Friday night, there was a very lovely gathering in a home in my community for the best possible reason: a terrible tragedy was averted, and a family continues to be whole, with no one missing at the Shabbat table.
A lovely young woman who is well known for her giving nature put her tiny body in the way of a vehicle as it rolled downhill with her small children inside. Instead of careening out of control down the steep grade and into who-knows-what tragic ending, the car's encounter with 40 kilos of mere woman caused it to be deflected into a nearby boulder, which stopped it, and saved the children.
Her husband immediately made a seuda hoda'ah -- a feast of thanksgiving -- inviting the community to share dessert and an opportunity for a communal sigh of relief. He spoke beautifully of his gratitude to the community that came together to volunteer assistance; to his wife for her courage and grace throughout the pain; to his teenager for being wise enough to see how fortunate we all are; to Hashem, for allowing his family to remain whole. He suggested to the friends that overflowed his home that we should not put off our gratitude, but should express it while the emotions are still palpable.
Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb wrote an important d'var Torah on the week's parsha. He reminds us that "thank you" are "the most important two words in our language...The world would be a much better place if we each could cultivate an 'attitude of gratitude'."
With that in mind, I want to add my thanks. Thank You, Hashem, for saving my friend's life, and the lives of her children. Please give a refua shelaima to Elana Michal Bat Tamar Chana.
And while I'm at it -- Thank You for allowing my family to live in this remarkable community, in this very beautiful and special, holy country. The many things I have to thank You for would take more than one blog post; but at least I can offer a few words of thanks before I sleep tonight.
Thank You for giving me vision to appreciate the very tiny beauty around me.
Thank You for letting me live in a country where there are peaceful, tranquil waterfalls and walkways, even in the center of the holiest city on Earth!
Thank You for letting me live in a country with a tallit for a flag.
Thank You for letting my family live in a land where it is easy to keep things in perspective -- if we just remember what it is we're looking at.
Thank You for the fact that the guys in our skies are the good guys...
Oh, another thing, Hashem. Remember that time we were walking in Givat Sha'ul, and the Dearly Beloved and I were really missing our Rav from the old country? And suddenly, out of nowhere, You sent us that little hug? We really appreciated that, Hashem. Thank You!