I’ve been trying to be more positive. It can sound a bit strange to some people ‘Gam Zu LeTovah! My locker shelf fell down!’ ‘Gam Zu LeTovah! The doughnut store is closed.’ (Ok, I suppose from a diet perspective, that one is pretty good.)
But what does it mean? So, the locker shelf I bought was defective. So the owner of the awesome store I had planned to go to wasn’t there that day. So? Coincidences. It just happened. What do we mean ‘this is also for the good?’ It just is.
At school, I always try to leave my siddur on the same spot on the shelf every day, so I have a better chance of finding it. One day, I was running late for davening- it wasn’t there! I checked all the other shelves. I checked my locker and my backpack, in case I had left them there before. I run up the stairs like a headless chicken and check the bookshelf again.
With about 30 seconds left until davening, I rush to ask some classmates. B”H, the first girl does, in fact, have and extra siddur. In record time, I am back up for davening. In the back, where it’s noisy. Running late. With a Slichos siddur. In Tevet. A few days after we just changed to ‘vateten tal.’
I managed. B”H, it all went fine. I did my best to read the unfamiliar print, and reminded myself to read the teffilah for pure speech (you should try it, I’ve noticed unbelievable results.) from the chart on the wall, not the back of my siddur. As I went back downstairs, it occurred to me to check the shelf one more time. Maybe if someone had taken my siddur, they had given it back. Maybe Hashem had given it back, now that I had done whatever it was I was meant to do.
My siddur was on the shelf. Exactly where I left it yesterday after mincha. I got the shivers.
At times like this, you have to remember that the physical world is an illusion. That the laws of nature only apply to us, not to Hashem. He made them, He can bend them. If he wants someone to get sick, it will happen no matter what. If he wants my siddur to disappear, the fact that this is physically impossible means nothing to Him. Nu, He’s not physical. We are. But we are so much more.
Let’s relate this back to the time of year. It seems cruel to deprive someone of something they need to survive. We certainly wouldn’t make our pets fast. So why, if Hashem loves us so much, would he deprive us of two of our basic needs?
We might be physical, but we are so much more. Our bodies might need food (and they are important), but our neshamot need fire. Our neshamot need attention. Our neshamot need connection. A few times a year, we turn off the physical. We push our material needs aside. We remind ourselves of what is truly important. We mourn for what we have lost. May we have the merit to bring it back, very soon. Amen.