May 25, 2024
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Nearing Yom Kippur: What Control Do We Really Have?

I used to wonder, during the many years I spent as a travel agent, about clients who would return with their families from their “school break” vacations to Florida and immediately call to book their next adventure for the following school break. Airline computers systems were not programmed so far ahead in scheduling so we, as travel agents, had special numbers to call in order to reserve seats for 12 months later. In my mind I would privately admire that they could plan so far ahead.

During the past summer my daughter Malkie was planning to spend several days with me and her sisters, and although we usually take each day as it comes, this time we planned specific activities for each day. Needless to say, with all of our planning, she and I both ended up being sick and the entire trip was canceled. So much for planning.

Yet, I think that the pièce de résistance  of planning and assuming that everything would be fine was the astounding—and for some, tear-jerking—occurrence on the football field several weeks ago when, with all the hype surrounding Aaron Rodgers joining the Jets (and many assuming that this would be a shoo-in for the Jets to secure a spot in the Super Bowl), what happened?? Just a few minutes into the game he experienced a catastrophic injury, and an announcement the next day came that he would be out for the entire season. What happened to their plan? How much money was spent on getting him to join the Jets roster? Oy, nebech, as any good Jew would say.

Do all of these advance plans teach us anything? How much power do we have in making plans? I realized quite a while ago that our powers are very limited. How many times does a person get a bleak diagnosis and then you hear that they have lived many more years than was ever expected, and then there are cases where a diagnosis looks amazingly positive, before you know it, the person is no more? Did the doctors make a mistake, or at a certain point are things out of the hands of the physicians?

How frequently does one hear that a child from a Modern Orthodox family has decided to follow a different derech and either becomes more yeshivish or in some cases not Torah-observant anymore? Was that something that parents could have controlled? Was it something they anticipated? I am sure not.

Young couples marry after checking the compatibility of the families, the backgrounds and everything else, and then six months later the community is shocked to hear they are no longer married. No one ever anticipated such an outcome.

Couples who are desperate to have a child and others who complain that their children make too much noise and are out of control. Hashem, why?

Men and women living full yet complicated lives wondering why they have not yet found their partner. Surely they have done everything that they thought was correct, and little is happening.

I am sure that everyone can think of a situation in their lives where they have at one time or another sat down and pleaded with Hashem and asked Him why things are happening. Believe me, I have had many talks with Him in the past, and still do.

Now at the cusp of this holiest day on the Jewish calendar, when we pour out our hearts to HKBH, we need to continue to rely on His wisdom. I continue to do so with the feeling that I was never born with a mind capable of understanding how things are decided. I continue to remind myself of the nissim which exist all around us and how fortunate I am to be a part of this world, even though there are times when I am totally lost in comprehending Hashem’s ways.


Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

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