Latest update: November 15th, 2012
The following story is 100% true, without embellishment or hyperbole. I can say this because I know each of the parties involved.
As the expression goes, “Hashem fir zich der velt” – Hashem orchestrates all the events that occur in the world. Most of what Hashem does is hidden from us. However, on occasion something happens in such an open way, one would have to be totally oblivious to the world around him to not see the powerful display of Yad of Hashem.
HE was going through a challenging time. He was in his 30s, recently divorced, had limited access to his children and was dealing with parnassah issues. In addition, his grandfather who had been his mentor, advocate, guardian angel and best friend, had passed away. He was existing, but not living; surviving, but not thriving. As days turned to weeks and weeks to months, he settled into a depression, simply going through the motions.
It was a beautiful July 4th day; the sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky. Perfectly perfect – until a freakish misstep propelled his entire body to the left, with the exception of his right foot, which buckled to the right. As he struggled to get up, his body crumbled to the ground, powerless to withstand his own weight. His initial reaction to his torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) was “Why me? Do I not have enough on my plate? Do I need this too”? Shortly thereafter he realized that it is not our place to question, but rather to accept that all He does is for our good.
Two months pass. It was just before Labor Day and he was enjoying the company of his children. Although still walking with a minor limp, he experienced a spark of true life for the first time in recent memory. The next day, however, the sounds of glee were replaced by the deafening sounds of silence; the unadulterated joy, replaced by an emotional hangover, as his children returned to their mother. Never before had he experienced such a deafening sound as this sound of silence.
SHE was a woman in her 30s, also living a life devoid of true meaning. She had faced challenges from infancy, but embraced her obstacles, never lamenting them. She was a friend to many, yet in essence was alone. She was eager to help a friend in need, yet her personal needs and requests appeared to go unanswered. She danced at the weddings of so many, yet each time the music stopped she lay alone with her thoughts. As the years began to pass her by, she wondered if she would ever find true happiness. Was it Hashem’s plan for her to live a life fraught with unfulfilled dreams?
Many a night she cried herself to sleep; reluctantly accepting her fate, as it appeared to be the will of Hashem. She tried to hold on to the proverbial ledge, even as she felt herself slowly losing her grip on life.
HE and SHE serendipitously crossed paths on one of the Jewish dating sites. They conversed for an hour via the computer as they both wondered if this would be yet another dead-end. Skeptically, he dialed her number as the clock struck midnight. With an accelerated heartbeat she answered her phone. They were both unaware that it was Yad Hashem orchestrating the telephone conversation. I suspect, however, they were somewhat wiser when they finally ended the conversation – 7 hours later!
The conversation transformed two floundering yechidim into a potential zivug – two wandering individual lost souls connected in a most spiritual and emotional manner. They exchanged their personal life’s journeys as time seemingly froze in abeyance. Their somewhat parallel, yet totally different journeys, had them geographically thousands of miles apart, but on that night they were brought together, all human barriers and obstacles falling to the wayside. Ironically, although originally physically separated by over 6,000 miles, they now found themselves residing but a mile apart. Actually, it wasn’t ironic, it was Yad Hashem at work, but they didn’t totally grasp the magnitude of that – at least not just yet.
They consented to meet the following evening, to explore the possibilities of where this budding friendship may potentially lead. As he was still recovering from his torn ACL, and self-conscious of his mild but somewhat conspicuous limp, he reminded her that tomorrow when they would meet, she would most likely notice a mild limp, but assured her that it wasn’t a physical impediment, as he was still recovering from him knee injury.
He then added the following words that he strongly believes his grandfather in Heaven was in some way responsible for placing into his mouth. He said, “Not that I’d have a problem if a woman had a physical impediment with a leg, as I’m looking to marry a good woman, not a good foot.” He couldn’t possibly have comprehended the reason for the brief silence that followed. It was absolutely inconceivable that he could have known that the woman on the other end of the telephone had a prosthetic leg. However, Hashem knew.
She was in utter shock; her brief silence affording her an opportunity to digest the words uttered by a perfect stranger, someone who 24 hours earlier had not even been aware of her existence. It was at that moment, that she began contemplating if this was more than just happenstance; she began to suspect Yad Hashem at work.
That evening they met as intended, and they each felt the connection intensifying. However, she held her enthusiasm in check, speculating what his reaction might be when she revealed her “secret” to him. Several of his predecessors seemed unable to overcome this imperfection in her, and she suspected that he might not be any different. As the evening drew to a close, she decided it was the moment of reckoning; she simply had to see his reaction. She told him she had something she needed to discuss with him, and allowed him to see her imperfection, while still maintaining hilchos tznius. She shuddered, as he appeared to stare at the prosthetic leg, and she wondered what he was thinking. He looked her squarely in the eye, as a smile spread across his face. “I already told you what I have to say; I’m looking to marry a good woman, not a good foot.”
I was at their vort three weeks later and their wedding three months after. There was an unparalleled joy that night I had never experienced before – or after. Since that warm December night I’ve been a part of every one of their Simchas – and there have been quite a few. In the nine years since they married, they have been blessed by Hashem with four wonderful children. When you ask him who made their shidduch, he responds with absolute sincerity, “My Zaide in Shamayim.”
I wholeheartedly believe that Yad Hashem, usually working from behind the scenes in an inconspicuous manner, was front and center in orchestrating this modern day miracle; joining these two people, from opposite ends of the world, in marriage.
As I said at the beginning of this atypical account of Yad Hashem, I can attest with absolute certainty to the authenticity of every last detail of this story. Furthermore, I can attest with 100% conviction, that this is a special family – one where love and happiness permutes their lives.
You may be wondering how I can make this claim with unequivocal certainty. The answer is quite simple – I absolutely adore my wonderful wife of nine years and our four magnificent children!Shmuel Zundell
About the Author: Shmuel Zundell, a second generation contributor to the Jewish Press, was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He received a Masters in Business Administration from New York University. He currently resides in Chicago with his wife and children.
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