One of my favorite things about my job is traveling to Israel with Jewish moms. One of the first ideas we introduce on the long Israeli bus rides is the concept of H.P. – short for Higher Power, and in Hebrew Hashgacha Pratit.
Hashgacha literally means to watch over or supervise. It is the term most commonly used to imply that a food product has Kosher supervision. In this context, Hashgacha means G-d supervising and intervening in our lives. G-d did not just create the world and then leave it to its own devices. G-d does not simply watch over in a general sort of way. Nope, Judaism believes and teaches us that G-d is intimately involved in the events of each of our lives. The best way to illustrate this point is with stories of course. The goal is to look for G-d in our everyday lives from the mundane to the magnificent. When you look out for it you will find it and it will feel like a virtual hug from G-d.
Here are a few of my personal favorites:
In my subculture, everyone does a gap year in Israel. Believe it or not, I didn’t get into the school of my choice and had to settle for a choice B school. An apartment-mate from that school ended up introducing me to David, my husband. How did she think of it? She was praying from the siddur that was given out at his “Bart” Mitzvah (he shared a party with his sister Batya and they called it the “Bart”). She had borrowed this siddur from her uncle and her uncle asked her, “hey do you want to date David he got really religious in Israel?” She responded with a, “Not my type, maybe my friend Giti?” How else was this Jersey gal supposed to meet a guy from St. Louis, who was currently studying in yeshiva and college in Maryland? Coincidence? Barely. I believe that each thing was H.P. Higher Power, G-d watching over us and orchestrating things just so.
After finding a spouse the next hurdle was finding a house.
Apartment rentals in Jerusalem’s premier neighborhoods are in high demand. Back in the day before we were all so tech savvy, you would depend on friends to find you a place to live. So we arrived in Jerusalem five months pregnant, five suitcases, jet-lagged and with our idealism, to discover that our friend had dumped us with her lemon of an apartment and had found herself a better one. We stuck it out and the next season of apartment flipping we found ourselves scouring the neighborhood. We wanted to remain in that neighborhood because my husband was developing a rapport with a great rabbi and Torah scholar. He would even wake up for the sunrise minyan to catch some time with this rabbi. One day after a few disappointments of apartments falling through I said out loud maybe we’ll find an apartment in Rabbi Berkovits’ building. A few days later I bumped into someone and she said she was moving back to the States. This woman lived in the rabbi’s building and she had already found someone to take over her lease. I was crestfallen. Purim night after the Megillah reading she called me. The people who had been slated to take the apartment had suddenly backed out. Did we want to come see the apartment? I can safely say that living in close proximity to the rabbi and his family is why we chose to do the work we do and this line of work has made me who I am today.
Ok these are biggies who we marry, where we live what we do. Let’s go to something less significant.
I was recently very upset about something and confided in a friend. She promptly took out some prescription drugs from her bag, placed them in a Ziploc bag, wrote what drug and what dosage they were. She then turned to David and said I’m leaving these for Giti if you need them. We thanked her for her generosity and put them in the cabinet. I have my standards I will only take other people’s prescription drugs on flights to Israel to fall asleep. Two months later I was cleaning and was about to throw them away but something stopped me. That Friday night I was hosting an oneg– after party for the all-girls high school. My friend Heidi arrived to give her daughter Pearl who has CP her night feeding and meds. It was snowing, and Heidi had trekked in the snow, in observance of the holy Shabbat day. Oh no, she exclaimed huffing and puffing, I forgot the meds that make her sleep. I guess we won’t be getting much sleep tonight. Wait, I said… finish it yourself, dear readers. The universe? Luck? Coincidence? Yes, I had the exact dosage of the exact pill that was needed to give Pearl her proper night’s rest!
A loving G-d sending virtual hugs?
I implore and challenge you to look out for them. Look for the examples. Seek them out and share them!