We misplace things fairly often in our house, especially right before it’s time to go to school. Someone is always looking for a shoe or a glove and it can be aggravating. However, as Jews, we believe that everything happens for a reason. I was able to understand this principle very strongly this morning. My seven-year-old daughter has a perfectly good winter coat that she has been refusing to wear recently.
Instead, she insists on wearing one of her two thinner fleece jackets (she switches on and off depending on which matches her outfit better.) This morning she was unable to find one of them. The other one she had left in school. I searched everywhere I could think of but was unsuccessful at finding her jacket as well. She would have gone off to school wearing just a top and a sweatshirt, but since it was 42 degrees out I insisted she wear her winter coat. I told her she could bring home her other jacket from school and wear it the next day. She grumbled but eventually agreed to wear her coat – just this once.
Minutes after my son and daughter left for school – it’s a ten-minute walk from our house – my son came running back to the house, all upset. He yelled, “Racheli got bitten by the pit-bull!” and my husband and I immediately rushed out to find our daughter. Our neighbors have a pit-bull and they have unfortunately been flouting the law requiring it to be leashed and muzzled when in public.
My daughter is a huge animal lover. She constantly begs me to buy her a dog. Whenever she sees a dog in the street, she’ll run right over and start petting it. On their part, the animals sense her gentleness and love for them and have always responded in kind. Until this morning. She and my son had been walking down the street with their backpacks, when the pit-bull came charging at them. The sixth-grade boy who was walking it ran after it but the dog was a lot faster. It jumped on my son and daughter a few times, then bit my daughter’s backpack. It then jumped on my son again. The owner, who was standing at a distance, watching what was happening, said, “Don’t worry, he doesn’t do anything.” At which point the dog turned again to my daughter and bit her on the arm. The boy then took the dog away.
The dog bit my daughter through her top, sweatshirt and heavy winter coat. Miraculously, even though the bite left a mark, the skin on her arm was not broken and there was no blood. The doctor said she was very lucky because a bite from a pit-bull can be very dangerous. The extra layer of her winter coat provided just enough protection to prevent a much more severe bite.
When we took her back to the house, the first thing that caught my eye was her fleece jacket. It had been hanging on the back of a chair in the living room, in plain sight. Neither my daughter nor I had noticed the jacket in the morning, even though it was hanging right next to where my daughter had stood to put on her coat before leaving the house for school. If she had seen the jacket at the time, she would have insisted on only wearing that layer, without putting her winter coat on top, and I would have allowed her to do so. The only reason why she wore her coat this morning was because we were unable to find the jacket.
There’s a saying that everything is hidden until Hashem opens your eyes to see it. Hashem did not allow my daughter or myself to find the fleece jacket at the crucial time in order to protect my daughter and prevent serious injury. Thank you, Hashem, for your hashgacha pratis.