Everything Is Relative — The Sequel

I figure, if it works for Hollywood, it can work for me, too. Why not make the most of a good story?

Of course, unlike blockbuster-minded Hollywood, I try to remember this blog is about reaching “the one.” But it’s still gratifying when I see lots of “ones,” like I saw last week. It’s even more gratifying when “ones” take the time to comment. And still more gratifying when I hear from someone totally unexpected, like Frani.

Frani was a grade ahead of me in school, by definition, a grade cooler. I also remember her from those hazy summer days long ago when my family went to the country club, (that special place where I learned firsthand the meaning of the term, “fish out of water”). Although I haven’t seen her in probably forty-five years, Frani sent me a Facebook message that included this: “…we share enough friends on Facebook that I am always lucky enough to read your wonderful posts.”

I love Facebook, don’t you?

I know, I know. Facebook is the television of today, a vast wasteland.  Much of the time, yes, but not always. If you ponder technology’s all-pervasiveness, you’ll appreciate its spiritual corollary — everyone is connected and everything is known. And the dizzying speed with which technology is advancing reflects the same changes happening in the spiritual realm — the God connection is more accessible every day.

And that’s why I write every week. I never know which “one” might click on my post — I just know I have to try to write it well and hope it travels where it’s meant to go. (For assistance with that travel, as I have shared before, I write each week to the Lubavitcher Rebbe.)

Of course, if I were the person I want to be, I wouldn’t care if I got 1 view or 1,000 views. But I’m not quite the person I want to be.

So I am grateful for last week’s post’s popularity, grateful for the hashgacha pratis, divine providence, that my story about hashgacha pratis, how God shows Himself to us through natural channels, got picked up and carried so far, largely because it involved Maya Rudolph.

Two Chabad news web sites carried the story. I carried it with me, too, even to the local Giant Eagle supermarket. That’s where I ran into Hilary, the older sister of a friend from my overnight camp days. Hilary and I both live in Pittsburgh, but our paths rarely cross. Yet there we both were, face to face in the store aisle, she on a shopping trip with her granddaughter and me wondering if I needed anything else for the Tisha B’Av break-fast. Our conversation was brief, but she did tell me she appreciated my book review in our local Jewish Chronicle (Rebbe, by Joseph Telushkin, surprise, surprise) where my blog appears weekly online.

As I continued meandering, I suddenly remembered a connection. For years, my husband had shown me the house where his cousins (Maya’s father’s family) used to live before they left Pittsburgh fifty years ago. Although I didn’t know the Rudolphs when they lived there, I knew the house well. It was my friend’s house, my friend who is Hilary’s sister.

I recognized hasgacha pratis again, God linking my past and present, right in the supermarket.

I circled my grocery cart around to find Hilary, which I did; I told her about my post and how it connected to her family. (She’s the one who commented on my writing, right?)

So that’s the sequel, starring Hilary and me. This post probably won’t go viral, because grocery store encounters aren’t as otherworldly as unknowingly naming a child after his great-great grandfather. And, let’s face it, Maya Rudolph appears only in a supporting role this week.

For better or worse, famous people can get the message to travel further.

But that’s only true in this world. To give you something to ponder regarding what happens in the next world, the Talmud relates a story of Yosef ben Yehoshua, a man who saw a glimpse of Olam Haba, the World to Come. He relayed that he saw “an upside-down world,” a world where humble people from this world received honor, and those who were honored in this world had become the average folks.

I try to remember that the world we see is not the true world; I don’t want to be fooled by anyone’s outer trappings — especially my own.

 Still, famous people can accomplish things in this world that other people can’t. From my perspective, God gave me an opportunity to show people how He works in this world; because the story involves Maya Rudolph, the story can reach more people. And that can only be a good thing.

About the Author
Lieba Rudolph, her husband, Zev, and their young family returned to observant Jewish life when they were both over thirty. Now, after spending equal time in both worlds, she shares the joys and challenges of her journey, answering everyone's unasked question: why would anyone normal want to become religious?