The next position was presented via an unexpected phone call from abroad. The rav of an aesthetically beautiful but religiously desolate community had decided that my husband was the man they needed to inject more ruchniyus into their struggling kehillah. I disagreed. We went on a pilot trip to see the city for ourselves. My husband returned to Eretz Yisrael with that familiar sparkle that meant he was intrigued by the possibilities and tantalized by the challenge. I was neither.
We decided to consult with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l. After deliberating for a while, the great posek decided that if it constituted a “makom nidach” we should go and be matzliach. Its intermarriage rate of over 70 percent definitely qualified the city for the status of makom nidach. So off we went, despite my misgivings. My husband did, in fact, prove himself the man for the job, making tremendous inroads in raising the level of frumkeit during the two years we spent there. At that time, we asked a shailah to Rav Elya Svei, zt”l, because our oldest son was about to begin high school. Rav Elya paskened that our son was too young to be sent away from home and the local school was not appropriate for him; we were told to return to Eretz Yisrael.
By then, it was nearly summertime and we still had no plans in place for the coming year. Another phone call “min hashamayim” changed all that instantaneously. Months earlier, my husband had heard about an exciting fellowship program that was being offered in Eretz Yisrael, and had commented that it seemed interesting. Then he had promptly forgotten about it. But the organizers of the program and the universal Organizer on High apparently had not.
When we were unexpectedly facing a dilemma of what to do for the upcoming year, the answer miraculously landed in our laps. Incredibly, they were holding a fellowship slot for my husband and needed his response ASAP. We gratefully seized that opportunity and returned to the Promised Land – and to a year full of promise as well.
There were so many other miracles, both subtle and more obvious, that formed the basis of our daily existence – and continue to do so.
When our ancestors reached the outskirts of the Land of Canaan after 40 years spent wandering the desert, the manna that had been their daily sustenance suddenly ceased to fall. B’chasdei Hashem, ours is sustaining us still.
Editor’s Note: The d’var Torah in last week’s Lessons in Emunah column was by Rabbi Yechezkel Aishishkin, zt”l, who was the chief rabbi of Detroit.