This topic is kind of a trend with me lately (must be some sort of pregnancy side effect). I was searching for something on the topic of Sukkos, and I found this video on Aish.com. While the video itself wasn’t exactly my taste, it did bring forth a message which I really feel strongly right now (as is apparent if you’ve been following my recent posts).
The general message of the video is: Trust that G-d is in control. He is the source of our security. Not our material possessions, not our homes, our jobs. Nope. Those can all vanish (sorry).
This message is especially timely since so many people are wondering if they will be employed next year, next month, next week. My husband is currently applying for jobs, what with being in the final year of his residency and all, and while it’s likely that we will be able to find something (we hope), there is no guarantee. I was just having a conversation with a friend who mentioned that they really wanted to live in a different city, and that they had looked hard to find a job there to no avail. They ended up here (and they’re happy, don’t worry!).
One instance where I’ve seen how G-d is in control is how I ended up working as a teacher in the local day school. I was waiting for my husband outside of shul, and the principal came out, asked me my name, where I was from, as so on. We shmoozed a bit, and she asked if I had any teaching experience. I mentioned that I had, and that was that. After Shabbos, I was in touch with her and I was able to start substitute teaching at the school, which was a very rewarding experience, and a nice little supplement to our income!
There’s the whole waiting to give birth thing (soooo not in control of that).
There’s also the health thing. It seems like more and more I’m hearing about people, specifically children, who are sick. Not like “oh, I ate a tub of ice cream and five Hershey’s bars and I feel lousy” sick, but “what on earth is going on and why is this happening” sick. Even though people can do their best to take care of themselves, and parents can take good care of their children, sometimes illness happens.
There are also smaller, less devastating health concerns. Today as I was driving to my doctor’s appointment, I noticed that my neck was a little stiff. Like, I’m-going-to-have-a-really-painful-pinched-nerve-soon stiffness. I said a little prayer which basically went, “Oh no! Not now, right before I’m going to give birth! I can’t have a stiff neck please please let me avert it!”
I tend to coast long obliviously until I get sick, or get a pinched nerve, etc., and then I remember how grateful I am to be in general good health, and how tenuous our hold on health can be.
It’s said that on Rosh Hashana the amount of money we will make for the whole year is determined. So “all” we need to do is put in our effort, and then G-d manages our money (and no, this does not mean that we can sit in an easy chair and wait for the checks to roll in. It does require actually making an effort).
This is an area where I’ve been fortunate to have some amazing experiences with seeing how things balance out. For instance, when I was in Israel for a year abroad (at Neve), I taught piano lessons. This was extremely helpful, since I ran out of savings at some point mid-year. Over Pesach break, I didn’t really teach. However, I was able to secure a cleaning job which allowed me to earn almost the exact amount I was missing through my lack of teaching. Cool, huh?
Of course, there’s the flip side, where I’ve received an unexpected windfall, only to need repairs to the brakes of our car. So, things tend to balance out just how they are supposed to. It’s not really in our control, and though making good financial decisions seems a prudent thing to do, with people’s retirement funds being greatly diminished, we are reminded that even that is not within our control.
The video also compares being sustained in 21st century America to being sustained in the desert. Um, yeah. no comparison. Basically, if G-d can support an entire nation for 40 years in the desert, G-d can find you a job. Unfortunately, our timetable is not always aligned with His. I can be rather impatient sometimes, waiting for the limbo to end. I suppose if I were looking at eternity, then it wouldn’t seem like such a long time to wait. But I’m just a mommy, so I don’t always remember to look at eternity. Sometimes I can barely look to the next hour!
So what’s the point?
For the holiday of Sukkos, we leave our house and spend a lot of time in the temporary structures we erect for the week. This is supposed to help us remember being supported in the desert, and that G-d is in control. It’s an opportunity to strengthen our trust in G-d, and to remember that He’s got our back. Whatever is happening in our lives, it’s for a reason.
If you can say some Tehillim, or any prayer for the Refuah Shleimah (complete recovery) of Tzipporah bas Rachel, it would be greatly appreciated!