glasses from Meron victims
glasses from Meron victimsPolice spokesperson

We no longer have Nevi’im (prophets); Ruach haKodesh (the Divine Spirit) is rare, if at all, to be found in our generation, and we are long past the time of the miracles of yetzias Mitzrayim, and kriyas yam suf (our totally miraculous redemption from slavery in Egypt by the Al-mighty and the splitting of the Sea of Reeds).

So, where can we find some external phenomenon or force to strengthen our emunah- our whole-hearted faith and trust in G-d that He is real, that He is with us at all times and, as Ramban (Nachmanides) teaches, there is nothing that happens in the life of a Jew that is not above the laws of nature, directed by G-d?

There remains one small, obscure, seemingly insignificant source—the tefillah “amar Rabi Binyomin”, the prayer to find lost objects of the Tanna (Talmudic Sage), Rabbi Meir Ba’al HaNeis, Rabbi Meir the “master of miracles,” who promised, before his passing, that anyone who recited this prayer and gave tzedakah, charity, for the elevation of his soul was guaranteed to find that object, in the proximity where it was lost, as long as it still “exists” in the world. i.e. it was not thrown into the sea, the garbage, flushed into the sewer, etc.

I have recited this short prayer and given tzedakah innumerable times, and it has never failed, once, but a recent experience literally shook me to the core. Every day in the Shachris (morning) prayers we recite “Birchas haShachar” , the “morning blessings”, 15 blessings of praise and thanks to the Almighty for all the miraculous things He does for us, so often taken for granted, like our sight, our ability to move our limbs, our clothing, etc. Among them is the blessing in which we thank HaShem “Blessed are You, our G-d, Master of the universe, who has provided me all my needs.” One of the “kavanahs” the intent of our hearts that the Sages have said we should have when reciting this blessing is that we have shoes!

After all, if we had no shoes, a most basic commodity, we could not leave our house. How could we go to pray, to work, to shop, to the doctor, etc. if we were bereft of this most basic need? And, since we believe that ultimately everything is determined by and comes from the kindness of the Al-mighty, we thank Him for this most basic need that allows us to, thereafter, acquire our other needs.

Since I require glasses for both distant vision and reading, I try always to be careful to have this in mind, also, when I recite this blessing. So, I was particularly disconcerted when I recently lost my glasses. I dutifully recited the prayer of Rabbi Meir, set aside charity for the elevation of his soul, and added the recitation of a few chapters of tehilim (psalms), asking Hashem to please help me find them. Well, usually within two or three days max, the lost object will be found—sometimes it takes longer, and lo and behold, in my search for the glasses (after all, we do have to make some effort, ourselves) I actually found a valuable eraser I had lost and an old pair of glasses, but to my chagrin, not the glasses I was looking for and needed. I waited and waited, searched two or three times, but nothing showed up. And I was particularly unsettled because I was 99%, if not 100% sure I remembered the last time I had worn them, while lying in bed reading before going to sleep.

A full week passed, and I had pretty much given up, resolved to the fact that I would have to buy a new pair, an unexpected and by no means small expense for a tight budget. Since the supermarket where I do most of my shopping is less than a half mile from my home, I took my trusty shopping cart off the doorknob where it hung, folded, in my front hallway, pulled it behind me up the steps and out onto the sidewalk, then pulled it behind me the whole trek to the supermarket, where I unfolded it and did my shopping, all the while looking into the bottom of the cart as I placed objects into it, both large and small, some quite heavy-enough to break the frame of any pair of glasses. Then, I pushed the cart home the half mile distance, and when I arrived home, I guided the cart, full of groceries, down the steps clunking heavily at each step.

When I reached the bottom of the steps I emptied the contents of the cart, carrying everything into the kitchen. And, just as I was about to fold the cart and place it back on its original resting place on the doorknob, I peered into the cart, and lo and behold, there were my glasses, partially opened, unscathed and unscratched, sitting placidly in the bottom of the cart.

Now considering my clear recollection of the last time I wore them, considering all that they would have been subjected to from the time I left my house to my return, had they been there all the time, and considering how many times I had looked into the bottom of the cart while shopping, I have only one explanation---at that moment or shortly before, when I was ready to hang the cart back on the doorknob, a malach (angel) had deftly deposited them there in my clear sight. Praise to the Al-mighty and praise to Rabbi Meir in whose merit my glasses were found!