web analytics
October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Coincidences And Happenings


Lessons-logo

To this day, this true story makes the hairs on my neck stand up straight. It’s a story whereby too many “coincidences” just “happened.”

There are some Jewish rites that are practiced by few to benefit many. The many have little if any knowledge about these rites. Literature is scarce, and the topic is usually avoided.

For nontraditional Jews, following Jewish rituals and rites may seem antiquated, useless, or unnecessary. These Jews often forgo our traditions, feeling they do not apply to them.

But it is quite enlightening to learn that practicing tradition may truly affect another soul – observant or not – in a positive way.

A sacred tradition known as taharah (ritually preparing a body for burial) has almost always been done by the Chevra Kadisha, the Holy Burial Society. The society is often secretive.

Chevra members do this work for their love of tradition, Judaism and our fellow human beings, and a belief that we need to tend to the neshamah of the meit.

Miracles, luck, coincidences – everything happens for a reason.

And now my story:

A Chabad rabbi told me by phone that he had just received an odd phone call from a female stranger in Israel. The woman asked the rabbi for help, not for herself but for her best friend from New Jersey. This friend, whose husband was not Jewish, had just died after being very ill.

Both women cherished their Jewishness and traditions. The friend was beside herself with grief and fear, grief for the loss of her friend and fearful that the non-Jewish husband would not provide a Jewish funeral for her.

The caller implored the rabbi to get in touch with the husband of the deceased. Coincidentally, the husband was home and took the rabbi’s call. After their chat, the rabbi called me. Coincidentally, I was home. (I’m usually at work on that day of the week.)

As part of the rabbi’s promise to try to ensure a Jewish burial, and with the permission of the husband, the rabbi asked me for a metaher for the deceased woman. The rabbi was aware that I am a member of a chevra kadisha. It was quite the coincidence that enough female chevra members were home to answer the calls and available to perform this mitzvah on such short notice. We completed the taharah and went our separate ways.

Several weeks passed and, as we frequently do, my husband and I visited my 93-year-old aunt. Our usual routine is to get there in late morning, have brunch, schmooze for about an hour, and return home.

As we were finishing brunch two elderly ladies, walkers in hands, came to wish my aunt a happy birthday as – coincidentally – that day was her birthday. A few minutes later another elderly lady, this one in a wheelchair and with her aide, came to express her birthday wishes.

The small room was now crowded, so we left in order to allow my aunt to spend time with her friends.

Because we left earlier than usual, we were now one hour ahead of schedule. So when I noticed a kosher butcher shop a block from my aunt’s home, I was curious to see if it offered better prices or cuts than the place where I usually shop. I went inside to check it out.

Huge glass windows allowed me to see inside the shop from the street. I could see the woman standing behind the long counter, and she was preoccupied with a computer screen. The screen was tilted in a direction not visible to me as I stood at the entrance.

After not finding anything of interest in the shop, I headed back to the door where I was able to see the computer screen. Various trips, tours and flights were displayed on the screen. Coincidentally, just a few weeks earlier I had turned in my tickets for a trip to Israel because the airport had just instituted the new controversial TSA policies – rules I oppose. Seeing the ads regarding trips on the computer caused me to blurt out, “Oh, I just turned in my tickets for a trip.” When the woman asked me, “Where were you going to go?” I heard her accent and quickly asked her where she was from. After responding that she was from Israel, I said, “What a coincidence, that is where I was to have traveled.”

She looked very sad and I asked her how long she has been here, thinking she was homesick. She told me that a few weeks ago, while she was in Israel, her best friend died. Her friend, who had been quite sick, had confided to her that she wanted a traditional Jewish funeral but was not confident that her non-Jewish husband could or would make that happen. She shared with me that she has trouble sleeping at night, not knowing what actually happened to her friend. Her voice trembled as she told me that while she was in Israel and learned of her friend’s passing, she went so far as to call a New Jersey Chabad rabbi hoping he could help.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Coincidences And Happenings”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Abbas and the Temple Mount: "It's mine, all mine. No Jews allowed.
Abbas Declares Closure of Al Aqsa Mosque a ‘Declaration of War’
Latest Judaism Stories
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Why does Hebrew refer to mothers-in-law as “sunshine” when society often calls them the opposite?

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

Having herself been victimized by Pharoah, Sarah should have been more sensitive to Hagar.

The-Shmuz

Avram’s father was not impressed with the cleverness of his son. In fact, he was so unimpressed that he took him to Nimrod the king, who pronounced him an enemy of the state and attempted to execute him.

Lech Lecha Thumbnail

How do the stories in Lech Lecha help us understand the central tension of Abraham’s life, legacy?

Abraham did not govern society but instead was the representative of God’s kingdom on earth.

Hagar grossly miscalculated her own merits and demonstrated a serious lack of gratitude for Sarai.

Noach was the lonely man of faith living in a depraved world, full of wickedness.

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Shem realized that he owed his existence to his father who brought him into the world.

Law-Abiding Citizen
‘That Which Is Crooked Cannot Be Made Straight…’
(Yevamos 22a-b)

The flood was not sent to destroy, but to restore the positive potential of the world.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Why is there is no mention of dinosaurs, and other prehistoric animals, in the Torah?

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

Surprisingly, my husband and one son arrived home over half-an-hour earlier than usual. I excitedly shared my perfect-timing story, but my better half one upped me easily.

More Articles from Laurie Dinerstein Kurs
Lessons-logo

To this day, this true story makes the hairs on my neck stand up straight. It’s a story whereby too many “coincidences” just “happened.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/coincidences-and-happenings/2011/12/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: