Posts Tagged With: #Levites

Four Levites, Four Hours, and Redemption

Four Levites, Four Hours, and Redemption 

Looking over the chapter listings in the Table of Contents in my upcoming book to be published, I thought to myself there needs to be another chapter. Needless to say, I didn’t realize Hashem would create hashgacha pratit (Divine Providence) in the near future until the spring of June 2019. What I am about to share is very true, raw, and incredible.

My beloved family (myself included) had no idea our path ahead was the entrance into a battlefield; facing death in a blink of an eye. The day after an amazing family dinner gathering in our home, Hashem sent forth a trail that would rock us to our core; trusting Hashem with everything a man has within. Our lesson would teach us gam zu’ l’tovahthis too is for the best.

We (my husband, son, daughter, and I) endured a very difficult tribulation that affected us physically; penetrating every emotion (thrown in all directions), thought process, measure of the heart, life, breath, love, fear, discouragement, pain, injuries, humbleness, gratefulness, compassion, endurance, and forgiveness. This placed us at the door of death and life.

Who is the key holder?

I will place the keys of David’s palace on his shoulders; and what he unlocks none may shut, and what he locks none may open.” (Isaiah/ Yeshayah 22:22)[1]

“In token of abundant authority And of peace without limit Upon David’s throne and kingdom, That it may be firmly established In justice and in equity Now and evermore. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts Shall bring this to pass.” (Isaiah/ Yeshayah 9:6)[2]

The story begins:

My sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew arrived from California for a mini vacation, with plans to fly home. They joined us for dinner, along with my lovely and amazing Mom. The table was beautifully set; the food was amazing, sharing delicious Jewish dishes. They had brought up our SUV. A friend of theirs had given it to us. They have a soft heart for children with special needs, and with their loving generosity, they gifted it to us. They said it was a “tank” and that we would love it. My brother-in-law, who is an awesome mechanic, did some repairs before the arrival.

After dinner, they left our beautiful truck [the best vehicle we’ve ever owned our entire lives!]; returning to my Mom’s home in her car. The following day, we got the truck registered, put on new license plates and set off on a wonderful scenic drive to a bird sanctuary for a peaceful family drive.

Returning home, my husband was driving, our kids were in bucket seats, and I had dozed off. I was awakened to my husband yelling, a sudden change in motion of the brakes, and an extremely hard hit by a truck slamming into my side. We were T-boned! A speeding (angry) driver failed to yield the stop sign. On impact, we were instantly airborne which rolled us over to the driver’s side. At the point of rolling, skidding on its side, hearing the crunching of metal, and seeing the severely broken and cracked windshield around the sides of the airbags, I began screaming, “G-d please help us, G-d please help us!”

My husband held on to the steering wheel with both hands; keeping his arm from amputation from the opened window while the truck was skidding on the driver’s side along the road, down an embankment, into a field! Our truck flipped back up, landing on its tires.  By all rights of gravity, the truck should have rolled more; however, something “Mighty” stopped the truck. Our truck flipped back up on its tires where it rested. My daughter called out for “G-d” about the same time I did. She said she saw a bright light (covering/shield) around us when the truck suddenly came back up on its tires and rested– hashgacha pratit!

When the truck stopped, steam from the heating cord (radiator) was coming in at me. The mixture of steam, the smell of the “firecracker elements” (airbags deployed at 135 mph), and with the dust from the gravel sediments, I thought the engine was going to ignite. I went into hysterics; trying to open my side of the door to help my children! People came running into the field to help us [my husband told them to get me out of the truck]. Someone, obviously, called 911 as soon as we were hit (7:26 pm recorded time). The Firetruck, Ambulance, and Police arrived within minutes. Two people helped get our son out of the truck. One of those helpers was the man who hit us. Additional care was taken for our son as he has Cerebral Palsy, shunts for hydrocephalus, and he’s nonverbal with additional disabilities.

The passenger doors were smashed in so extensively that the inside door handles were completely broken, hanging by its wires. The doors on the passenger’s side were smashed in eighteen inches and partially ripped from its hinges. There was so much damage! Our Limited Sequoia was totaled, as well as the other driver’s truck. We are very grateful that the original owners had added more airbags (wrap-around curtain), customized bucket seats, and more; creating additional impact protection!

The Fire Department covered a very large area on the street with cat litter because of the excess oil and other fluids that spilled from both trucks. Someone found our daughter’s eyeglasses in the street, ruined. Our son’s eyeglasses were located in the field. The other driver’s hood on his truck looked like an accordion, crushed to the windshield. A policeman told me that the street looked like a “Garage Sale.”

I want to add an interesting moment that took place. A woman approached me, smiled and told me it was good news that my necklace was still intact. My necklace has the Star of David, and the Shema (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9).

It reads: “שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד”

Hear O’ Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One. (The Shema is a beautiful Jewish prayer that is recited twice daily. The Shema was also prayed on Mount Sinai upon when the Jews, and mixed multitude received the giving of the Torah and were sealed into Hashem’s covenant).

We were treated on the scene and released. But not before Hashem opened a door for me to share with the good citizens, policemen, firefighters, EMT’s, and the other driver that the mercy (rachamim) of G-d protected us all. There should have been fatalities, yet we all walked away from two totaled trucks. G-d’s Hand was upon us. While sharing how G-d protected us, I pointed at our truck and shared about the loving people who gifted us, even though it’s totaled, we were protected. I further said that life is precious and it can’t be replaced. Hashem found favor (Chen) in us—B”H!

