There are many things in our lives for which we pray to Hashem. These include health, shalom bayit, nachat from our children, and parnassah. In Israel, we have been praying for rain for a while. Israel has been suffering from a dearth of rainfall for a number of years. The waterline in the Kinneret is visibly dropping, and the government has been scrambling for ways to conserve our dwindling water supply.
A young man and 12 of his friends went to Kever Rachel to daven for his very sick mother. She had leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. The mother's family was tested to see if someone was a match. One relative's marrow matched with 9 out of 10 factors. This was good, but the optimum was 10 out of 10 factors.
Something beautiful happened last summer while I was visiting my daughter and her family in Toronto. I was shopping at Sears and did not realize that I had accidentally dropped my wallet on the floor. I only realized what had happened after returning home. It was upsetting when upon returning to the store to inquire, no one had turned it in. But I then had to return home to Montreal.
This is a story about my father-in-law. On the 12th of Tevet, the yahrzeit of his father, Yaakov Eliezer ben Yosef Dov, took place. Rav Yaakov passed away 44 years ago. That night, my wife hosted a yahrzeit seudah (meal) in our home. My father-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Lazarus, told stories about his father, accompanied by divrei Torah.
We were very excited about attending our dear nephew's aufruf (ceremony in shul the Shabbos preceding a wedding). We didn't know where we were being put up, but somehow the address sounded familiar. When we got to the house, I recognized it immediately. It was the Brooklyn office of the Hebron community in Israel. The bar mitzvah of my son, of blessed memory, had been Parshas Chayei Sarah, the Torah portion that describes how Abraham buried his wife Sarah in Hebron. His bar mitzvah theme had been "Hebron."
It is unsettling to be locked out of your home. My nine-year-old daughter recently locked us out of our home twice in one evening. Not having been raised in Jewish observance, I did not know about Hashgacha Pratis (Divine Providence) - the personal involvement that God had in my life. In this discovery, I found the very key to my life.
My brother lives in Haifa. Despite his advanced age of 96, his mind is still sharp and his memory is keen. In a recent letter, he related the following episode. I was not aware of this incident since I was married and living in France when it happened.
Tefillah is a powerful tool. When we see Hashem's hand at work, we are overwhelmed. One of my neighbors recently experienced Hashem's answer to her tefillah firsthand. She had brought her car in for repairs to the local auto shop. Rather than wait for it to be repaired, she decided to walk a mile to the nearest pizza shop for lunch. As she walked down a busy street, she passed a shopping center. Suddenly, she literally didn't know what hit her.
Our forefather Yaakov is considered to have been the patriarch who endured the most suffering. Although our rabbis look to the binding of Yitzchak and the trial of Avraham as the epitome of suffering in the form of self-sacrifice, Yaakov is our greatest teacher in the difficult subject of dealing with life's hardships.
Mordechai, a house painter in Jerusalem ("Mordechai's" name and profession have been changed to protect his identity), was self-employed for over 20 years. For the most part, business had been good. Lately, however, he was finding it difficult to make an adequate living.
I had to catch the 6:13 a.m. train from Petach Tikva to Modiin. Otherwise, I would be late for the bar mitzvah. I showed up at the train station at 5:45. It was locked. I asked the guard when they would be opening. He said, "Soon."
It was a chilly Shabbos morning in 1984 when my friend, a pearl importer, and I were walking up the long steep road to the hilltop synagogue in Kobe, Japan. When we finally reached the flat street on top of the hill, I was out of breath. There was a feeling of joy and accomplishment when the shul came into view. Only 50 more feet to go!
The phone rang. It was a call I'd been dreading. "Well, are you going to pick it up?" asked my wife after the third ring. Bobbie, my dad's wife, was calling as we had agreed she would in the event of a life-threatening emergency. My father was dying of stage-four colon cancer. "Well, are you going to pick it up?" asked my wife after the third ring. Bobbie, my dad's wife, was calling as we had agreed she would in the event of a life-threatening emergency. My father was dying of stage-four colon cancer.
Over the years, it has been a family tradition to visit the graves of my forebears at least once a year, usually just before the High Holy Days. My son and daughter usually accompany me, and we visit the graves of their mother and grandparents.
We sat down for the Shabbat meal at our friends' home in Yerushalayim. The table was beautifully set, but it was the centerpiece - a simple vase bursting with flowers - that caught my eye.
This story is testimony to what happened to some Jewish children during and after the Holocaust. It should be told for one purpose: to remember what the Christian convents did to our children, namely how they kidnapped them and converted them to Christianity.
Truth be told, Hadassah dreaded answering the doorbell. She knew that it was probably a charity collector, and her financial situation was precarious. She had just received a letter from Countrywide Mortgage. If the mortgage on her home in Morristown were not paid by August 12, the house would be placed in foreclosure.
My daughter was sitting at work one day when she heard the loud boom of a car accident right outside her office. She, together with many of her coworkers, ran out to see what had happened. Lo and behold, my daughter's parked car was hit from behind, causing it to hit the parked vehicle in front of her. Suddenly, she was inadvertently involved in a three-car accident. The police eventually came, took down the report, and her car was scheduled to be towed for repairs.
When I was considering making aliyah, I was aware of how challenging the move might be, especially since much of my family stayed behind in the U.S. But the deep longing to be in Israel was too strong. It was like a giant magnet pulling on my soul, until I finally let go and came home.
The man walked slowly into the beit midrash. He glanced around and found an empty seat next to my son, Rafi. So began a very special relationship.
This past Lag B'Omer, I received a precious gift. It is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The people who gave me the gift were unaware of their action, but I will be forever grateful to them.
Three years ago, I fell down a flight of stairs while holding my 16-month-old granddaughter. While she, Baruch Hashem, did not have a scratch, I unfortunately became totally paralyzed. After three weeks of physical therapy in the hospital and six months of outpatient therapy, I was able to recover about 75 percent of my mobility. I had some residual damage, but I learned to live a normal life - driving, working and doing whatever was necessary. I never complained because I was thankful that Hashem had saved my granddaughter and me.
Friday was a hectic day. The night before, I had been rushed to the emergency room after feeling unwell. I was released early in the morning, and was given a copy of my EKG. I brought the EKG results to my cardiologist first thing in the morning.
I had no way of seeing it coming - a "quick" traffic light and I was caught in the middle of a sea of cars. The second I started to run I was horrified to see the car closest to me race in my direction. I felt doomed. The few seconds it took me to run past the car were filled with the terrible thought, "This is it. That car is going to hit me."
The tickets were purchased and the car service was confirmed for the following morning. Our valises were packed and stood sentry at the front door. We tried to catch a few hours of sleep before our early morning departure.