Every day, twice a day, I praise G-d who sustains the living with kindness, revives the dead with great mercy, supports the fallen, heals the sick, and releases the imprisoned. Sometimes I concentrate on the figurative aspect of the words. Other times, I am sorry to admit, I recite it by rote. Lately, however, I have been focusing on the prayer literally. This is because almost four weeks earlier, on the second night of Rosh Hashanah, I fell flat on my back.Fortunately, I did not have a concussion. Nor did I injure my spine. All I did was break my right arm. And I am right-handed.
We are taught that when something bad happens we should not ask lamah, why. Rather we should ask l’mah, for what. In other words, instead of whining about my broken arm I needed to try to decide what I could learn from the experience.
I found myself leafing through a book of psalms with my left hand on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. Suddenly my eyes caught the words to psalm 137, If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget (its skill). No, I shook my head. That could not be the reason for my broken arm. I think about Jerusalem daily and I long for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Anyone who reads my articles knows this is true.
My articles! Suddenly I remembered one of the articles I wrote for Elul, Repentance Without an Apology. Years ago I had raised my hand to a wild teenager who was spitting out the window of the bus I was on. I had never apologized for raising my hand to a fellow Jew. Could this be the reason for my broken arm? I took my thoughts further. After writing the said article I realized that I had a problem with giving playful slaps to my grown son. I vowed not to do it again. Could the broken arm be a reminder not to raise my hand at all?It could be HaShem wanted me to learn an entirely different lesson, perhaps patience. Or maybe he wanted me to be less proud and be willing to rely on others for help. I can only guess at what I am supposed to learn.
I do hope, however, that when I get my cast off, hopefully soon, that I will be able to look back at the experience and know I have grown from it. After all, it’s all from HaShem. If all’s well, next month I will have an easier time writing with two hands and there will be more articles on the blog. Chodesh Tov! Have a good month.