Netzavim-Vayeilech 5769 – Return

“Hashem, your G-d, will return your returnees.” Devarim 30:3

After he graduated from his public high school, a man once decided to take a trip to Europe to study the different cultures overseas. Near the end of his trip, he thought to himself to visit Israel since he was Jewish and the flights from Europe to Israel were much less expensive than flying over the Atlantic. In Israel, he decided he would visit the Kosel (Western Wall) since he had heard so much about it in his younger years in Hebrew School. He visited it, put a note in the wall, and then, following the custom, started to walk backwards from the wall. Suddenly, he felt a tap on his shoulder. The tapper asked this boy if he would like to visit a yeshiva and learn more about his Jewish heritage. He thought about it and figured it sounded like a good idea. He went to Aish Ha’Torah and, well, the rest is history.

A different story: a 16 year old boy woke up one Saturday morning in February to find it snowing outside. He had plans to ‘hang out’ with his friends that night but his mother told him that if it was snowing, he would not be allowed out of the house. He began to get depressed thinking he would not be able to spend time with his friends that night. Then the boy quietly said a prayer. He said, “G-d, I do not know if you exist. But if you do exist, please let it stop snowing.” The boy went back to sleep for ten minutes and then looked out his window again. Not only had it stopped snowing, but the shining sun was now melting the inch of snow already on the ground. That night, not only did this boy go out with his friends, but he began his journey of becoming an observant Jew.

The first story I heard on a tape from Rav Noach Weinberg, of blessed memory. I cannot prove it is true, but Rav Weinberg says it is, so I believe it. For the second story, though, I know it is definitely true, because that story is my story.

Hashem wants us to return to him. No matter how far a person has drifted away from G-d, He is always there sending signs to remind us to return to Him. Hashem wants everyone to connect with Him and He is willing to help us get there in any way possible. Hashem has built and paved the road for us to return to Him. All we need to do is follow His path.

Good Shabbos!
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