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December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Readers Respond’

Hashgachah Pratis: Readers Respond

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

In last week’s column I shared the remarkable story of hashgachah pratis that two terrific young yeshiva boys, Yedidya and Yaakov, experienced. Their story evoked an enthusiastic response. Many were motivated to reassess their own lives and discover their own hashgachah pratis.

To be sure, there is no end to this introspection. Who does not enjoy hashgachah pratis – guidance from the Almighty? It is written that a person does not even prick his finger without it being orchestrated from above. But it is one thing to recognize that concept intellectually and something else to internalize it and thank Hashem for His many kindnesses. All of us are constantly under this hashgachah pratis but sometimes, as in the case of Yedidya and Yaakov, it becomes so clear that even a blind man cannot fail to see it and a deaf man cannot fail to hear it.

I would like to share some of the letters generated by the hashgachah pratis story of Yaakov and Yedidya.

Letter 1

I just read the story of Yedidya and Yaakov. I began studying Torah six years ago, after a chain of events for which there is no explanation other than the hand of Hashem. My younger daughter was fourteen and away at summer camp in Maine. She got sick with what looked like mumps but it could not have been because she had had the vaccine. She was checked out and they could find no reason for her symptoms.

The camp was six hours from us but my husband and I decided to go up to see her even though she had recovered. We took her out of camp to spend the day with us. It got too late to take her back, so we decided to find a hotel for that night. The hotels were full and could not accommodate us but finally we found a quaint, charming place that had a room – but the place catered exclusively to “honeymoon couples.” We pleaded with the owner to let us have that room, and she finally agreed. I was washing up and chatting with my daughter who was standing behind me. Suddenly, she called out to me, “Mom, what is this mark here on your shoulder?”

“Where?” I asked.

She showed me. I turned to look and I was terrified. It looked just like a melanoma – a skin cancer that kills. Since she was fair-skinned, we had always instructed her to use sun block because of the risk of melanoma, so she was aware of the hazards inherent in such symptoms. We took her back to camp the next day, and on Monday morning I saw the dermatologist. She did a biopsy, and it was in fact a large melanoma.

I had a huge area of skin removed. Before my daughter had seen it, I had no idea it was there. It was just at the point of breaking through and getting into the bloodstream. The dermatologist told me my daughter had saved my life. It must have been a one in a billion chance that this occurred. I guess I could have written my own “dayenu” story. If my daughter had not fallen ill, we would never have gone to see her at that time and if we had not taken the room in the hotel she would not have seen this lesion, and if she had not had the knowledge instilled in her regarding sun-block and melanoma, she would never have recognized he danger signs…. The hashgachah pratis in all this left me breathless.

The surgeon told me he hoped it would not come back, but if it did, I would probably die. Baruch Hashem, they got it all out just in time. Why did this chain of events occur? There is no other explanation for this other than the intervention of Hashem.

The message from Hashem was clear. He granted me life so that I might accomplish something. I had written a book about women’s mental health that has been translated into ten languages and is still helping women even though it came out ten years ago. But I never would have lived to see my daughter grow up. I never would have lived to see her married and become a successful woman.

Ever since then there has been no doubt in my mind of the presence of Hashem in my life every day and every minute. And this brought me to serious study of Torah and commitment to a life of Torah – the best gift from Hashem I could ever have received. The whole thing made no sense other than that it was a miracle. It was my wakeup call. And what a call – the gift of a Torah life!

Letter 2

Five years ago, our family went through a very painful experience. My beautiful 22-year-old daughter became engaged to a young man everyone considered a “dream shidduch” – smart, good looking, from a respected, established family. It was an ideal match. We set the date for the wedding, reserved a beautiful hall and engaged an excellent caterer. We paid our deposits and happily went on to the next step.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 11/25/11

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Readers Respond

Re: “A Concerned Grandma” (Chronicles 09-16-2011)

Dear Rachel,

I am writing about the concerned grandma whose son-in-law scolds her grandson for using his left hand. While I really enjoyed your response to this woman about the ins and outs of left-handedness, I was surprised that you did not take a more active stance in insisting that this grandmother speak with her son-in-law about his actions.

I myself am a left-handed college student who is quite outspoken about my left-handedness. I own a lot of left-handed memorabilia, and when it comes to halachic issues regarding matters of left or right-handed objects I tend to research and argue fervently with rabbis and rebbetzins about why I should be allowed to perform the mitzvah with my left hand.

You can tell that I am obviously biased against the son-in-law for his behavior, yet I am not disapproving of your advice, for studies have shown that many naturally left-handed children who were forced to use their right hand developed problems, such as speech impediments, later on in life.

The fact that this father is forcing his son to use his right hand is harmful to his health and well-being, and I believe that this grandmother has a moral duty to inform him of this.

A Concerned Southpaw

 

Re: “Nowhere to turn” (Chronicles 10-28-2011)

Dear Rachel,

It does not sound like this newlywed couple lives nearby enough to come and help her mother clean. It also seems like this family has no sons upon whom the primary responsibility lies according to halacha, when parents become unable to care for themselves.

One would think that the grown children still living at home would pitch in and clean up, but this sounds like a rather dysfunctional family where the ability to clean and organize may be lacking in some of the children as well as in the parents. It was nice of a sister to spend $20 on kitchen supplies, but the grown children in this family are obviously too financially strapped to hire a cleaning crew and pay for repair of the AC.

It sounds like some household management training would be helpful, but someone would have to be on top of this family to maintain those improvements. In some cases, regular cleaning crews can’t clean because of hoarded trash and rodent droppings that are hazardous to human health, and special HAZMAT crews need to come in.

This young couple may have been away, such as to learn overseas, and the house may have been cleaned when they first married in order to make a good impression; when the couple returned for Yom Tov after a year away, they found the dilapidated condition of the house and the inability of the family to get the house in order, even if just for a yearly Yom Tov visit with the kids.

Hoarding and filthy housekeeping can be a sickness, and some physical illnesses can be the direct result of the filthy conditions, regardless of even the most caring children who may sacrifice whatever money they can to restore order to the home. It is also not easy to ask the bitter single daughter to assume more of the parents’ care and to further exploit her single state.

What I am basically saying is that depending on where they live, they may be in need of some type of Jewish family service or adult protective agency rather than a chesed service. No one can ask the local youth group teens to clean a bathroom that has not been cleaned in a year as a chesed. Even those chesed organizations that pay for cleaning help cannot tackle a job this big.  The house may end up being condemned if someone does not get it in order, and then this family could be looking for another place to live.

Outside observer

 

Re: “Lonely at the core” (Chronicles 07-22-2011) and her male critics (Chronicles 11-04-2011)

Dear Rachel,

The naïveté demonstrated by the male readers who wrote to express their skepticism about the woman who had written about her lowlife husband and about how she thinks of leaving him now that her children are all out of the house is quite disturbing. That someone can tolerate such behavior on the part of a spouse for so many years and then suddenly feel a need to do something about it is apparently beyond their grasp.

Human endurance should never be tested to the degree a mother could handle in order to protect her children from harm. I guess these men (no doubt self-sufficient) couldn’t possibly fathom being in the shoes of a woman who has been reliant on her husband for the security of providing a roof over the family’s head and whose reluctance to turn their children’s world upside down could have motivated her to set aside her own feelings of pain and despair to do whatever it took to maintain an atmosphere of normalcy for the sake of her children.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-526/2011/11/23/

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