I don’t recall anyone responding back, but I do remember one EMT gentleman continually watched and listened. I also shared with the other driver that I had forgiven him and I would be praying for his situation. He stopped in his footsteps, looked at me, and in a somber voice he thanked me. He is a young man of twenty-five years of age who didn’t heed the “stop sign.” I pray Hashem opened a doorway of divine healing for him; bursting forth a new outlook in life, being refreshed in Hashem’s Light!

My brother-in-law came to get us at the accident scene and safely got us home. Arriving home in the driveway, I broke down crying. I told my brother-in-law how scared I was; expressing my sadness for what happened to the truck that was gifted, the hard work, love given, and time it took to get it to us (one thousand miles apart). But the bottom line is: Life is precious, it can’t be replaced! The love of others and the hand of G-d saved our lives!

Hashem saved us with the gift of life (Chai); giving everyone a second chance to determine our direction in life and choices. Will we stay in the “Fastlane” seeking worldly desires that offers emptiness, deceitfulness, masquerades, and dead ends? Will we use the time Hashem has given us wisely that is pleasing to Hashem?  Do we love Hashem enough to walk, speak, breathe life of Hashem’s goodness, and study Torah teachings, daven (prayers) with blessings daily? If not, why? Ha’satan’s (Satan’s) greatest weapon is man’s ignorance of G-d’s Davar/word.

We need to have complete Teshuvah (repentance, returning to Hashem) with a change of heart, a desire to be in Hashem’s covenant; living in obedience to Hashem’s word. We are given “Stop Signs” in life. We are to have wisdom and discernment to heed before entering our next path. Let’s be like a Jacob (one who studies Torah), not an Esau (running wild, untamed).

Let’s continue the story: 

Thankfully, everyone was responsible to have worn seat belts. As the night progressed, the aches and pains set in. The next day, my sister and brother-in-law took the four of us to Urgent Care for evaluations and X-rays. We suffered from severe bruising, swelling, contusions, abrasions, seat belt trauma, and pain. Additionally, our son sustained a fractured knuckle and I had a severe concussion. By the second day after the rollover accident, I was experiencing loss of balance, impaired cognitive skills, extremely light sensitivity [covering my eyes inside my home while talking to others], and some confusion. We also were having nightmares from the accident.

My husband and sister took me to the Emergency Room. CT scans and more tests were run. It was confirmed that I was to be on complete concussion protocol. Our children and I followed up with additional medical care for months.

Hashem will continue to heal our Souls, mend our hurting hearts, and restore us physically and spiritually during our journey in the Wilderness.

Why so downcast, my soul, why disquieted within me? Have hope in G-d; I will yet praise Him, my ever-present help, my G-d.” (Psalms/ Tehillim 42:12)[3]

Hashem answered our pleas for help with Hashem’s Chesed and an out-stretched Arm. Hashem’s blessings and chen came from those who ran down the embankment to help us, strangers who offered a soft blanket to sit on [to not have to sit in the weeds, gravel and dirt], and my dear family (sister, brother-in-law, niece & nephew) who stayed with us; offering love, help, prayers, and support! Hashem sends the people who will respond (Mitzvoth).

Baruch Hashem (Blessed is G-d) to have received assistance with our care, as well as concerned phone calls, texts, prayers, visits, rides to medical appointments, meals, groceries, medical supplies, light house cleaning, yard work, and more good deeds for three weeks! Love poured out with Hashem’s help. Baruch Hashem for He is Good and Faithful. His Chesed was sent to us in many ways! His kindness endures forever!

Let’s take this to a deeper level of understanding while looking at some connections. I don’t know the ultimate reason why this event happened, but names, times, dates, and numbers have a significant purpose and a function.

  • Sequoia: Sequoia trees are also known as “Sequoiadendron giganteum.” They are the largest trees on Earth, and endangered. These fantastic trees of awe can live over two thousand years, and reach enormous heights topping three hundred and fifty feet high. Standing next to a giant magnificent Sequoia tree, we as human beings are very small in size. We are but a speck in comparison. How does this resemble the Jewish people? “‘A Sequoia’s roots “are so shallow that it can hardly stand up to a strong breeze” says Rabbi Dannel Schwartz.  So how is it that this extraordinary species is able to grow so large and live so long?  The answer is simple – the trees spring up in groves and their roots intertwine.  Or as Rabbi Schwartz says “they hold each other up – they give each other the strength necessary to withstand the angriest winds.[…] As Frankl himself said “the more one forgets himself – by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love – the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself.’”[4]

 

Doesn’t this resemble the life story of the Jewish people? Our lifelong generations continue to overcome with unity. Have we not held up one another, like a tree, for over thousands years through the harshest of storms, and through winds of terror during the evilest of times? And here we are! There is strength in numbers. We need to stand together in unity, like roots, take hold of each other, not divided. When we come together, we can block out the “angriest winds.” Hashem’s Light is Life.

