Photo Credit: Jewish Press

This past week we celebrated the holiday of Tu B’Shevat. This holiday is called Rosh Hashanah La’Ilanot, the beginning of a new year for the trees.

Many commentaries, beautiful stories and songs were written about this very special day, including all the spiritual and physical significance of this day.


For me this year Tu B’Shevat, had an extra special significance more than ever before.

A while back I shared with my readers a very trying experience I had when I failed my teacher’s final exam.

My pain and despair were great. It took me quite some time to pick myself up and start fighting again for what I felt was rightfully mine. I try to never give up, even when I feel like I have no more strength to get up. I take a deep breath and start all over again.

So I took that deep breath, and got back into the game. I went back to the school, and pleaded and urged the administration to please give me a second chance for another exam. They explained to me that it can take several months and that they don’t give retake exams for just one student. They insisted that there be at least 2 or 3 students before they will reconsider ordering a new date for the test.

I prayed daily and begged the Almighty to have mercy on me and to find a closer date than what they had in mind. I tried to occupy myself with everything and anything just not to fall into self-pity and sadness while waiting for the exam. I tried telling myself this too is for the best, and that it was all from Hashem and therefore it was good. However nothing really worked except for trying not to think too much about anything.

We tend to think that our physical actions make waves and move things along usually in the best way. However our spiritual actions and prayers help us more than we can imagine. The more connected we stay to G-d, especially in hard times, the more we see His hand protecting us and watching our every move. From push to shove, from prayer to prayer, from tear to tear, the phone call came only 3 weeks after my first exam. I was shocked, thrilled, overjoyed and nervous beyond words. It was such a miracle. Not only was the time that past between the exams short, but they agreed to test me alone. I couldn’t believe it. I could barely sleep. I studied again and again making sure I would get it right this time.

The day arrived, I tried to stay calm but it was obvious how nervous I was. The person who tested me was a different person than the one who tested me the first time. I was relieved. I did my best and felt that this time it would be ok. And sure enough a few days later I received a call that I passed the final exam. My joy knew no limits, I was so relieved I had done it, I past my last test. I thanked Hashem over and over and was waiting to start teaching right away. I went into the office to receive my certificate, and was told that there was a problem with some of the information on my record. It seems that since my high school and college years were in the states I might have to take an extra course that was given only to teachers teaching in Israel. I couldn’t believe my ears. I told them that I’ve been studying in their school since 2017, and that my record was in front of them all these years. When I was accepted into the school they could have said something then and I would have done it alongside my other studies. I told them that it makes no sense to come now after all my hard work and time and not let me start to work immediately. Another setback, I thought that I would explode. I tried calling the dean and anyone I could think of who might be able to help me. I suddenly remembered that an old family friend was very close to the dean of this college I had just finished studying in. I called this friend, crying and poured out my heart to him in the hope that maybe he could speak on my behalf and help me get started working after all this time.

It took a week of tears and lots of prayers and low and behold that phone call came on Tu B’Shevat. It was the dean himself on the other end. I was shaking. I was silent. I was so nervous I couldn’t speak. He was very brief. “You can start teaching. Come in today to my office and pick up your teaching permit. Good luck.” No words came out; only tears. I was so relieved and overwhelmed with emotions that all I could do was cry. I looked up at the heavens and thanked Hashem for helping me get thought this and for sending me this big miracle. Tu B’Shevat is indeed a new beginning for me. A new start. A new seed that has just been planted and is waiting to grow and grow and become a beautiful and fruitful tree. Thank you Hashem for hearing my tears and seeing my pain and for giving me the strength and ability to never give up trying.


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Michal can be reached at [email protected]