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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Singing in the Rain

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In an April Lessons in Emunah column, I wrote an article called “Learning to Dance in the Rain” about two friends who were very ill. One was in a hospice. The doctors had given up hope and the family waited with a heavy heart. But there was still One Doctor left. And He began to heal her. Slowly, the disease began to reverse itself, slowly it began to withdraw.

I had reached the point where I couldn’t bear to visit her anymore, but then people started telling me that she was communicating. I went back to see for myself and there she was, happy to see me, knowing who I was, asking me questions with her eyes. Over the last few weeks, baruch Hashem, she’s gone from strength to strength and they’ve moved her to a rehabilitation ward.

In the meantime, she holds court in her chair greeting her many visitors from all over the world and communicating with them in three languages using a letter board until she gets her tubes removed and can use her voice again. Hashgacha pratit put her bed next to the window where she can look out at the trees. She laughs, she smiles, she reads, she asks questions, and she and her husband exchange loving and grateful looks. Yeshu’at Hashem keheref ayin. Bezrat Hashem, soon, she will once again be able to dance in the rain.

My other friend? I see her almost every week when 30 women gather to say Tehillim for her recovery. She joins us smiling, happy, grateful. And tonight, I have just returned from one of the most inspiring hours I have ever spent in my life. You see, this friend has a very talented, musically-trained family. Her children usually perform at family events. Sort of like the Von Trapps, with Neshama. So they organized a musical evening, a benefit to raise money for two charities – a group that helps women with breast cancer and a local charity that distributes money to those in need – and in whose merit they hoped their mother would have a refuah shleima.

It was held in the auditorium of a nearby ulpana. Everyone in the family took part, including sons and daughters-in-law. My friend’s three-year-old grandson also sang a cute and heartfelt prayer like only three year olds can. I figure his rendition alone should give her another 10 years.

There was such an outpouring of love as 300 women came from all over the country, and all over the world (Israelis joined by olim from Canada, America, Switzerland, and South Africa), packed the hall. Many of them were decades-long friends and the mood was that of a jubilant simcha with people embracing.

There was such an outpouring of talent as four generations in intervals took the stage (my friend’s mother-in-law also accompanied), playing and singing in six-part harmony.

There was such an outpouring of tears as the inspirational songs and meaningful lyrics – and the reason they were being sung – penetrated every heart.

There was such an outpouring of money as 20,000 shekels were raised for charity (about $6,000). At the end of the evening, those who weren’t running over to congratulate the family were running to give more money.

Above all, though, there was such an outpouring of gratitude and appreciation. Whether they were singing in Hebrew or English, Tom Chapin or Carlebach, Broadway or Disney, there was a harmony present that went beyond music. The songs reflected hope, prayer, love, family, and a unity that epitomizes what ahavat Yisrael is about. When my friend’s husband sang her a love song in a choked bass voice and presented her with flowers, the hall erupted. Because they were also celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.

For the final ensemble piece, the family performed “One Day More” from Les Misérables, a song whose theme represents hope for the future and perseverance. If the love and energy and chesed of tonight are any indication, my friend can bank on 120 years easy. B’ezrat Hashem.

So, in light of recent events and the miracles I have been privileged to witness and still hope for, I just wanted to add this update to my previous article. You see, sometimes it’s okay not to dance in the rain. Sometimes, it’s better to sing.

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In an April Lessons in Emunah column, I wrote an article called “Learning to Dance in the Rain” about two friends who were very ill. One was in a hospice. The doctors had given up hope and the family waited with a heavy heart. But there was still One Doctor left. And He began to heal her. Slowly, the disease began to reverse itself, slowly it began to withdraw.

When I call my friend on her birthday and ask her how it feels to be her new age, she answers, “It’s better than the alternative.” Yes, we’ve all heard Vivian Greene’s words: “Life’s not about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

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