 

  • Date: June 17, Jewish calendar of Sivan 14. Sivan was covered in “In Flight for Life” chapter. Fourteen is a multiple seven, which means a “Double measure.” The Hebrew letter of fourteen is Nun. Nun means “fish” and “Life.” Hashem gives us life. Fish are also connected to Day Five of Creation–taking the Torah out to the Nations, rapidly.
  • David’s name has a gematria value of 14 (dalet, vav, dalet).
  • Time: The time of the accident was given at 7:267-26: The gematria of seven means completeness, stability, wholeness, ripeness. The Sabbath was sanctified by G-d on the seventh day of Creation. Day Seven of Creation is Holy (Shabbat/Shabbos/Sabbath). There are six days of labor, and the seventh is complete, to rest. The gematria of seven is Zayin, which means sword, to arm. Completion. “26”: G-d’s four-lettered sacred name that means: “The One Who is, Who was, and Who will be” which is Hashem’s Divine Name in the Torah. The true pronunciation of Hashem’s Name remains “hidden” in plain sight. We are to call out in the Name of Hashem, our G-d, for He is our Father in the Highest Heaven. Man had to wait twenty-six generations before receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai through Moses (Moshe). “The very act of serving G-d is the vehicle to reveal G-d.[5] Our existence isn’t for self-glorification, but to glorify G-d. When we truly live our life in Torah, “And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the LORD’s name is proclaimed over you, and they shall stand in fear of you.”[6]
  • The truck rested on four tires. Creation Day Four is to have authority to Govern, to have “Rulership.” The sun, moon, and stars were created on Day Four. The sun, moon, and stars are the natural light that separates the darkness. There are also Four Rivers of Eden. We are to wear tzit-tziyot (Tzit-tzits) on all four corners of our garments.

 

  • There were four Levites on board. The Levites only had the Limited Sequoia in their names for four hours.

 

  • The license plates given had the number of 713. “7” was already covered above. “13”: A powerful meaning in the Hebrew gematriot value that means “Love” and “Oneness.” It’s the connection that binds the eternal love of G-d and Israel in “Covenant” as Hashem’s “Set Apart” people (those who are Torah Observant and living Torah). The Jew and those who are in covenant with Hashem recognize that G-d is the Creator, and center of the Universe. When G-d revealed to Moses His 13 Attributes of Mercy, it was the most powerful expression of love, compassion G-d had given to His people: Love, Compassion, Covenant, and Eternity.

 

  • The Rose has thirteen petals: Zohar 1:1a teaches that: It is written, as a rose among the thorns …the rose is the Assembly of Israel. Because there is a rose and there is a rose, just as a rose among thorns is tinged with red and white, the Assembly of Israel consists of judgment and mercy. Just as a rose has thirteen petals, the Assembly of Israel is surrounded on all sides by the thirteen attributes. Hashem will safeguard her. And like Israel, and the Thirteen Attributes of G-d’s Mercy, He safeguarded us too.
  • Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) G-d speaks His unremitting love of Israel: “I am for My Beloved, and My Beloved is for Me.” The acronym Elul (the sixth on the Jewish calendar which means “to search.”) means “Ani l’ dodi lil.”

It’s interesting to note that the Shechinah resided in their midst of the Mishkan. The Mishkan was a symbol that Hashem had forgiven the Israelites from the sin of the Golden Calf. Along the Camp of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, in the center (of their camps) was the G-d’s Presence (13th Spiritual center).

Highlights:

  • G-d remembered four Levites in an exiled land. His eye (Ayin) was upon us. His Light “Covering and Shield” protected us. The increased light (our daughter saw a bright light) was a shield and a “double measure.” I do believe my cry out to G-d, like a shofar, rushed mightily through the Heavenly Gates, into our Father’s Divine Throne room and fell upon Hashem’s feet for rachamim.
  • When I desperately cried out to G-d, “G-d please help us, G-d please help us!” I was recently reminded when Miriam was given leprosy for speaking Lashon Hara against Moshe, and his wife, Moshe cried out to Hashem to please heal her, please!” The Father, at the request of Moshe saying “please” twice granted Moshe’s plea. Perhaps my plea was granted by asking with “please” twice? A very profound thought, indeed! But then again, Hashem is Mighty and will answer our pleas. Hashem’s ways are higher.

The surrounded light brought Hashem’s “Set Apart” people to a “Rest.” The sword is mighty of G-d. The Tzitzits are attached to the four corners (remember His commandments) of our garments, and the Four Rivers of Eden pour out from the Throne of Heaven where G-d reigns.

  • The Shechinah (His Presence) is the center of the Universe. Jerusalem is the center of the Earth. One day, we will return home in Jerusalem. Israel is the “Apple of His Eye.”

 

  • “Love” and “Oneness” is the connection that binds the eternal love of G-d and Israel in “Covenant” as His “Set Apart” people. His Thirteen Attributes demonstrate Hashem’s rachamim and compassion. G-d answered our plea, and He stopped the truck from rolling more by reversing the direction of the truck, against gravity, to a “rest.”
  • The G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) is my Beloved, and I am His Beloved.

 

Bringing it together

Earlier, I mentioned in this story that the other driver was mad while speeding. Yes, he was very angry about a life situation he was dealing with. The driver made known that his actions were not an excuse for failing to stop at the stop sign. He admitted to his wrongdoing. I cannot fathom the thought of losing any of my family, or my children being left without their mom or dad, or any of us witnessing the death of the other driver. As you have read prior regarding my son born extremely early, and the hardships he endured, I am extremely grateful his life didn’t end in the rollover accident.

The severity of the impact from both vehicles should have left fatalities! It’s tragic to think how many angry drivers are on the roads and can end up killing lives needlessly. Sadly, death impacts others deeply who have to go on in this life without them. I am so thankful that every one of us was able to walk away. B”H!

It’s important to remember when we leave our Nefesh (flesh/Soul) unchecked by not allowing our spirit within to lead, we can become overheated, like Esau (red and hairy); running wild in the field. When there’s no accountability for our behavior, our “Esaus” lead, and we conform to a beast rather than a “Jacob.” Jacob was a man who studied the Torah in a tent (covering). Do we want to be under Hashem’s covering, shielded and protected?

