Who’s Pulling the Strings?

  1. Azar


When your baby has the sniffles for a month and coughs louder than a lawn mower straight through the night, you know you’re overdue for a trip to the pediatrician. But when the poor little one runs a high fever, and his exuberant love of food vanishes, you actually get behind the wheel and go there. Which is what I did when, a couple of weeks ago, my one-year-old exhibited all of the above symptoms and worse.  

I sat in the waiting room, vulnerable to germs creeping into my body from the twelve boys and girls in the waiting room who were in serious need of tissues. My baby was restless and cranky and, I confess, so was I. Watching Uncle Moishy happily singing and dancing on the screen did nothing to mitigate my cantankerous mood.  

Augmentin to the Rescue  

“Bronchitis,” the doctor pronounced when I was called into a room three Uncle Moishy videos later. “I’ll call in Augmentin to be delivered right away.” Yippee. That should do it, I thought.  

But it didn’t. The Augmentin did not work. Neither did some of the natural remedies I tried. My baby continued to run a high fever and starve himself. (We’re talking about a tot that can easily down a challah roll, two lahemagines, and a bowl of rice and peas in one sitting!) A week passed, and we visited Doc twice more in that time. Finally, he threw his hands up and declared that “the Augmentin did not work” and to stop administering it pronto.  

I realized, suddenly, that I had made a terrible mistake all along. I was totally dependent on Augmentin for my son’s speedy recovery. Augmentin and nothing else. In my mind, it was the Augmentin that had the “power” to heal – which is, of course, not the case at all. Hashem has the power to heal! I should have been relying on and praying to Him! I knew it, I believed it, but I failed to apply it. Right! I remembered. We take the medicine because of the commandment to exert minimal effort, but ultimately, Hashem decides if and when the efforts we apply will bear fruit.  

Hashem to the Rescue 

Thank Gd, my son’s fever vanished right away, and he ate a dinner large enough for three. 

That is an essential theme in the Purim story. When we read the megillah, we don’t see Hashem’s name anywhere; the Jewish plight seems bleak, and He seems so far. At the end, we see how Hashem had been pulling the strings all along, and we read about how He overturned everything instantly and saved His children from annihilation.  

I have since pinpointed lots of other instances where I expected things to proceed in a certain manner and was then shown Who really pulls the strings. 

Recently, I received a very unusual bill in the mail. But first, a little background… 

I’m still recovering from a certain mail-related trauma. You see, as a kid, I always loved getting mail. Each day, I’d tear into the house after school and run to the mail slot. Usually, there was nothing addressed to me in the hunk of envelopes. But occasionally there was, and I’d be overjoyed. Over the years, I’ve received letters from friends, themed postcards from the camp’s head counselors, wedding invitations, and paychecks. What’s not to love? But when I married and began receiving bills in the mail, my attitude toward mail shifted. 

At first, I’d run to my mailbox to see what I got. I’d turn up my nose in distaste when I’d realize it was just a bill. Eventually, I grew accustomed to the contents of envelopes asking me to pay them money (“them” being the phone, water, electric, gas… companies). Oh well. 

But, the other day, something incredible happened. I halfheartedly tore open the envelope with the gas company’s logo and, behold, there was a check – a real check! – inside. And it was made out to me! The gas people were paying me money! It was Hashem whispering in my ear, “I am the One who distributes money, and I can accomplish that even in the most unlikely fashion.” 

 My child, His message recurs, I am the one pulling the strings.