Thursday, October 13, 2005

Of Late ...

Of late-I guess pretty much since Ben's passing-I am very conscious of a mood swing that I experience within the framework of the "Yomim Noraim"-the Days of Awe ... from the hopeful expectation of Rosh Ha Shanah to the more somber reality check of Yom Kippur. What really troubles me though is that we simply do not and cannot know who has been inscribed and who not in the Book of Life for the coming year! We do, however, know with complete certainty that-by day's end with the final closing of the "aron kodesh"-the holy ark-signifying the closing of the Temple gates- there will be those whose names will not have been inscribed-for whom the question of being sealed in the Book of Life becomes quite moot-though we pray through the very end of Neilah-the concluding service of Yom Kippur- that we somehow have been included. Furthermore, not only has the Book been closed, but sealed tight-though we say as a measure of comfort and hopeful expectation that with heightened prayer, tzedaka: the combination of righteousness with charity-and teshuva: re-turning to a Godly life path ... the evil decree can be averted-which may, I suppose, explain what I'll call 'near misses' with death.

Deep down though I feel in my heart that all of these matters are simply unfathomable- beyond what my friend Rabbi Louis likes to call 'the inquisitive grasp of man'. Characterize 'near misses' by whatever name you like; rationalize them away if you so choose. A miracle? Are we not constantly surrounded by them on a daily basis? Unlike the "nissim"-miracles of the Torah- which were inversions of the laws of nature-as part of the works of creation, so-called daily miracles: the birth of a baby, the sunrise, the sunset (the list is interminable) are what we euphemistically refer to as "nature"-if only we could see that "nature" is really His creation! What about "blind luck"-as some might claim? Well, ... live with that if you so choose, but a belief that the universe, our world as we both perceive and feebly attempt to comprehend it-though seemingly in a continuum of random chaos is, in fact, not: rather I suggest the very opposite approach is far closer to the ultimate truth-that there is more order than disorder, that there is more law than lawlessness, that the heart may be a better barometer in these matters than the head!

How awful it must feel to live life without the "nechuma"-comfort that an unshakeable belief in The One Above affords! Now this is not to say that everything always turns out as we would like! However, there are occasions when things turn out so 'miraculously well' that one's dumbfoundedness can only be exceeded by an even stronger resolve in the belief that The One Above does rule the world-albeit with outcomes that at times favor us-at other times not. So here's my story ... when it happened just a bit more than a year ago, it shook me so fundamentally to the core that I find myself reflecting upon it today-just one day prior to the Eve of Yom Kippur ...

I received a call one afternoon from a complete stranger who-as it happened-had stopped to assist my daughter Kimberly at the scene of an almost calamitous accident. Kimmy, as I call her, had been involved in a near fatal accident from which she emerged completely unscathed, as did the occupants of the other vehicle, I am told-though Kimmy's car was absolutely totaled, and having seen it, I mean totaled! I sat in my office literally quaking! I called Kimmy's mom, let her know what had happened and assured her that I'd leave immediately and bring our daughter home. I left moments thereafter on a route very familiar to me about an hour and a half from Chicago. While driving I was able to speak with the Illinois State trooper who was there at the scene and who reassured me that Kimmy was indeed unhurt.

Long story short as the eve of Yom Kippur approaches, but I found my beautiful and quite wonderous daughter-as I said before-without so much as a scratch, but her car was "accordioned" which is to say that the front of the car could be found just inches away from where the dashboard used to be. The airbags deployed successfully, but the impact had been at a high speed typical of interstate highway driving.

Might it have turned out differently? GOD FORBID!! ... but yes it could have. Why was Kimmy saved? Again-as with "why did Ben die?"-the wrong question, but once there with Kimmy and having seen the car, I can only thank Him for having bestowed this kindness upon me.

Postscript: While preparing this post, I read a fabulous Torah lesson posting on one of my favorite blogs whose owner I e-mailed from whom I received permission to include this LINK.


With Love said...


As you know, I - like you - have learned to accept that in life there are many questions to which we'll never know the answers. But I don't let those questions deprive me of the comfort of knowing that, as G-d has so far given me strength to face what I've had to face in my life, He will continue to do so. I'm very grateful for that ability to put aside my questions for this purpose (and this purpose only). And so I'm happy for you that you have found this ability as well.

Mo'adim LeSimcha and Chag Sameach,


Alan aka Avrum ben Avrum said...

Dear Sara,

Thank you for your on-going support, kindness and generous words. I'll post the link right now 5:35 am Thursday, day 1 Chol ha Moed Succos.

Chag Sameach, a good yontif ...


Micki Woodham said...

Dear Alan, I have read almost all of your posts but was compelled to comment here. We are bound in our sorrow--My oldest daughter is named Kimber Lee!! We call her Kim and she just finished a bout of radiation and chemo for non-Hodgekins Lymphoma and is for now, cancer -free.
I love your essays on Ben and wish you would consider putting them in true novel form as I believe you could sell this as a book. I am nearing the finish of my own book on Noelle and I have such good feedback that I feel I may just get it published as well. It was my promise to her on her deathbed--to let the world know there was once a wonderful girl named Noelle. You are doing the same honor for Ben and doing it with feeling, and expertise.

I knwo there is a yidddish saying for God speed, but i have forgotten it--or something like it.

Alan aka Avrum ben Avrum said...

Dear Micki,

Thank you very much for those exceedingly kind words! As a matter of fact, I do have a book in progress-though I am not sure how to understand the meaning of "true novel form"! If you would please clarify, I'd be much appreciative! I am ...

Sincerely yours,