I entered the office today, a bit nervous has I was completing a presentation for a major customer and about to review it with the head of my employing company (and to present it later in the afternoon at the customer).
In the middle of the presentation review, my wife called sounding distressed. I queried if it was urgent, she said no and asked I call her back. After the meeting I did so, and she said she was a bit upset after dealing with a government office and needed me to get some employment papers she would need to return to the office (and work through the process again). I said I'd try, but I was a bit rushed as the afternoon presentation had been moved up and I needed to head to the customer in just a few minutes...
I grabbed my gear and headed for the door, leaving lots of extra time in case of traffic. But I stopped and thought, since my wife is distressed I'll detour to the side office and take care of what she needed.
When I arrived there, one of the guys from the office, about 25, secular Israeli, was talking very animated to the ladies in the office. I kind of tuned it out while waiting, but then I heard "Rochel Imaynu - Our Mother Rochel". Seemed he was telling the by now well known story of soldiers being saved in Gaza by the appearance of a lady in black from several booby trapped houses.
He was almost jumping up and down while describing this miracle, saying his brother knew one of the soldiers who was there! He was describing loudly the chesed of Hashem, how G-d is protecting Israel, how we must recognize this nes (miracle) and thank Hashem! This secular spiked hair Tel Avivian Jewish secular non-kippah wearing Israeli was just going on and on about Hashem and miracles and mitzvot.
I was stunned. I couldn't believe this young man, who would never strike me as having any inkling towards Yiddishkeit, was bubbling over with enthusiasm towards G-d. Finally one of the ladies he was speaking to said, "ok, well if this is really true, and I'd need to speak to one of the soldiers who was there, I'm moving to Meah Shearim (super-ultra-orthodox religious neighborhood in Jerusalem)". At this point I spoke up, "no need to do that, if you recognize the kindness of Hashem, just add a mitzvah, just one mitzvah you don't do today, like light Shabbos candles." The other young woman in the room spoke up, "I like Shabbos candles!". I smiled, "Baruch Hashem".
Here I am standing in the middle of an office in Tel Aviv, while a secular spiked hair young Jewish Israeli man is talking to several young secular Jewish Israeli women about miracles and faith in Hashem...
And that, I told my wife this evening, is why she had a rough morning, so she could motivate me to walk into the middle of a conversation and suggest a mitzvah - and be inspired myself!
Mi K'Mocha Yisrael? Who is like you Israel? The spark awaits in every neshamah (soul), just waiting for something to light the fire. Even in Tel Aviv, with spiked hair or platform shoes.
One unseen result of the Gaza war is a burning flame of emunah, faith, bursting forth from so many soldiers AND their friends throughout Israeli society. We may truly have won a great battle, a great battle of faith.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
// 1/25/2009 //