Cause for Alarm
“and I shall cause peace in the Land, and you shall dwell without fear” (Leviticus, 26:6)
The last class had just finished. Gidon and Chaim were making their way back to their dorm, when Chaim turned to Gidon and said “Gidon, seriously, when was the last time you made it to minyan before Aleinu?”
Gidon’s face registered surprise at the sudden confrontation. The surprise was immediately replaced by a look of pain. “Of course I’ve come before Aleinu! Many times!” Gidon retorted, indignantly.
“Come on, Gidon,” Chaim challenged. “You and I both know the truth.”
Gidon couldn’t take it anymore. He had to put a stop to Chaim’s attack. “Chaim, let’s make a bet,” Gidon cut in. “If I make it to minyan on time tomorrow morning, you give me fifty shekel. If not, I owe you fifty shekel.”
Chaim readily extended his hand, and the two boys shook on the deal. With that, the two boys headed back to their dorm rooms.
Before Gidon went to bed that night, he made sure to set his alarm for 6:45. It was true that he couldn’t recall the last time he had seen that side of 7:00 a.m., but for fifty shekel it would be worth the effort.
The next morning, at precisely 6:45, Gidon’s alarm went off. And Gidon… stayed asleep. A few minutes went by. Suddenly, Gidon was startled to hear a siren. This was no joke. It was a red alert!
Although Gidon was still half asleep, the sound of the siren propelled him out of his bed, and down the hall, into the bomb shelter. After a few minutes, the siren stopped, and the boys filed out of the room. Gidon, now fully awake, took advantage of the unusual wakeup call, and ran to his room to get dressed. Within minutes, he was in his seat in the bet midrash, with his prayer book open to the page.
At the end of the prayer service, Gidon turned to Chaim, with a triumphant look on his face. “See! I did it!” With that he stuck his hand out, in Chaim’s direction.
“I’m not sure why you’re showing me your hand, Gidon” replied Chaim. “You didn’t exactly win the bet. I saw the look on your face, when you were walking to the bomb shelter. You were still half asleep. The only reason you woke up is because of the siren, not because you wanted to get to minyan on time.”
Who is right? Does Chaim owe Gidon money or not?
Answer of Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, shlita:
It certainly appears that Gidon woke up only because of the siren. However, it is possible that, if not for Chaim’s bet, Gidon would have gone back to bed, after leaving the bomb shelter, rather than choosing to go to minyan. Because of the possibility that the bet, in fact, caused Gidon to go to prayer on time, Chaim is obligated to pay Gidon, as promised.
In connection with the above, we will relate a story told by Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon, shlita:
During Operation Protective Edge, the Iron Dome was in constant operation. When I went to visit an Iron Dome operation site, the soldiers there told me about an incident which had just occurred:
“As you know, the Iron Dome system protects residential areas from rocket attacks, effectively saving many lives. During these days, of ongoing attacks, sometimes there is a need to fix the Iron Dome’s machinery. Such repairs typically take about ten minutes. One day, after a relentless barrage of rocket attacks that went on for hours, we discovered a serious problem with the Iron Dome system, which required immediate repair. When we attempted to fix it, we realized, to our great dismay, that the problem was more serious than we had anticipated. We felt tremendous pressure, as we hurried to fix the problem. As the minutes ticked by, our fear increased, because we were sure that there would soon be another rocket attack, and, with the Iron Dome not functioning, we were entirely defenseless. To our shock, not one rocket came. Silence.
After an hour and a half, the Iron Dome was once again operational. We breathed a tremendous sigh of relief. Ten minutes later, a new wave of rocket attacks began, which continued for many hours.
Rabbi, we’re not religious, but we have to admit that there is no natural explanation for this story. This was a miracle. If, G-d forbid, one rocket had hit during the time that we were fixing the Iron Dome, the consequences would have been terrible. And dozens of rockets could have fallen during that time!”