By Ariella Bracha Waldinger
Salvation on the Heels of Death
One year ago, during the holy, joyous festival of Chanukah, that celebrates the epic miracles wrought by G-d on behalf of the Jewish people, death claimed the husband of a dear friend named Shoshana. Shoshana is a healer, a PHD homeopath, energy practitioner, medical intuit and all around wise woman who has spent her life helping and healing others.
Shoshana’s husband had cancer for more than a year and they both did their best to stem the tide of its advancement but to no avail. As the end drew near, the family gathered together at the hospice. It had been a long and difficult journey but Shoshanah remained at his bedside and was present as his soul left his body. She knew his time was winding down, due to her experiences with death and dying over the years. It gave her the knowledge to read the signs and yet it caught her off guard that it happened erev Shabbos Chanukah. The adult children had made plans to stay nearby for Shabbos, but Shoshana had planned to be home.
The time of his passing was 3:20pm, Friday afternoon and Shabbos was beckoning her with its early candle lighting time constraints. Shoshana was forced to leave him very quickly in order to get home to light her Chanukah candles before her Shabbat candles. The situation was tense and emotions were vibrating throughout her body. As she exited the hospice at 3:35pm, she was completely emotionally disarmed by the sight that befell her. Everything was blanketed in thick, heavy fog with extremely limited visibility. The darkness and heaviness seemed to be mimicking her feelings of loss and grief. The poor visibility was strange and unexpected at that time of day but the most eerie component was the veil of stillness that engulfed the area. This factor too felt like a mirror of her inner world that had become hushed by the deep loss of her husband. It was an eerie feeling that sent shivers up her spine. It felt as if nature was concealing its light and grieving along with her.
Shoshana was physically exhausted, emotionally numb and desperately needing a way to get home. By now, taxis were no longer operational due to the approach of Shabbos and she had no car. Shoshana immediately raised her eyes heavenwards and asked G-d to send her salvation i.e., a miracle. I have no idea if she had a conscious awareness of the spiritual energies for miracles and salvation contained in the month, due to her intense grief. But regardless of her state of mind, a magnificent miracle would soon manifest as a precious Chanukah gift, given directly by the hand of G-d in the Land of Miracles at the time of miracles.
While assessing the dilemma of getting home, Shoshana became alerted to a sound in the distance. She began to peer intensely through the fog, looking around because she thought she was hearing what sounded like a very old car chug chugging along. It sounded slow but seemed to be steadily moving in her direction. Suddenly, a car emerged out of the dense fog. It was not a private car but an old, beat up taxi driven by an old Arab man in a kefiah (Arab head scarf). The sequence of events presenting itself felt like a spellbinding scene in a movie thriller and she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as the old Arab man in the miracle taxi asked her if she needed a ride.
Shoshana quickly jumped in and told him her husband had just left the world and she needed to get home fast. She said, I do not even know what time Shabbos starts. He responded, “Shabbos starts at 4:09pm, get in and I will get you home.” He sped along the deserted, fog laden streets racing against time to deliver her straight to her door, in time to light her Chanukah candles and then her Shabbos candles. Her inner intuition told her she was going to make it home in time and she took a deep breath, fell back against the seat and relaxed for the first time in months. It seemed to her, as if the car was flying and suddenly she was home. She quickly opened the door handle to run inside her house, but before departing asked the old Arab man, “How much do I owe you?” He said, “Nothing, go light your candles!”
Shoshana raced in the door, her mind a whirl of thoughts, feelings and emotions. As she prepared to get things in order and light her Chanukah candles, she wondered if the taxi ride with the old Arab had been a dream. She ran to the window to search for his taxi but there was nothing other than fog staring her in the face. Shoshana had no time to process her feelings about the miracle G-d had personally wrought for her but as she lit her Chanukah candles and said the blessing after kindling the lights “We kindle these lights to commemorate the saving acts, miracles and wonders which You have performed for our forefather and for us,” the reality hit her full force. She felt G-ds divine presence through the miracle and it enabled her to chase away the shadow of death that lay upon her heart. G-ds salvation blanketed her in a feeling of comfort as she felt His warm embrace through His miraculous intervention. Shoshana continued on with the last part of the blessing…..”To offer thanks and praise to your great Name for Your miracles, for Your wonders and for Your salvations.” Shoshana would be forever grateful for G-ds kindness during this time of intense grief and loss and, she would strive to tell over, every year the story of “A modern Chanukah Miracle on the heels of death.”
May this miraculous month of Kislev be a time of much needed miracles for the Jewish nation the world over but especially in Eretz Yisrael. May we strive for awareness of the constant miracles G-d performs for each of us. May we express daily our gratitude for G-ds protection and miracles throughout Jewish history and plead that HE continue to do so especially in the Holy Land. May we also merit great healing on all levels during this miraculous month of Kislev. May all our efforts to bring light into the world bring about the final redemption with Moshiach and the Beit HaMikdash in Eretz HaKodesh.
With Bountiful Blessings of Love and Light and Healing, Ariella Bracha