Tuesday, February 9, 2010

G-d Sent Me, One of Those Siyata D'Shamaya (Hand of G-d) Stories

Today was my "day off" from caring for my father; my husband was home with him. I didn't have many plans, just a couple of errands.  One was to get my watch and watchband re-attached, again, and the other was more of the "mitzvah" type.  I had to deliver the picture CD to a Package From Home, the organization which gives gifts to Israeli IDF combat soldiers.  I also figured it would be a good idea to check up on the Lion's Den and do a bit of shuk shopping.  That was it, and I had plenty of time...if all went well.

OK, maybe it was a little risky, or irresponsible to leave the house an hour and a half before the next bus, but on a day off, one doesn't like the pressure of worrying about catching a bus, nu?  So, I very cheerfully, went out and began walking down the hill to the bus tremp stop.

I had walked most of the "almost kilometer," half mile when a neighbor came by in her car.  I figured that she was on her way to the grocers, but then she said:

"I'm going to Jerusalem."
"Perfect, great, thanks."
And I got in.  She told me that she was a bit nervous, because she wasn't familiar with the neighborhood she needed to go to.  Actually, she admitted that she doesn't know her way around Jerusalem at all.  Our Shiloh neighbors not only come from all over the world, but all over Israel, too.

I asked where exactly she needed.  For months she had wanted to go to a certain shiur (Torah study class) and this was finally the day. It wasn't in a neighborhood I knew well at all, but the street sounded familiar.  I had been there twice, when a friend sat shiva (the week of Jewish mourning) for her two parents.  I told the neighbor how I though she should go, but I couldn't promise that I was correct.  So, she said she'd try the GPS.  Par for the course and very common with a GPS, it took us in a rather roundabout way, but of course it ended up that we went to exactly the place I thought it was.

Considering all the "mikrim," the "just happened," which chazal, our sages, say are planned by G-d, I took the hint and went to the shiur with her.

It wasn't my usual shiur, it was more "chareidi," a different style.  Most of the women were wearing wigs to cover their hair.  My neighbor had a scarf, and I had one of my works of art, a hand-crocheted hat.  This one was davka larger than most, which suited the crowd there.  My color scheme of mostly grey and black also fit in with the others, but my chipped apple-green nail polish stood out.  All the other nails around the table were natural and cut to the quick. I didn't hide mine; I was crocheting.  There was no other way I could sit still.

Nu, what was this shiur about?  I'm not sure.  It just wasn't the style I'm used to.  Apparently, it was a mussar,  message for living.   At least, part of it was just my cup of tea, Hebrew grammar.  She brought up an interesting point.  The noun for "complain" is תלונה t'luna, which is in passive voice, but the verb, to complain is להתלונן lihitlonen, which is reflexive.

Now, in all honesty, I'm not quite sure what point the speaker was trying to get across, but it got me thinking.  It makes sense that the noun is derived from a passive verb, because it's about something.  A complaint has an effect, its object passive.  And what about the verb being reflexive.  Reflexive is doing something to yourself.  And when we complain we're doing something negative to ourselves.  We're not correcting the wrong; we're just complaining about it.

At this class the "regulars" asked us how/why we were there.  My neighbor gave the name of her friend who had recommended it.  I remained quiet.  I didn't really feel like telling them the true story.  G-d sent me. 


Bryan said...

That is interesting that "complaint" is passive and the verb "complain" reflexive in Hebrew. If I recall correctly, it is exactly the same in French: "to complain" is "se plaindre" ("to pity oneself") and "complaint" is "plainte" ("pity"). I don't know the etymology of the Hebrew, but the etymology of the French is just as you describe: complaining isn't positive and the person for whom it is meant is yourself.

sharona said...

I have stories similar in which I'm sent to a certain place. For example, I was waiting for a bus, and was wondering if I should go into this small store. I didn't want to miss the bus, however the store could use the business, plus I sometimes put coins in the pushka. I saw a bus coming, but it was across the street and the light was red. When it turned green, it went. I said, fine I'll go to the store :)

Keli Ata said...

You are a beautiful person, Batya:)

Batya said...

Bryan, grammar is amazing, isn't it?

sharona, I found a fantastic restaurant in Great Neck like that.

keli, I just try to let G-d lead.