Hashem loves and desires to protect us. Before the accident, a dear friend of mine, Landra, who has the gift of visions when praying for others shared something she saw while praying for me. I contacted her two days before the accident; asking if there were any changes. She said there had. In the vision, I was standing, worn out and tired with long brown hair and bangs. My body was weak with my hands at my side. I didn’t move, but stared at her (Landra). Beneath me, a daisy flower grew and encircled me. As I stood wearing a long white tunic (down to my feet), the daisy encircled me. I was entwined. The leaves and branches held me when I sat upon the leaves and its supporting stem. I was securely (protected). In front of me, there was a thin ravine, a parting of the ground. It was hardly noticeable. It didn’t concern me. The important part of this vision is that in my weakness I was supported, shielded and protected. She was able to see that I was fully at peace and I wasn’t surprised by any of it.

Was this vision a warning? Was the ravine a separation in the ground during the rollover, skidding from the road, down the embankment into a field (ravine)? Was the stem that entwined a way to alert me that I am held, yet in my weakness, I am supported and protected?

Seven days after the accident the vision changed, slightly. I was no longer held by the daisy. There was no longer a ravine (ground separation); but instead, I was lying down on my right side on top of brown soil. My hands are under my head, sleeping peacefully. The daisy bowed over to protect and shield me by its flower petals (twenty petals, Hebrew meaning of redemption, kaph opened palm; freely giving) and leaves (five leaves, Hebrew meaning of Salvation: I will raise the cup of salvation, Spirit of Power/Gvurah). The covering is pure; protecting me from harshness or storms. I am truly at peace as it’s a resting time that G-d Himself is assuring. Recently, the vision changed somewhat. Hashem has placed me on a new quest– adventurous journey! After jumping over a division of land, I am standing at an alter, holding a stone (river rock) in the palm of my hand. We are called to G-d’s Divine Rulership, to keep and guard the Torah. Hashem is our Rock of Salvation, fortress, and deliver (Psalms/ Tehillim 18:2). Hashem is our high place of refuge (misgav).

I am learning the importance of giving myself time to heal from my concussion. Through a recent session for PTSD, I learned that I can go through the accident step by step to look for the positives by removing the scary negatives (images) that steal my joy. I can talk about the accident; knowing that everyone is safe. Death itself cannot separate me from the love of G-d.

In my PTSD session, it was very helpful to have a different perspective on how to heal; giving myself patience and  reminding myself I can get through this. Stepping back in time, I can imagine a second “June Pamela.”  What would I say to her (stepping back in time) after the accident? Imagine that she hasn’t walked in my recent footsteps yet. She’s shocked and doesn’t know what to expect next. How can I be a good “sister” to her? What can I offer? How will I encourage her? Will she feel loved, safe, and helped with compassion and understanding? Will anyone cover her in prayer? Will anyone daven for her? Will she feel protected and shielded? Can I bless her with what I know now? In other words, will I be patient with myself and see the amazing Attributes of Hashem, His strength, and power to heal me? Yes! Positive words heal.

Rebbe Lubavitcher elegantly addressed his response to a tragedy regarding healing. He states, “I was placed in this unfathomably challenging situation for a purpose and I’ve been given the strength to overcome it.” G-d gives us the strength needed so that we can be overcomers with Hashem’s help. We are given a journey that takes us into the Wilderness. It’s a time of hardship, uneven ground, stumbling rocks, dryness, uncertainties, challenges, sadness, and tragedies.

During this time, we are stripped of our self-seeking ways. We learn to rely on G-d for our provisions. This is our journey; a path that allows us the choice to follow Hashem’s Way, to trust, and believe that G-d is our Protector and Shield.

Time has been given so that we can come to Hashem; seeking Teshuva (repentance by returning to our Father) which is finding Life in Hashem. Will we choose Life? Rabbi Gartner teaches us to look toward the Torah to find perspective on our inner self by asking what we can learn from the Ancient Torah of Wisdom (Chokmah). He reminds us that the ultimate good is experiencing G-dliness. We will find Hashem’s righteousness when we can truthfully ask ourselves if our heart, in its current condition, can house G-d.

Rabbi Gartner asks, “What are the influences of your Father’s House?” Our purpose is to go through our journey; trusting Hashem has given us the needed provisions, to overcome our trials and tribulations, to serve others (mitzvoth/deeds), to do good, seek forgiveness, and return to Hashem with Teshuvah. We will never taste the goodness of G-dliness if we will not allow ourselves to align with the Divinity of Hashem; having a change of heart.

We receive healing when we respect others, have a sense of belonging to family and friendships, feel safe, and have food, clothing, shelter and rest. Our life is found IN the Torah. G-d is the Giver and the doorway to Life. He separates darkness with Light (Torah) and Truth (Emet). He gives us rest, a shield, protection and a covering. He forgives our sins upon repentance; giving us opportunities to choose life in Him. He is the center and the Shechinah (Divine Presence) of the Universe. Hashem IS Compassion, Justice, Mercy, and Loving-kindness (chesed). Let’s remember that everything that comes our way, we can be certain it’s Gam zu’ l’tovah—this too is for the best.

“Hashem opened two doors–one in Shamayim (upper heavens), and one in the heart of man. When one opens his heart for the needs of his fellow man, then the corresponding door of Shamayim is opened to hear his cry.”[7]

G-d is my strength and my shield. He is my refuge. My hope is found in Him.

