Miracles are G-d's way of letting us know that He is a part of our daily lives. At times, G-d orchestrates extraordinary and unexplainable events as a means of showing us that, despite our perceptions, life may actually appear differently when seen through the prism of Heaven.
Last week, I was given a tiny glimpse into G-d's reality.
JewishWorldReview.com featured an article that described what was initially thought to be a chance encounter at a highway rest-stop between a Seattle rabbi and a fellow named Ed from Charleston, South Carolina. As the story unfolded, and the two men began to speak, the nature of their meeting was soon revealed to be nothing short of miraculous.
To recap, Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz had just moved to Seattle. Ed's son had just been stationed at a base in a suburb there. Ed explained to the rabbi that he was concerned that his son would not have any Jewish contact while in Seattle. His new young rabbi in Charleston, however, had assured him that a friend and colleague in Seattle would be more than happy to embrace their son.
Sure enough, the friend and colleague that Ed's rabbi, myself, referred to was none other than Rabbi Schwartz himself, who Ed "happened" to stumble upon in the South Carolina rest-stop after what the rabbi presumed were a series of annoying circumstances!
The JWR essay concluded with the two men exchanging information, and agreeing to remain in touch as it was a surely sign from heaven that the two were destined to cross paths.
After JewishWorldReview.com published this amazing story it was widely circulated over the Internet, and served as a springboard of inspiration for thousands of people.
However, I would like to inform you that this was only the beginning of the story.
Allow me to fill you in a few details that transpired behind the scenes and which I would not have believed myself, had the Divine not allowed me to personally witness them.
Initially, when Rabbi Schwartz met his new friend Ed at the rest stop in South Carolina, Ed broke the ice with a joke about getting 8 more men together for a Minyan for afternoon prayers. The two men laughed. But deep down, Ed was not kidding. The reason Ed had commented about minyan was because he's still in the period of mourning after having tragically lost his 28 year-old son. He needed to recite the Kadish prayer.
After that "coincidental" meeting at the South Carolina rest stop, Ed and his wife, Judy, were greatly comforted. They knew that their remaining child, now living in Seattle, would once again be reconnected to the Jewish community through Rabbi Schwartz.
But for Ed and Judy, the comfort did not end there. After JewishWorldReview.com published their story, they were overwhelmed and flattered by the amount of encouragement and feedback they received from its many readers. It truly gave them strength and comfort they so need during their difficult time of grieving.
But the story still does not end there . . .
On Friday morning, I was preparing for the Sabbath while listening to the popular JM in the AM radio show broadcast over the Internet. Suddenly I jumped to attention after hearing my name. I listened attentively as the substitute host, Mayer Fertig, recounted the entire story about Ed and Rabbi Schwartz, as it appeared on the Jewish World Review website.
Once again, I couldn't believe just how much attention this one story was getting. I was so surprised that I immediately emailed Ed and told him how impressed I was to hear the story over the radio. I concluded my email by telling Ed that I believe that G-d was trying to tell us something. I wrote:
"All of the unexpected attention that this story has gotten seems to be the Almighty's way of letting you and Judy know that you are not alone in the world. There are thousands of people around the world that are now inspired by you. Despite the incredibly difficult and painful time that you are going through, G-d, together with your son in Heaven, must be smiling down on you, letting you know how proud they are over your recent growth and progress in your observance of Mitzvos," religious duties.
Within 10 minutes of sending the email, my phone rang. I recognized the sobbing women's voice on the other end. It was Judy. She revealed that during the last few weeks of dealing with the pain of losing her son, she began to have questions and doubts about G-d. Suddenly, however, through the unexpected publicity of the story of Ed's encounter with Rabbi Schwartz, first by email, then on websites, and now on the radio, she now sees with absolute clarity the hand of G-d. Through her tears, her pain, and her grieving Judy explained that she no longer questions G-d. Rather, she understands that G-d is watching over her family with love and compassion!
Many of us originally looked at this story as some form of spiritual entertainment, merely a cute story. However, I would like you to consider that G-d is not in the entertainment business, and does not run the world for our amusement. Quite to the contrary, G-d is in the profession of healing the sick, comforting the mourners and bringing hope to the destitute serving as the ultimate role model for us to learn from.
That being said, this story has given us a glimpse into life through the eyes of Heaven. Despite all the media, emails and publicity that swirled around this story and despite all the lives that were inspired by the miraculous event of two Jews meeting at a highway rest stop, the true purpose of this entire event was simply G-d's way of reaching out to a inconsolable, grieving mother, and saying, "Judy, I still love you, please don't stop loving me."
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