chest.


The pain was unbearable. With each second, the wax was deep frying my skin.


I couldn’t see anything, and I didn’t know if it was because I was blind or because my eyelids were covered in wax.


I blindly ran around the kitchen with my arms out in front of me, screaming for my brother to call 911 and trying to find the sink to wash the wax off.


Not long after, my father came home and helped me get the wax off my face. I was in absolute agony from the pain, and my father drove me to the hospital. In rush hour traffic, of course.


Why didn’t he call 911? Israelis, that’s why.


The pain of a burn is like no other pain in the world. It doesn’t ease up. The fire doesn’t stop. Every second is pure torture.


Eventually, the hospital finally gave me painkillers after they forced my father to sign their 1,000 forms.


Now I’d like to tell you about the miracles that happened to me.


First, I wasn’t blinded by the wax. Incredibly, my eyes closed before my brain could consciously process that I was in danger. Super huge incredible unbelievable miracle.


Second, the burns did not deform my skin. I have a few spots where the skin is darker, but overall, I have to say that this was an honest-to-goodness miracle.


The third miracle happened to me many years later.


Of course, being that I was 19 at the time and living with no spiritual awareness, I didn’t bother to question why it happened to me. I was a victim of circumstance.


Only recently did I finally understand why it happened. At least, why I think it happened. But my instincts are telling me that I’m right, so I’ll stick with that. And I consider this a miracle because I was finally able to make teshuva for the actions that I believe led to this consequence.


Notice I didn’t say “punishment.”


So what’s the point?


A few things: first, there’s always a reason for the tough things we go through. The most painful part of our challenges is that we don’t always know why we’re going through them. But that’s why emuna is absolutely critical.


Second, we need to be grateful for EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING!!


Can you see? Can you walk? Can you hear? Can you hug your loved ones? Can you drive?  Can you taste? Can you breathe? Can you swallow? Can you digest your food? Can you go to the bathroom? Are you conscious and aware of your surroundings? Can you feel emotions? Do you have rational (and sometimes crazy) thoughts?


All of these things are miracles. Ongoing miracles. Miracles that Hashem creates every second of our lives, whether we think about them or not.


And we can’t take any of them for granted.


Not for a second.


If you ever question if Hashem loves you, just look at your body. Even if it all doesn’t work the way it should, you’re still alive. You’re still here. Your mind works. Your heart works.


That means you still have another day to live. Make the most of it! Hug your children tight. Tell your loved ones how much you care for them. Appreciate the fact that you’re not on life support.


G-d, there are so many miracles that we experience every second!


Now, over 20 years later, I finally realize how much of a miracle my eyesight is. How much of a miracle my face is. That I can see this beautiful world we live in. That I can enjoy Hashem’s blessings to the fullest.


I hope that all of us never go another day without saying “Thank You” to Hashem for all of the blessings we take for granted.


If you haven’t yet read The Garden of Gratitude, or even if you had, read it. Again. And again. And AGAIN!


Gratitude brings you to a place where every second is a miracle.


If that’s not life’s biggest blessing, I don’t know what is.



* * *

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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