When I was growing up, I called religious people “bible-thumpers”. Of course, I was always referring to Christians, because I didn’t know any religious Jews back then.
Fast-forward 35 years and I’ve kinda turned into a bible-thumper myself. Which is to say, I’m always looking for evidence of Gd’s Hand in my everyday life.
Yesterday, I got a whopper of a view.
A month ago, I wrote a proposal to move forward, in association with a Jewish organization, with an idea I had. After several back-and-forth conversations about my proposal, I was told yesterday afternoon that, for various reasons, mostly having to do with timing, my proposal was not being accepted.
“That’s okay,” I told my husband. “I see myself as Hashem’s kli (vessel). If He wants me to move forward with this idea, He will open another door.”
After dinner, I opened my email. In it was an invitation from another Jewish organization inviting me to submit my proposal to them.
I find that kind of immediate hashgacha pratis (Divine intervention) to be an incredible spiritual pleasure. Gd really is paying attention to me. And it’s something that happens much, much more often, and more openly, in Israel.
A dear friend is visiting from Israel right now. She made aliyah nearly six years ago, and every time she tells me a story about her life, I long for that kind of access to spirituality. In Israel, ordinary people talk about spiritual ideas in the most ordinary places. The cab driver, the repairman, the clerk in the grocery store all talk about Gd and His Torah completely unselfconsciously. To be religious, to want to be closer to Gd, to want to understand the world through a meta-physical lens is not a mindset to be embarrassed by or to keep hidden in Israel. It’s part of the culture. It’s just so much more readily accessible there.
From Jerusalem, Gd really is a local call.