The first time we hear about Avraham, is when Hashem tells him to leave his
country and family in Charan, and travel to a special land, Eretz Canaan that
would turn to be Eretz Yisrael. Avraham Avinu couldn’t enjoy Eretz Yisrael for
too long, because of the terrible hunger that was there. He had to travel far
away, to Mitzrayim in order to feed himself and his family.
Avraham came to Mitzrayim a poor man, with hardly his shirt on his back, but
Hashem was very kind to him, and it wasn’t long before he walked the way back
to Eretz Yisrael escorted with thousands of livestock. He was suddenly
tremendously rich, with tons of silver and gold, sheep and cattle, servants and
maids, donkeys and camels.
Now, that’s big, it’s huge. But why is it mentioned in the Torah? Obviously to tell
us how much Hashem loved him. But wait a second, I remember a much more
impressing story – just a while before, Hashem rescued Avraham from the death
penalty, from Nimrod’s burning furnace. Isn’t that nes a much better proof of
Hashem’s love to Avraham?! So, why does the Torah tell us only how Hashem
gave him lots of money and food, while the story that happened in Ur Casdim is
completely ignored and we learn it only from the Midrash?!
In order to explain this, I’d like to tell you a story. Many centuries back, a great
king ruled in England, Edward I. He was a very busy man, and never had time to
take care of his subjects on his own. For that reason, he put his top minister, Mr.
Rockefeller, in charge of taking care of them, and report to him once in a while
how his job was going. One day, when Mr. Rock was updating King Edward
about his progress, how he cured the sick people and helped the poor ones, the
king got upset and said to him, “You are not merciful at all! You care only for the
helpless people. Let me see if you can help the rich persons, as well – to be
even more successful and wealthy. That would prove your true mercy toward our
dear subjects!” Of course, from then on, Mr. Rock made sure to improve his
Now, that’s the secret, children. When Hashem took care of Avraham’s normal
life and gave him food and money – that proves Hashem’s kindness more than
saving him from being killed; because it’s no chiddush – everybody has pity for a
person who is about to die. But when Hashem has mercy for him even when
he’s well and healthy – that shows all the more how much Hashem loves him.
Let me ask you, kinderlach, what do you prefer, to go through a dangerous
accident, chas v’shalom, and then be saved with a tremendous miracle, or just
go on with your beautiful life without getting into troubles in the first place? Which
kind of life would you appreciate better, a life of troubles and miracles, or just the
miracle of a healthy successful life? I’d definitely take the second choice.
Even the Gemara says this. The day when Hashem pours rain on the world, is a
greater day, a bigger nes, than the day when Hashem will revive the dead
people at techias hameisim! Yeah, the rain shows us more than anything else,
how much Hashem truly loves us and wants to be kind to us – even when we are
successful and even when we are not very appreciative.
Now, children, I’d like to tell you a story that happened a few years ago to
somebody I know very well. It was the day after Simchas Torah, and Avi’s father
called a worker to take down his sukkah.
Avi, who was four-years-old at the time, was a little bit wild that day. He played
around the worker, and tried to copy him climbing on the ladder and on the
fence. When the worker was not paying attention, Avi took the opportunity to
climb on a chair, and from there onto the stone wall, leaning outside to see what
was going on out there.
That’s when the worker noticed him. He did not want to scare Avi off, so he
shouldn’t lose his balance and fall, chas v’shalom; so he hurried quietly behind
him to take him down. But, only a moment before he was close enough to grab
his shirt, Avi leaned on a weak beam and lost his balance. He fell down two and
a half floors! That’s about twenty feet, on hard ground!
The worker ran downstairs. There, he saw Avi laying on cold ground, motionless
and unconscious. He was bleeding terribly from his head, and wasn’t breathing
at all! The worker called an ambulance immediately, then he summoned Avi’s
father, and moments later they sped off to the Hospital.
At the hospital, the doctor told Avi’s father, “He has a big crack in his skull,
nobody can know just yet how bad his injury is; it might be brain damage in the
good case, or life threatening in the bad one, chas v’shalom.”
All his family and friends started davening nonstop that Hashem should save
Avi’s young life, and the prayers were accepted. Avi went through a head
surgery to stop his bleeding, and was then taken for X-rays. On the way to one
of the tests, he suddenly woke up and started crying. That was the sweetest cry
his parents had ever heard. Only one week later, he was all better, and was
ready to go back home, with no brain damage and on his own two feet, baruch
Can you imagine how happy his family and friend much have felt to have him
back as before. It’s really something. But I want to tell you, children, when you go
across the street and nothing happens to you – no car sends you flying fifty feet
in the air – that is not a smaller miracle, but much greater! It proves all the more
how much Hashem is kind to you and protects you that no harm should come
your way, in the first place!
Why, then, does Hashem bring those impressing miracles, of people who go
through a terrible sickness and then are saved at the last moment; why doesn’t
He just keep proving His love with good things?! That, children, is because
Hashem sees that people forget about him when they get used to the
kindnesses that they have all the time. They forget to be impressed and thank
Him for the yummy food, the neat clothing, the healthy and functioning two legs,
and so on. That’s why Hashem has to bring bad things – so that we should
remember to appreciate the good time.
I’ll tell you the truth, children, I also had a hard time appreciating the “small”
things, I could never understand what’s so special about breathing. It’s so easy;
you open your mouth, then you breathe in and you breathe out; it’s that simple,
what could go wrong already? But then, Hashem brought something to the world
that proved to all of us how it’s not simple at all.
My grandfather was just drinking his daily hot coffee, when he suddenly felt like
the kitchen was spinning around him. My grandmother immediately called
Hatzalah. They came in no more than two minutes and hooked him on oxygen. It
was Mr. Corona again, that went viral in his body and made it hard for him to
breathe. The oxygen wasn’t sufficient enough, so my grandfather was rushed to
the hospital, where they put him on a respirator. He lay that way on the hospital
bed almost for an entire month, unconscious and fighting for his life. Finally, the
corona was too tough and he passed away.
Now, you tell me, children, is breathing that simple? It is the most crucial thing
for life – without breathing you can’t even live for five minutes! I sure learned the
lesson to appreciate Hashem’s simple and daily gifts. Will you appreciate it
better, too? Tomorrow morning when you open your eyes and you realize you
can see the beautiful world around you, will you get excited over it?! Will you be
truly grateful to Hashem for good old water?! Well then, don’t forget to invite me to your daily seudas hodaya!
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