A New Car – Free!
No complaining, no begging. Had we been gifted with a car without prior troubles, I never would have set aside all that time in personal prayer and gratitude.
Posted on 02.06.20
I received this fantastic story from a reader by email:
Here’s a story that happened to our family a few months ago. It continues to inspire us daily – so we wanted to share with you!
Our car was having one problem after the next. First the battery went, then the code stopped working (in Israel cars must have a code lock for security), next the lock on the hood got stuck, and did I mention that the water tank needed to be topped up daily? Then steering wheel wasn’t turning too well either…
Around the same time, inspired by Rabbi Shalom Arush’s beautiful book Say “Thank You” and See Miracles, I decided to set aside half an hour every day to practice gratitude – taking the time to thank Hashem, in my own words, for everything He has given me – the good, the seemingly not so good – everything.
Because of all these car issues, I realized that whilst I was extremely grateful we had a car – I had never set aside a significant amount of time to thank Hashem for it. In the pre-car era, for close to two years either I was taking four buses in the space of 6 hours to get my kids to and from school, or my husband was somehow shlepping them all by bike. And if the weather was really crazy – we were all really stuck.
So I thanked Hashem for all the many times the car did work and all the days we were able to get to school just fine. I thanked Him for every part of the car that was working, for the miracle of how we got it in the first place (which is another whole story…) and so on.
And now our salvation! One night I ended up in a neighborhood in Jerusalem, to show someone some of my artwork they were considering buying. I was just chatting and happened to tell her some of the latest drama stories with our car. Not only did she decide to buy two original paintings, but she added that they’re looking to give away their old eight seater Toyota Previa – and want to give it only to someone who really wants it – it’s old but it works fine – do we want it?
And yes I could technically take it tonight but she prefers to give it to me fully serviced and with a new battery. So would I be ok to wait a week?
To say I was blown off my feet is an understatement. After asking her about twenty times if she’s sure she doesn’t want to sell it to us, I said I’d just double check with my husband but I’m pretty sure we’d love to have it.
The strange thing for me was that I had not even once asked Hashem for a car. My experience and relationship with Hashem until that point was that if I really felt I needed something, I would beg Him for it – and would sometimes get it.
This was so much more beautiful. No complaining, no begging, no crying. Had we been gifted with a car without any prior troubles I never would have set aside all that time in personal prayer and gratitude. I never would have appreciated the many gifts in life I have. I never would have had the opportunity to start to get a glimpse of the real meaning of prayer, joy and life.
This is the wonder of saying “thank you.” Rabbi Arush comments about a time in his life when he was in tremendous debt. He cried and prayed for months asking Hashem to help him understand what he needed to do teshuva for, knowing that “there is no suffering without sin.” Repent for the sin and the suffering is cancelled!
He said, “I did not know back then the power of saying thank you. If I did, I would have only thanked Hashem for the debts. OK, it’s good to actually request what you need. So maybe I would have spent 59 minutes thanking Hashem, and then spent the last minute asking Hashem to please show me what I need to rectify. And I am sure that I would have suffered much less, and my debt problems would have been fixed even faster!”
As Rabbi Arush also likes to quip: “Prayers have to go through many gates in order to be accepted. It’s true that the gate of tears is never locked, but that is only tears of sincere repentance and a broken heart that wants to return to Hashem. But with gratitude – THERE ARE NO GATES!”
It is also a sign of saying thank you without just wanting Hashem “to fix the problem already” and now your hishtadlut (personal efforts) are to say “thank you” since that will “work” to get what you want, when we can thank Hashem for the suffering in retrospect, because it brought us closer to Hashem. So it’s worth it! This is the universal good in all suffering – that it pushes us to become more spiritual beings, closer to Hashem, and work on ourselves.
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