ARTICLES

SIGNS FROM ABOVE

RABBI CHANANYA SILVERMAN

May 2, 2017

Have you ever been in a real dilemma about what to do and wished you had a sign from above to guide you - a heavenly voice or message?

Rabbi Mordechai Becher tells the story of a young man called Dave who became more interested in his Jewish roots and decided to spend a short time studying in a Yeshivah in Israel. On his return home to America, Dave made up his mind to keep Shabbat, even though none of his family or friends were observant and he knew it would be a real test for him.
 
As Dave was keeping his fourth Friday night all by himself, the strain was getting to him. He wanted to know whether G-d really wanted him to keep Shabbat, whether in fact G-d cared, or whether he should just join everyone around him, go to parties and watch TV as he had until now. So he asked G-d for a sign, something that would re-assure him that he was doing the right thing. It was 11pm and Dave gave G-d until 11.30pm. But 11.30 came and went without any heavenly voice. So he gave G-d until midnight, with the same results. Finally Dave decided: “OK G-d you’ve got one more chance - I need a sign by 12.15 or I break Shabbat and turn the TV on”.
 
At 12.15am Dave caved in and started watching TV. A chat show was hosted by Dave Letterman, and he was interviewing the actor Tom Hanks, who was recounting his recent visit to Israel. Tom mentioned that he had picked up some Hebrew. When asked by the Dave Letterman what he had learned, Tom Hanks looked directly into the TV camera and assertively said “Good Shabbos, Dave!”
 
From that time on Dave’s been keeping Shabbat.
 
Even though in Jewish Law we are not meant to be superstitious, and can happily walk under ladders or let black cats cross our path, we do believe that G-d sends us signs. Our job is to stop, listen and work out what the message is. When G-d is closest to us, around the period of Rosh Hashanah, it’s a good time to look out for those signs.

 

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