emunah, tefillah, a little mussar, and a shmeck of geula

Monday, May 5, 2014

And There it Was

“…Amar Rabbi Binyamin…,” are the first three words of the Segulah that countless Jews have relied on for generations to re-connect themselves with their lost objects.

In free translation it goes something like this in English:  

Rabbi Binyamin said: All are in the presumed status of blind people, until the Holy One, Blessed Be He, enlightens their eyes. {Bereishis 21:19}

It’s a real Segulah as opposed to the other kind because its use is not in lieu of our proper reliance on Hashem to take care of business.  For as we said in EmunahSpeak: So Who are You Relying on… The avodah of bitachon is to train oneself to rely only on Hashem. 

Properly understood, the Segulah to find a lost object reinforces our reliance on Hashem.  It reminds us of the miracle that was performed for Hager by the well in the middle of a desert, and as such it serves as a template by which Hashem makes it all happen.

There are people whose level of bitachon in Hashem, as expressed by the formula of the Segulah, was such that for them it was not a question of whether or not they would find what they were seeking, but rather when they would find it.

About a year ago this point was driven home when an acquaintance told me that he had once lost his car keys.  His father was leaving the house for work when he heard what had happened.  He reminded my acquaintance to recite the Segulah for the lost object three times.   When he arrived at his office he called and asked very matter-of-factly: So where did you find it?

And by that time, of course, he had.

My own experience has been somewhat less pronounced.  When I lose something, I usually recite the Segulah and put some money into a pushka and then tear the house apart until I find the object that was missing.  And while I was surely appreciative of my find, I could not help but think to myself why should I not find it? Did I not just rip the house apart?

But that was yesterday and all of the other yesterdays in my life.

Today, however, was a different story.

When I cleaned off a certain bed before Pesach to make room for expected guests from Eretz Yisroel, one of the objects that I removed from it was a DVD documentary that was still in its shrink-wrap.   As soon as Pesach was over I looked for this DVD but I could not find it.  After fruitlessly searching for it in every conceivable place in the house that I could have possibly placed it, I assumed that it must of accidently been thrown out with the de rigueur piles of pre-Pesach junk.

My wife kept nudging me to recite the Segulah and put a dollar in the pushka but I was too lazy to go to the kitchen to read the Segulah off the magnet on the side of the refrigerator.  And in any case I never had more than two quarters in my pocket at any given time. 

After a week of looking everywhere I finally relented and trekked to the fridge to put the Segulah into play.  Although the financial situation had not improved, I solved that problem by taking my wife in as a partner as I proceeded to float a loan of one dollar from her pocketbook.  After stuffing it into the pushka I decided to tear apart a pile of odds and ends that was in my bedroom.  I had already looked there but I decided to give it a more thorough once over.

As I contemplated the unwieldy pile while trying to divine whether or not my DVD was buried underneath it, my eye caught hold of something sticking out of it near the top.

And there it was.