I had an incredible experience at the Kotel today. My day began with a trip to Geula to buy new tzits-tzits for my son. From there I walked to Ben Yehuda to purchase some inexpensive craft items for a friendship event we’re hosting for 6 boys from his class tomorrow. When my shopping tasks were completed I decided I needed to go to the Kotel and daven, so I walked down Yaffa and through the Arab shuk to the Kotel. On my way in, I gave tzedakah (charity), as is my practice, and found myself suddenly surrounded by dozens of women loudly demanding money and grabbing at me. My immediate response was annoyance and judgment of their chutzpah; I kept saying “rega” (wait) while trying to find more money in my bag. In between their demands I told them “baali ayn parnassah” – the closest I could come in my infantile level of Hebrew to “my husband doesn’t have a job”. In a completely out-of-character act, I gave myself a mental slap reminding me that it is all Hashem’s money anyway, and gave more than I had planned. Still more were coming and following me to the Wall. Where were they coming from? As I was feeling overwhelmed, an older woman stopped them and told them to leave me alone while I prayed.
In my sandstone colored outfit I tried to disappear into the Wall. As I laid my hands on the Kotel and pressed my head into the stone, the fountains opened up and I poured my heart out envisioning my words and tears ascending to Heaven.
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
When I felt the tension that has been building for months releasing, I backed a few feet away and sat on the first empty chair I could see through my blurred eyes. Suddenly I was surrounded by a large group who were showering me with brachot (blessings), during and after asking why I was crying. I don’t speak Hebrew well, but amazingly we were able to communicate. The lady in the teal and fuchsia outfit suggested we look into potential employment in the Galil, the dark skinned woman dressed head-to-toe in navy argued for Tel Aviv. I glanced up the Wall and into the sunny blue sky for guidance as my future was being planned by these well-meaning members of my adopted extended family.
As I backed away from the Kotel, an entourage joined me and every 20 feet or so someone else came and hugged me and gave me another bracha. By the time I reached the entrance, a grandmotherly woman motioned for me to sit on a white plastic chair as she cleaned it off and poured me cold cup of Coke. I understood that she wanted to hear my story as she asked “lama” (why?) and used her fluttering fingers in front of her face to act out crying. When I was done, with tears streaming down my face, she laid her hands on my head and gave me brachot for parnassah (income/sustenance) AND refuah sheleima (healing). I hadn’t told anyone that I was also there because I have to go for a second mammogram on Wednesday due to something indiscernible on the first one. I burst into tears and she held, hugged and kissed me like a mother. Then she held me by the shoulders, and sternly told me that I was to stop crying and thank Hashem for the gifts He is giving me and that everything is going to be okay.
Around 1:30 I headed toward the Dung Gate in the blazing sun and walked up the hill to catch the number one bus. While waiting for almost half an hour in a large crowd, I became aware that despite the sun’s position we were being provided with shade and a nice breeze. The realization that Hashem provided us with this minor pleasure encouraged me that He will take care of our important needs. I found a lone seat on the bus and reflected on how fortunate I am that when I am troubled I can hop on a bus and run to the Holiest place on earth for a heart-to-heart with my Creator.
1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains: from whence shall my help come?
2 My help cometh from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
A few hours later I returned home to learn that my husband had a great telephone interview for a job he hadn’t applied to (someone had forwarded his CV to this company). The result was positive and he is to meet with the decision makers later this week. He also should find out tomorrow whether or not the company he interviewed with last week is going to extend him an offer – they were excited about his combination of computer and chemical engineering skills. And while I was preparing this blog post, I received an unsolicited job offer (for a job I didn’t apply to, from a man who found my Web site via my signature line in a Yahoo e-mail list post) for writing work I can do from home. B”H
I encourage all of you who are “on the fence” about whether or not the time is right to make Aliyah, to come home now. Where else in the world can you experience the type of day I had today? You don’t need the ruby red slippers, just repeat after me: “There’s no place like home. This isn’t home. I want to go home”. Now go to the Nefesh B’Nefesh Web site and fill out the appropriate application.