The intervention of Hashem, in our lives, is regular, but most often hidden. Sometimes the masking comes from The Boss, sometimes from us. Per the former, we can’t, for instance, predict the nature of: precipitation, parnassah, or the chuppah. Per the latter, we take for granted, our ability to breath, to walk, to laugh, and the like. In brief, there is an abundance of good in our lives, a plethora of instances of heavenly involvement, of HaKadosh Baruch Hu intervening, and there is a corresponding lack of our appreciation of such.
I recall, for example, a bus trip, which I took, between a regional airport and a major university, decades ago. As the vehicle methodically transversed a portion of the United States’ Midwest, I saw dark patches of maize plus lighter clumps of soy salute. Those fields ended only where they pushed up against industrial parks’ strong fences. As a city girl from another zone, I had rarely sighted so many acres of commodities and had even less frequently witnessed agriculture and big business peacefully coexisting. However, just because those experiences were foreign to me did not preclude their veracity.
The big moments of life, like the smaller ones, are akin to those fields and to those outcroppings of businesses. Just because we can’t even fathom the possibility of something occurring does not rule out its reality. I never thought I’d have more than two children, become a religious Jew, or dwell in Israel. Baruch Hashem (and b’ayin tova) on all of those counts.
Not all of heaven’s intercessions, at least not immediately, and at least not superficially, seem beneficial. When it’s time to raise boundaries or to raze habits, most of us struggle. Although I would love to directly, and otherwise cost-effectively, reconstruct certain aspects of myself, like many folks, I tend to falter. Adding increasingly difficult exercises to my recovery work, after ripping my meniscus, giving up certain carbohydrates, after a receiving a dire set of blood sugar scores, and tweaking my bedtime, to reflect more hours spent sleeping, all have been difficult changes for me to make.
In balance, intermittently, as I try to reach those goals, The Boss throws encouragements my way. My physical therapy routine hurts, but my ambulation is improving. I miss bread and potatoes, but I appreciate my increased rate of wound healing. I’m still a kid, still feel I’m missing something when I go to sleep “on time,” but I feel spunky in the morning when I’ve had enough rest. I necessarily have to “walk the walk” even if I can’t expect The great Authority to grant my wishes; The Almighty, after all, is no bellhop.
Rather, it’s up to our internal PR Departments to spin our understandings until we grasp that our challenges are growth opportunities. Personally, even when I work hard, I usually get imperfect results. My solution, ideally, would be to praise more and kvetch less. Cognitively, I get the picture that my Tatty in Shamayim wants the best for me and that G-d will always be there spotting me while I struggle with my issues.
Concurrently, nonetheless, I feel stymied, stumped, and elsewise exasperated on a regular basis. I have to repeat over and again to myself that my perceptions can be illusions, that my efforts count for something and that Hashem wants me to be okay. Heavenly intervention requires a recipient. It’s tough to place miracles if there are to vessels in which to store them.
The above notwithstanding, despite the fact that I know I am supposed to carry my personally assigned burdens, most often I’m unhappy during the early stages of tests. I rationalize, I minimalize, and I deny my experiences i.e. I hang out with the yetza hara.
I need all Jews to be nice to each other at all times, so I act as though no Jewish businessperson would take advantage of me. I want to slide into the glory of living in the Holy Land, instead of having to earn my place here, daily, so I make little of living costs, of language barriers, and of creepy crawlies. I don’t want my kids to be confounded in social situations, so I pretend the worse isn’t occurring. These strategies don’t work.
No matter the circumstances, I need to guard my mouth from spewing disagreeable words. No matter my perception of events, I need to trust that The Boss takes care of me. My participation in the miracles of my life is my leaving aside my personal trash and making space for good, often “invisible” gifts. I can’t directly alter the tilt of those around me, even if my self-made modifications positively impact them. I can’t will Hashem to do what I think I need or want. I ought not to try to act that way.
Consider that no culinary institute graduate will every make sauce from green apples as well as did my Eastern European, maternal grandmother. No grammarian will write speculative fiction as well as does an award winning colleague of mine. No upper middle class matron will appreciate the struggles of my neighbor, the one running her family’s makolet. And, yet, chefs still train, authors still publish, and adults still pursue sales careers. Involving one’s self in one’s life remains essential; we know which of our thoughts, words or deeds is significantly weighty and we must tread the middle of the road, per se, no matter the apparent accomplishments of any other person.
It is insufficient, albeit necessary, to love and fear of Hashem. Similarly, it is insufficient, albeit necessary to engage in acts of loving kindness and in other means of serving the Klal. It is rudimentary, though, to push one’s self to partner in marvels great and small by dint of ongoing work on one’s middot. It’s impossible to fully figure out miracles. We can’t see what’s hidden. We can’t see what we refuse to view. We can know, however, that our histadlut is more than essential to experiencing the large amount of goodness that The Aibishter has in store for us.