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I had to travel overseas this week. Nothing new to me, as you well know. Except that this time my computer carry-bag containing my passport, credit cards, cash, and important documents, was stolen – literally yesterday (Tuesday, as I write this piece from a plane). My knee-jerk reaction was to temporarily block my credit cards, which I did. It quickly dawned on me that I was penniless, ID-less, and very stuck. As that awareness seeped in, I began to feel a degree of acute vulnerability.

Have you ever felt highly vulnerable? Like literally lost in the wilderness?  But my residual Emuna and Bitachon began kicking-in, after the initial shock of loss, (and spiritual forgetfulness). The realization dawned: I was most certainly not alone! Fortunately, I was in a city where two of my sons live and so at least I had a roof over my head.  Then mindfulness (Da’at) began to kick in, like a slow-acting medicine. And as this seeped deeply into my consciousness, I gave myself an opportunity to objectify: there must be a reason why this is happening to me.  I missed my connecting flight as I had no ID. So the classic thought arose: Perhaps I was being saved from a flight that was doomed? I immediately rejected such an awful thought which necessitated people dying if it were to occur. (And I haven’t heard of any crashes, thank G-d) 

So do I know why this incident has happened to me? No. At least not yet. And maybe never.  But I know that it is purposeful, and that there is something to be learned and gained from it, if not immediately then later, if not for me then for others. That’s the Torah concept of Hashgacha Pratit:  that everything that occurs is Divinely intentional and purposeful.

I will leave out an exciting middle of the story so that I have something intriguing to share with you upon my return, but within nine hours I had my bag back with everything in it intact (including a proper Mezuza that I always keep in the bag), despite it being stolen and the police searching for it unsuccessfully.  That’s the Mission Impossible element of the story for which you will have to practice delayed gratification – better known by us as savlanut!

Yes, we Jews have oft felt vulnerable, like in the Sinai wilderness of old and the present Sinai wilderness of Gaza. But there was, and is, purpose.  There was and is intention. And such faith is exactly what we all need to practice today, when we are being challenged again, world-wide.

Let’s all work through our personal wilderness, defying vulnerability and uncertainty, employing the tools of Emuna and Bitachon. Remember: Every challenge is purposeful .