  • G-d is strength
  • G-d is a shield
  • G-d is refuge
  • G-d is hope

Shalom!

 

[1] Isaiah/ Yeshayah 22:22, Sefaria

[2] Isaiah/ Yeshayah 9:6, Sefaria

[3] Psalms/ Tehilliam 42:12, Sefaria

[4] https://www.jcfhartford.org/NewsEvents/ViewArticle/tabid/171/smid/619/ArticleID/62/reftab/170/Default.aspx

[5] Jewish Wisdom in Numbers, pg. 228, Osher Chaim Levene with Rabbi Yehoshua Hartman

[6] Deuteronomy/ Devarim 28:10, Sefaria

[7]  On the Shoulders of Giants, by Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, pg.115

 

 

 

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In Flight for Life!

In Flight for Life!

This story is very personal. It is more than a story. It’s a place in time when a person’s direction in life is changed forever. It’s a journey that throws one directly into the wilderness and the landing isn’t soft. It’s a life that’s hard, dry, lonely, tragic, heart-wrenching, broken, and shattered. The journey is difficult when we feel alone. It’s a place where very few people are willing to walk along your side—yes; we have been forgotten by many. The amazing love Hashem has for us can be found in the treasured people He places in our path Hashem assigns to help on our journey. During our trials, we may witness amazing miracles with a new joy found. We are not asked to understand, we’re called to trust in Hashem and to have Emunah (faith). Hashem will never abandon nor forsake us.

“Be strong and resolute, be not in fear or in dread of them; for the LORD your G-d Himself marches with you: He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy/ Devarim 31:6)[1]

Abraham was the first Jew who had a Jewish mindset. He accepted whatever trials were sent by G-d in faith and responded with obedience, without questioning. Western (Greek) thought is worldwide. Greek mindset in America demands to know the reasons why…why…why… and what’s in it for me? Greek philosophy crept in after Aristotle and Augustine developed a foundation in Greek philosophy into Western thought. Hellenistic philosophy developed after Aristotle attempted to merge Plato with mixed Biblical concepts. While Greek thought teaches the student to be concerned for himself, look out for number one, it redefines “knowledge” with teachings that draws man away from G-d. Jewish thought draws man to G-d, away from self-indulgence and Replacement Theology teachings. Having a Jewish mindset understands the Heavens declare the Glory of G-d and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. (Psalms/ Tehillim 19:1)

It’s important to train up our children in Judaism, and to love learning with a desire to seek what is righteous in the eyes of G-d. Having a Jewish mindset is “G-d centered,” understanding Hashem has the final Authority in all things. We should strive to learn with a Jewish mindset; understanding the chiasms in the Tanakh and Jewish writings. It’s important to keep the Tanakh in context by understanding what first mention is (a word may be written in the later books that was mentioned prior). It’s foundational to look back in earlier writings to receive “understanding.” Have Americans lost the real value of trusting Hashem when challenges arrive? Who or what do we turn to when our world becomes turned upside-down? Will we praise G-d in all things that are only in our favor or not? How do we respond when our life is instantly pulled from underneath us? Will we allow ourselves to see His Light in all things?

Let’s begin the Journey:

Twins! We were having twins. My father was a twin and my husband’s father was a twin. What other news could be more exciting? This is usually the time a mom begins to think of look-alike clothing, two cribs, two highchairs, two of everything. The parents gleefully start making preparations for more children on board.

In the twenty-fourth week gestation everything changed!  The doctor wasn’t alarmed when I placed a call reporting that I was losing amniotic fluid. He said a small amount can be normal, especially with twins that generally seal up. The next morning I was passing blood. My husband and I headed to the Emergency Room. I prayed during the way there. Baruch Hashem, G-d had a different doctor in mind that just happened to be on call at the hospital on our arrival. Dr. Bexar* [2]is one of the best OBGYN doctors in my state. His love and compassion, as well as expertise were incredible. After the ultrasound verified the twins were coming they began treatments to stop the bleeding and contractions. The pressure was unbelievably painful. The injections didn’t work; the twins were on their way. There is an enormous risk being born naturally premature. They could die being too fragile and tiny to survive the pressure of the birth canal. The ultrasound revealed the feet of one of the twins had already entered the birth canal, and one of the twins had hydrocephalus.

Fifteen minutes were given to make a decision! If they were born naturally, both would die. By caesarean-section, they would have a life-given chance! We chose life to give them every opportunity to live. On the table in the surgery room, going under anesthesia, the doctor and I counted backwards together as he held up his fingers– Ten…nine…eight…sevvv… (I’m asleep). Our beautiful twins were born; hearts beating with faint cries. Into the hands of exceptional doctors, hand-picked from the Hand of G-d, Dr. Goldstein *[3], a pediatrician, who was on the delivery twin- team would become a big part of our son’s life in years to come.

Dr. Bexar reported that a separate mass was found and believed to have been a triplet that at some point stopped growing. In the first trimester, I had experienced some unusual cramping that stopped after a day or two. Perhaps the triplet died and my body picked up messages that a life was over, but with twins, the chemistry became strong enough to send a message there’s still Life with my pregnancy. If so, we will see her/him in our next life to embrace, along with loving on Travis.

“It was You who created my conscience; You fashioned me in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am awesomely, wondrously made; Your work is wonderful; I know it very well. My frame was not concealed from You when I was shaped in a hidden place, knit together in the recesses of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed limbs; they were all recorded in Your book; in due time they were formed, to the very last one of them.” (Psalms/ Tehillim 139: 13-16)[4]

Hidden and concealed – protection, covering, hedged in:

  • Soul- Nefesh

Awakened to echoing voices in the background in the Recovery room, I discovered our hearing (Shema) senses return before vision.

