Shemos 5771 – Miracle in Columbus, OH

“Pharoah’s daughter went down to bathe in the river while her maids walked along the side of the river. She saw a box in the reeds and she sent her handmaiden (HEBREW word is ‘amasa’) and she got it.” Shemos 2:5
Amasa – this means handmaiden. Our Sages explain this word to mean her hand… because her hand extended for many amos (cubits). -(RASHI)

Pharoah’s daughter, Basya, saw a basket with a baby (Moshe) floating down the Nile and even though she was far away from it, she reached out her hand to save the baby. Hashem made a miracle and Basya’s hand extended a great distance to enable her to save Moshe. Two great lessons can be learned from this event. First, even if something is impossible to do, if it is the correct thing to do, do it anyway. It was impossible for Basya to save Moshe, but she tried anyway. The second lesson we learn is all a person needs to do is a little bit. Sometimes, all a person needs to do is put in a little effort, like extending one’s hand, and then Hashem will do the rest.

Years ago when I lived in Boston, I needed to travel to Columbus, Ohio, for a three-day training session. The training was supposed to end on a Thursday afternoon so I scheduled to fly out on a flight leaving Columbus around 5:30pm. My class ended earlier than expected and let out a little after 12:00 noon. My office bought me a special ticket which allowed me to switch flights for no extra cost (as long as there was room on the flight I was switching to). I saw there was a flight that left Columbus at 4:00pm and flew direct to Boston, landing around 7:00pm. My original flight left at 5:30pm, had a layover in New Jersey, and then arrived in Boston around 10:30pm. I called the airlines to see if I could switch and they said I probably would be able to, but I would need to make the switch at the airport. For some reason, they could not make the switch over the phone (even though usually they can). Of course, I wanted to get onto the earlier flight, but there were a few other issues. First, I was not guaranteed a spot on the flight. Most likely, I would be able to switch, but no one could tell me if I definitely would. Second, I had a rental car. So, if I tried to get onto the earlier flight and could not, then I would need to sit around in the Columbus Airport, which is an extremely small airport, for an hour and a half. Since, I get bored easily, I was not looking forward to that possibility. Third, and most important, what would I do about davening mincha. The Columbus Kollel had Mincha everyday at 3pm. If I went to Mincha there, I would daven with a minyan, but I would not be able to get on the earlier flight (it is approximately 20-30 minutes from the Kollel to the airport). If I decided to go straight to the airport, I would need to daven Mincha in the airport (which I dislike doing). Also, if I did not get on the earlier flight, I would also daven Ma’ariv without a minyan, as I would be arriving in Boston after all of the Ma’ariv minyanim were finished. After weighing my options, I decided I would go to the Kollel, because I wanted to be sure that I would daven at least one service with a minyan. So I drove to the Kollel and arrived a little before 2:00pm. My thinking was I would learn for the next hour, daven Mincha at 3pm, and then go over to the airport to fly home on my originally scheduled flight at 5:30pm. As I parked my car, I saw one of the Rabbis who learned in the Kollel walking outside to his car. He said to me that it was good I showed up at that time. They were davening Mincha at 2:00pm that day, because they all needed to go to a funeral that afternoon. I was shocked. I walked inside and a few minutes later, davened Mincha with a minyan. I got back in my car and around 3:00pm, I got to the airlines desk to request a seat on the earlier flight. The woman behind the desk told me that they still had seats left. So at 4:00pm, I left Columbus, and arrived back in Boston early enough to catch a minyan for Ma’ariv! What a miraculous trip!

The key to my amazing flight home from Columbus was the lessons learned from Basya in this week’s parsha. I thought it was impossible to be able to daven with a minyan for Mincha and Ma’ariv. But I did what I needed to do and tried to daven Mincha with a minyan. Hashem made a miracle that the Kollel happened to daven mincha earlier than normal – and by the way, I spoke with a Rabbi who learned in the Kollel during that time and he said as far as he remembers, this was the only time they did not daven at 3:00pm. This miracle enabled me to get on the earlier flight and be able to daven Ma’ariv with a minyan. One small step I took to daven Mincha with a minyan enabled me to daven Ma’ariv with a minyan. All a person needs to do is put in a little amount of effort to try to do something that seems impossible. Because nothing is impossible for Hashem!

Good Shabbos!
-yes OR > Torah Study

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