10 Cheshvan 5782 / Saturday, October 16, 2021 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
 
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HomeSpirituality and FaithPersonal GrowthThe Vanishing Act
 
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The Vanishing Act    

The Vanishing Act



The husband got out of the car, and to the astonishment of his wife and daughter, he disappeared into thin air. He totally vanished, as bizarre as it sounds...

 



Ever felt as if you “fell into a hole” and don’t know how to get out? Well, this story may help you. It’s a story just about that, and it happened to my neighbors.
 
My neighbor drove her husband to the bus stop. She stopped the car by the side of the road to let him out. That moment, her daughter, who was in the backseat, called out “Abba’s gone”.
 
“What do you mean “Abba’s gone”? my neighbor asked. To her astonishment, she also confirmed for herself that Abba had indeed gone. “Where did he go? Where could he have gone? What is going on? Where and how did he disappear”? she wondered, bewildered. Because it was true. He had just disappeared, in a puff of wind – vanished into thin air. He had walked out of the car and instantly just “disappeared”. Yes – it sounds bizarre! And if you received it like I did, it is also extremely hilarious and “out of this world”…
 
So what had happened? He had stepped out of the car and immediately fallen into an open drain of about 1.5 meters in depth. Thank G-d, and miraculously, he was barely hurt (just a bit of a sore back for a few days but it really could have been a lot worse). He managed to get himself out, and still got on a bus into Jerusalem for the day.
 
But for a few days, he was baffled with the question of why that had happened to him. He tried to unpack it in his sessions of hitbodedut – so did his wife. And he really wanted to find the answer. It bothered him that he couldn’t connect to what it was all about. So his wife suggested they ask a Rav.
 
They called up their Rav and asked him what it could mean. He told them that not everything that happens to us has to have a loaded meaning. The Rav said that sometimes, on the simplest level, Hashem gives us a gentle tap/reminder of humility. He said that sometimes all that needs doing is to get up, brush off and keep going.
 
Wow! What a lesson for all of us! I was immediately inspired by that story and suddenly started relating everything that was going on around me in that mind-frame. We are not perfect, and we are certainly not in control of everything that happens to us. So, whether it was because of a mistake we made, or something seemingly bad that happened to us – we don’t need to feel like we have to stay in that spot, that we deserve to stay in there just because we got there in the first place. That is not what it’s about at all. That should not be our focus. The focus is always the next part. “Get back up and keep going”.
 
The day I heard this story, I shared it with my kids. I actually didn’t just tell it to them straight away. It was shared with each of them individually and was brought up out of relevance to some particular challenge they were facing. It was amazing how a message like that, illustrated with a true story (and of someone they know!) really reached a deep place in their soul and had an affect on strengthening their own abilities to cope with their very situation. I will illustrate with one of these interactions:
 
My daughter was running late for school. She was so upset about having to arrive late, that she didn’t want to go at all. Baruch Hashem, I was able to contain her frustration and still assert that she needed to go. On the way there, she was getting distressed again so I told her the story and said to her that all these not-so-pleasant things that happen to us, including the mistakes we make, can be seen like “falling into a hole””. And like my neighbor was told, the message doesn’t always have to be anything but the simple reminder that I just need to get back up again, brush myself off, and move on with the day - that things don’t go perfectly but that’s a normal part of life and the message is ALL about practicing and strengthening the ability to get back up again. The story and the message dried her tears and made her smile. She got out of the car, feeling a surge of new inner-strength, and walked into school.
 
So, my “take” on the incident that happened to my neighbor's husband, is that it was not only a wonderful message for him, but that it happened so such a story and its message could be shared in order help others! It is a metaphor for each and every one of us, for all our “slips” and “falls” in life. You simply “fell” – no strings attached. Not always is there a need for all the added baggage, of attaching so much weight to it. It was simply a “fall”. Our thoughts and direction should be ALL in the getting up, not in the falling down.
 
Get up, brush off, keep going!





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