In the book Bee Season by Myla Goldberg, an 8 year-old Jewish character named Aaron Naumann sees a small flashing red light in the midst of the nighttime clouds during his first plane ride. He doesn't understand that it's coming from the wing of the plane and he thinks it's G-d showing Himself.
From the far distance of America, even though I kept the same mitzvot as religious Jews in Israel (more or less), I knew something was missing. And I knew it had to do with G-d. When I came to Israel, I wanted to feel G-d more in my everyday life.
Even though it sounds cheesy in English (e.g., נפשי חולת אהבתך translates as "my soul is sick for Your love"), the prayer of Yedid Nefesh, which speaks of the soul's desire to be close to G-d, rang true for me.
It still does.
I am always moved when friends talk about G-d as if He is a factor in every aspect of their lives. Didn't get the apartment we were hoping for? G-d must have something different in mind. There's no such thing as a coincidence. What we call coincidences are G-d's way of making Himself known, as this story by dear friend and fellow blogger Ruti Mizrachi illustrates. Everything, everything, everything comes from G-d and it's all good.
That's my truest core. And I need this perspective to breath.
But, because I am part of the clodden, earthbound world, I get distracted. And I start worrying about money, outcomes and all sorts of other things that are, in truth, out of my control.
Twice a year, I coordinate an English book swap and sale, captured in words and pictures by yet another dear friend and fellow blogger A Soldier's Mother. Besides providing cheap books for English readers, it also raises thousands of shekels for tzedaka. Dozens of volunteers do everything - from picking up donated books to taping signs on tables to sorting books into categories to making change. The hardest volunteer job to fill is always the movers - the ones who tote 100+ cartons, bags and boxes of books from multiple locations in the neighborhood to the event and to move the leftover books out after the event is over.
This year, two stalwart mover volunteers were unavailable and I started to panic. I wrote dozens of emails and Facebook posts begging volunteer movers to please, please help. At one point, like a woman in hard labor who swears that she will never let her husband near her again, I pledged that this would be my last book swap. That's how discouraged I felt.
After I sent my volley of begging, pleading emails, I said, "I've done everything I can. G-d will have to step in and make this happen." I said it, but inside, I still felt responsible. And I imagined injuring myself in the process because, in the end, I was going to have to schlep 100 cartons up and down steps pretty much by myself.
What actually happened is that more than a dozen people showed up to help. Every carton, bag and box was transported from two houses at different ends of the neighborhood into the event hall in under 35 minutes.
And I knew that only G-d could have done that.
I'm not where I want to be with this. I still have plenty of learning, plenty of G-d work, yet to do.
It comforts me to know that, at the very least, by living in Israel, I'm enrolled on the right campus.