  • Hashem called us (my husband and I) on this journey. We answered Hashem’s call as “doers.”
  • Shema (hearing) – “Na’aseh v’nishma”—we will do and we will hear. (Exodus 19:8) The giving of the Torah. Our Wilderness begins!

The Storm

The storm came in two waves; physically and spiritually. Because the hospital wasn’t equipped for extreme premature babies weighing in the one-pound range, Life-Flight was called. Our babies were to be flown to a children’s hospital, out of state.

While waiting for Life-Flight, I was wheeled into the NICU on a gurney; giving the names of the twins with the correct spelling. They were too little to be held; thankfully, we were able to hold their tiny hands. Their tiny and delicate hands were the size of a man’s thumb—delicate, fragile, and precious!

The flight was almost canceled due to the horrific storms. With Hashem’s help, the pilots flew in-between storms, keeping perfect timing. There was one massive storm cloud in front, one behind. Life-flight flew in between the storms for its safe and precise arrival and departure.

Our beautiful twins were brought to my room; incubated in isoletts, ventilated, and on monitors. We were given treasured time before they left; not knowing if we’d see them alive again. My parents, sister, and her husband, headed to the children’s hospital during horrible road blizzard conditions with whiteouts. It was better for loved ones to be with our twins. Time was an essence. Life is precious!

The first night unable to hold my beautiful twins, undetermined how long they would live, or if I would see them alive was almost too much to bear. My sister-in-law drove through a mountainous storm to be by my side. After she left, a nurse sat by my side through the long hard nights when suddenly “the call” was transferred into my room during the second night. Travis was placed on complete life-support. His heart had stopped twice. They used the crash-cart to sustain him. My heart was breaking (I am in tears again, twenty-six years later). The medical team would do their best to keep them alive until my husband and I could arrive. Shawn, the smallest at one pound, four ounces, wasn’t out of the woods either. They both were fighting for their lives.

At last, I was allowed to leave—a day early. Considering my mother was the Head Director of the Women’s Center in the hospital, there wasn’t any reason to delay my discharge.

The Community Meeting

Upon arrival at the children’s hospital, we were allowed to see our babies before we were led into a private room for their “community meeting.” Community meetings gather the medical team with the parents to discuss the patient’s condition (weaknesses and strengths) to make a game plan; not limited to considerations with different probabilities and scenarios. It didn’t take long to figure out the complexity ideals held by some professionals assigned to the team. In other words, not all on board were believers in the miracles of G-d. Throughout the years ahead we would meet doctors who didn’t believe Hashem’s Light was going to shine through our twins—spiritually and physically!

Through prayers and all considerations given, we knew the direction Hashem was taking us before entering the room with the medical team. After listening, additional time given for prayers with family after being consulted, we knew the decision. Travis’ brain had completely bled to a grade four, meaning his life could not be sustainable without life support. Our hearts broke knowing Travis would die through painful suffering. He was in a cubical room full of equipment—full capacity. Shawn’s brain bleed was a grade two, and if shunted, he could have a chance to live—though we were given two years. Travis would come off life-support, return to Hashem, and Shawn would remain in this world—in flight for life!

Travis was removed from all equipment, other than the heart monitor. In a swaddling blanket, Travis was gently handed to me. They said he would pass away in just a few minutes. After a few minutes he was still with us. We gently took turns holding Travis. He was bruised from being so little during the delivery process. His beautiful face resembled much fear and pain. My family who gathered around my husband, Travis, and me were my parents, sister, and her husband.

Hashem had given me the time needed to say “goodbye.” In earth time, we were given forty-five minutes. But eternally, it was outside of time. In other words, time outside of space and time doesn’t exist the same way our clocks do. The moment Travis was placed in my arms time stopped. It was as if our Creator moved us out of the earthly realm (of time) and into an area outside of time.

The forty-five minutes was eternal, no time, as if we were holding on to Travis forever. Cradling him in my arms, my tears were bittersweet. It was heavenly to hold him; yet, I knew he had to go on without me. I had to accept he couldn’t be with us at this time. It was heart-wrenching to let go knowing the separation would be long-suffering on this side of life. However, he would rejoice in his spirit (Ruach) returning to Hashem. The feeling of eternal time sent us back to real time. I knew it was time to let go and say “goodbye” for now. Holding him alive in my arms would soon end.

Through tearful eyes and a weakened voice, I told Travis it was OK for him to go  knowing G-d would take care of him. An amazing miracle happened—gifted just for me to see. There was a miraculous glowing LIGHT that radiated around Travis’ head, like an aura. His face was no longer in fear or in pain. His countenance lifted. His face began to radiate with Hashem’s healing light of glory, surrounding his head. Travis was received by Hashem as his beautiful spirit returned. Travis took his last breath on earth and “crossed over” into Paradise to be with G-d, our Creator.

It’s substantial to understand what Hashem can reveal intimately on a deeper level during our lifespan when we choose to follow Him. Every person conceived has the Spirit of G-d (spark) given with a story to tell. Our Father, our Creator, is miraculous and every conceived human life will have his/her given Torah Parasha. Torah Portions are true stories of the Tanakh that our ancestors endured—to be remembered. Every week throughout the year “Parasha’s” are studied and read that have the Divine Presence (Hashem) with in-depth messages that are meaningful to man.

