July 9, 2024
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July 9, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

A few weeks ago, I began to notice that I seemed to be getting a number of very good parking spaces. I would go to the supermarket and someone would pull out of a space right in front of the store as I arrived. Making another trip there? Well, here’s a nice spot, right in the shade. When I arrived at work, there was a space three cars from the door. I knew that God was providing me with valet parking.

It’s not new to me, as half a dozen years ago my rabbi spoke about asking HaShem for things. It doesn’t matter how mundane they are because since everything comes from God, it’s important to acknowledge that by asking. For example, when going to buy shoes, say, “HaShem, please help me find a good pair that will fit comfortably, last a long time, and be a good price.” So, when I need to park, I pray, “Please, God, send me a good parking spot, close to the door, where it’s easy to get into.” At the mall once, my friend said, “I hope God has more important things to do than find you a parking spot.” I replied, “He doesn’t. He does everything so nothing is beneath Him.” To prove my point I offered up a little prayer, and a car pulled out from a spot right by the door. Now, I’m not saying it was because my prayers are so effective, but in that case maybe it was to show my friend that HaShem is directly and intimately involved in our day-to-day lives and, as they say, “No job is too small.”

One day I went to a shul that is notorious for a shortage of parking. I offered up my prayer, then drove to the beginning of the block, right across from the entrance, and paused for a minute. I imagined that someone might pull out any minute. As I paused, another car went around me and got a space perhaps three car lengths in front of me. I realized that had I not been waiting for a closer spot, I would have driven far enough to see that one. Instead, I ended up driving perhaps another fifty yards down the block, quite a trek in the damp, rainy air. So, was I upset that the other guy got “my spot?” Nope. Because the corollary to knowing that my close spots come from HaShem is knowing that the far ones do too. The other guy didn’t get “my spot.” He got “his” spot. In fact, I recognize that HaShem was saving the spot for him and it was never an option for me. In other words, I validate parking; I understand and acknowledge that there is a rationale beyond that which my eyes can see.

I know that nothing happens by chance, not even the seemingly mundane act of finding a parking spot. (I imagine many people agree with me that sometimes it takes a miracle to find a place to park.) I remember one evening in Manhattan when I was meeting someone at a restaurant. Looking for a spot in the pouring rain, I spied one not too far away. I parallel parked in one shot, quite impressed with my skills and thankful to God that it had been so easy. When I got out of the car, however, and saw that I had mere inches both in front and in back of my car, I knew that there was no physical way I could have made it into the spot if God had not guided me. Thankfully, when I came out, the car in front of me had left so I was able to pull right out.

As a teen, I remember one of the yeshiva faculty who would frequently park in the middle of the street, often at crazy angles to the road. In actuality, what happened was that when he arrived, people had already parked around his parking space, and he parked around them. When they left, he looked like he had chosen to park in a random area.

It happened to me at work one day. I had just given my spot at the curb to another driver and driven off. I realized I needed to go back in for a minute. Well, the driver parked in the middle of the two available spots, so I pulled up behind him, partially blocking a driveway which I believed would remain unoccupied for the next few hours. I put on my hazard lights and ran in. When I came out, I was greeted with a very comical sight. He had left, there were two free spaces, and some lunatic’s car was sitting blocking a driveway with his hazards blinking! Oh yeah, that was me. It struck me again how silly it must have looked to someone who didn’t know the back story, but since I did, I was able to validate my own parking and understand there was a reason for this scene.

I made the connection that many times in life, we see people getting what we wanted, blocking us from our goals, and seemingly looking like they randomly ended up impinging on our lives. The truth, of course, is that we don’t see what else might have been in the way that made them end up there. It was all part of HaShem’s plan to put them, and all of us, exactly where He wants us.

So now that you understand that, ask yourself this question: Will YOU validate His parking?

Jonathan Gewirtz is a prolific inspirational writer whose work has appeared in publications around the world. He also operates JewishSpeechWriter.com, where you can order a custom-made speech for your next special occasion. His book, The Observant Jew, distributed by Feldheim, is coming soon to a bookstore near you. For more information, or to sign up for or sponsor the Migdal Ohr, his weekly PDF Dvar Torah in English, e-mail [email protected] and put Subscribe or Sponsor in the subject. © 2014 by Jonathan Gewirtz. All rights reserved.

By Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz

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