Let’s look at the connections:

“Travis”: English and French that means “To Cross” and “At the Crossroads;” given to toll collectors who stood by a bridge or crossing.”

“Shawn”: Hebrew name meaning: G-d is gracious.

Travis was born at the crossroads of life by way of the bridge to cross over the rivers into Paradise. Shawn reminds us that G-d is gracious and Hashem graciously placed Shawn in our care; illuminating the Light of Hashem for those who are willing to “see” and “hear” the miracles and see the loving-kindness (Chesed) of Hashem. Shawn, like his sisters, both have a “shen” (Sh) in their names that means “tooth” – crushing the enemy to bring Shalom. A tooth also sharpens, and it’s on the Mezuzah. Our youngest daughter’s name means “Virtuous” and “Shining Israelite”, “Shiny Jew”, and “nes” means miracle. A miracle from Hashem brings forth His Light– Torah!  Hashem is our Redeemer who crushes the enemy for His victory! Powerful!

Crosswinds, separation of “Twins”

Our hearts were torn. One baby has passed, and our other baby was in for the fight of his life. With alarms sounding off, the parting of Travis, Shawn could sense a part of him was gone (strong Levite souls). To our amazement, all of the nurses in the room gathered together in a line (like angels); dividing the link between our twins—blocking communication waves. We were informed when a twin sense their twin died, they stop thriving with a higher possibility to leave as well. With Hashem’s help, Shawn gained the strength needed to continue his journey. Hashem’s Light was shining Hashem’s Glory for all to see.

Crossing over: 

Abraham crossed over Mesopotamia to Canaan. He was the first person to be called a “Jew.” Through faith and obedience, Abraham answered Hashem’s call; “crossing over ” from a life of idol worship of g-ds to a new life that would bring honor and glory to the Most High G-d.

When one crosses over a river, they leave their old life behind while passing through to a new life. This reflects a connection to conception and the seed making its way through the waters; leaving behind its old life to seek a new life [through the water]. Israel waits for the crossing over of the man’s old life, marking its target (Torah) on their new home.

Moses and the Israelites crossed the Reed Sea. Joshua and the Israelites crossed the River Jordan into the Promised Land. Travis was in the waters of my womb. His feet came through the birth canal, like our ancestors’ feet that were set upon the Reed Sea. Travis was called back home to our Father and Creator; passing through the waters that cross over into Paradise. His souls were too perfect for this world.

G-d is Merciful/Gracious 

Shawn surprised the medical team on several occasions; surviving surgical procedures early on. He went through times of seizures, long term illnesses, and multiple shunt revisions that sent us back to the children’s hospital on Life-Flight numerous times. Through “trial and error” with shunt revisions for hydrocephalus [Shawn was the smallest infant to have attempted and succeeded at the time]; his procedures were written into medical journals. Today, through the pathway of Shawn, smaller infants have successful shunt surgeries, less time in NICU.

There were times of uncertainty during long and stressful recovery periods for shunt revisions, but with the rachamim (mercy) of Hashem, Shawn miraculously came through. My husband and I spent countless hours traveling out of state to the children’s hospital. I stayed with Shawn while my husband went back home to work, meeting up with us on weekends. Once during Shawn’s later part of his first year, he was flown to NICU back home; anticipating his stay to be low key. While there, he joyfully received frequent visits from his Grandma, who just happened to be the Head Director of the Women’s Center. Shawn loved to hear Grandma’s voice. They were very blessed to have been given that precious time together. Over time, his shunts failed. It was discovered cabin pressure from commercial airlines caused shunt failure. He was Life flown back to the children’s hospital (out of state). Throughout his life, there have been many shunt failures and emergency Life- Flights. I was blessed to have had my Mom accompany me on one of those flights. I usually went alone while my husband and our daughter drove to meet us.

There was one particular time we (my husband, daughter and I) were planning to join my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and their daughter for vacation. My sister and her family live over one thousand miles away. Shawn’s shunts failed suddenly, rerouting our rendezvous, having side-by-side motel rooms near the children’s hospital. My Dad sat up his keyboard in the hotel room. We shared our time visiting Shawn, and found joy with my Dad’s music played and songs sung.

Throughout his amazing life, Shawn has given hope to many; glowing with the Light of Hashem that continues to shine within and outward. His youngest sister loves and adores Shawn. She has always been by his side, helping and catering to his needs in his “quiet world.”  They truly are a gift to one another, a blessing.

More connections:

The twins were born in the month of June, rather, Sivan. Sivan, on the Jewish calendar, means the month of “Twins.” Ironically, my father was a twin, as well as my husband’s father. All three of these twin sets were blessed to be born in the Jewish month of Sivan—the month of Twins! How amazing and wondrous is Hashem?!

Torah Parasha: Shlach L’chah (Numbers/ Bamidbar 13-15)—The Twelves spies, two had a Good Report. Two is a separation of upper (Heavenly) and lower (earthly) waters—Creation Day Two.

Travis crossed over, left earth (passed over) through the waters with a clean record (Good Report). Shawn (G-d is Merciful/Gracious) continues to teach us HOPE, and to see the rachamim of Hashem so that we can learn how to have a Good Report [in our lives] for the Father; walking in the Wilderness as Hashem’s Chosen Ones for His Glory. Will we hear (Shema) and obey our Father? Will we walk in the path Hashem gives for our good?

Let’s dig a little deeper:

The Jewish month Sivan was the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai through Moses. Moses was the third born son (Amram and Yocheved, his parents). Sivan is the third month. Day Three of creation is a gathering of land having trees and plants with fruit-bearing seeds (life). Trees (Etz in Hebrew) have growth rings which look very similar to the fingerprints of humans. Hashem’s “fingerprints” are a gift for us to see His Creation and believe in our Creator. Torah brings unity between man and Hashem.

Genesis 2:22 teaches, And the LORD G-d fashioned the rib that He had taken from the man into a woman; and He brought her to the man.” Adam and Chavah (Eve) were made to be equal. Chavah was not designed from Adam’s heel to under her mate’s heel, but from his side (rib). When we look closer at this we realize G-d, Adam, and Chavah (Eve) were three; yet, man and woman are designed to be ‘One Flesh.” When we include G-d in our marriage, the three becomes ONE accord: Hashem—Man (father)—Female (mother).

There are three elements of man/woman:

  • Nefesh (soul/flesh that is shared with animals, creation day six).
  • Ruach (Spirit, the breath Hashem that places us above animals).
  • Neshamah (the soul part of G-d–His Sparks).

More Threes

The Talmud:

“Blessed is the Merciful One, who gave a three-part Torah, to a three-part nation, through a third, in the third month.” [5]

Rashi directs us to observe in the Torah having three parts:

  • Chumash
  • Prophets
  • Writings

Three Groups of the Israel Nation:

  • Kohanim
  • Levites
  • Israelites

The Three Pilgrimages:

  • Pesach (Light separated the darkness- brought out of the bondage of Egypt)
  • Shavuot (Torah given)
  • Sukkot (Completion with Sabbath Rest)

We serve the G-d of:

  • Abraham
  • Isaac
  • Jacob (Israel) – Israel, third, eternal connection.

Bringing it together:

The upper and lower water was Day Two of Creation. The upper and lower waters were a separation. Two is a division, and three is unity. When G-d walked in the Garden with Adam and Chavah, the three were united. When Adam and Chavah sinned they were separated from G-d.  There was no longer unity; tragically, only two opposing sides. But with G-d involved the opposing sides found unity.

A triangle has three sides; yet, it remains ONE shape. The two opposing sides cannot continue to be separated with the third involved (Eternal connection). Zvi Ryzman teaches us that having the third side added to the opposing sides diametrically brings unity. Three can no longer have a representation of two (separation by opposing sides). “But if one takes two opposites—Black and white—and adds a third color, red, the third color will fall somewhere between the two opposites and connect them.”[6]

  • Red—symbolic to the soil (earth) Esau (Edom, red and hairy).
  • White—white light shun in a prism will light up all seven rainbow colors, Eternal, Pure.
  • Black—onyx stone is one of the twelves stones upon the Breastplate. It can be layered black, white and red. Faith and Truth.

Creation Day Two is a separation of the upper and lower waters; however, there is a connection of unity that is eternal with Hashem. Man alone will always oppose one another. Keeping Torah is a Lamp (Light) before our feet. When we walk in His Light (Torah), we guard the Torah and keep connected to Hashem in covenant.

The Levites banner of color is 1/3 Black, 1/3 White, 1/3 Red – A huge connection! They (Levite Priests) were called by Hashem to bring man into unity with G-d through the Torah. The Levites were given the Priesthood (Kohen Gadol) because it was the tribe of Levi who refused to partake in the worship of the Golden Calf. Jewish tradition teaches that none of the women participated in the worship of the Golden Calf either.

“Moses stood up in the gate of the camp and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come here!” And all the Levites rallied to him.” (Exodus/ Shemot 32:26)[7]

The Levites stepped forward. The Levites did not fall into spiritual adultery or idolatry. They took hold of Hashem. G-d called upon the Jews to bring the Torah to the Nations. They guarded (upheld) the Torah—the Light (Ohr) and Truth (Emet) that gathers man spirituality; exposing darkness that separates man from Hashem.

Hashem commanded the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to be built by the Children of Israel by using “Kerashim” (planks) from acacia trees. Acacia trees do not bend. Jacob (Yaakov) planted them in Egypt, and upon the Israelites leaving in the Exodus, they cut the trees down and took the wood into the Wilderness. The Mishkan was the resting place for the Shechinah—Divine Presence. Hashem desires to dwell with us. The Divine Presence, Torah, and Israel are three bonded together as ONE– Echad. They will NEVER be separated. We, too, are to be that “Mishkan” for the Divine Presence to dwell in us so that our mini menorahs can be lit to shine Hashem’s Light for others to see.

Looking back, we can see that the Levites are in the second line-up of the three. It’s remarkable the amazing intimate treasures Hashem revealed during this chapter! In the division, the upper and lower waters, Travis passed over (the waters) into Paradise, and Shawn (Hebrew name) fills in the gap; shining Torah (G-d is merciful and gracious) for those who will hear (Shema) and see.

“Also, if one attacks, two can stand up to him. A threefold cord is not readily broken!” (Ecclesiastes/ Kohelet 4:12)[8]

 

Shalom!

 

[1] Deuteronomy/ Devarim 31:6, Sefaria

[2] Name changed for privacy.

[3] Name changed for privacy.

[4] Psalms/ Tehillim 139: 13-16, Sefaria

[5] Shabbos 88a

[6] The Wisdom in the Hebrew Months, Zvi Ryzman p. 309 (Rabbinic teachings)

[7] Exodus/ Shemot 32:26, Sefaria

[8] Ecclesiastes/ Kohelet 4:12, Sefaria

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