Finding G-d in UPS


The house is quiet now. Single socks and smudged windows are the most tangible reminder that our house had recently been a dormitory. But, before she returned to seminary, our daughter Rivky placed two huge boxes on the steps in front of our side door. They were something to remember her by; we almost fell over them every time we entered or left the house. In her defense, she also left a clearly marked sign taped to the door, complete with a please and a thank you to the UPS man for taking the packages. Still, the boxes sat for days, despite the fact that the UPS man had come to the door to deliver new packages and had left empty-handed.

Because my kids do much more shopping than I do, I assumed she was following proper protocol. For all I knew, UPS house calls take 3-5 days. After nearly falling one too many times, I asked Rivky if she had, in fact, made any arrangements with UPS for a pick-up. She hadn’t.

I’m not sure why, but I got a little thrill about being able to load the back of my car with packages, just so I could once again experience the pleasure of unloading them on the UPS man. (Never mind that this burden was self-imposed and the money I’ll get back was mine to begin with.) There’s also something mystical about finding the UPS man. I know it will happen, but when? Where? Every morning I bless G-d for many things, among them that He “directs the steps of man.” Even meeting up with the UPS man is divinely ordained.

For some reason though, unloading these particular packages took longer than usual: I saw the big brown truck but no sign of a driver, I saw the driver get in his truck but I was stopped at a red light and couldn’t catch him, the driver and the truck were right in front of me, but I was walking. All this could mean only one thing: G-d was looking for a UPS connection.

That may sound funny, but how else would G-d be involved in the world if not in everything? G-d’s infinitude is one of those aspects of Him that actually makes sense to me. But not everything about G-d is supposed to make sense. Just like it doesn’t make sense that the UPS man would come to the door and leave without taking the packages. Rules are rules, and in life, G-d makes all the rules.

If G-d had asked me to help with His rule book, the Torah, I would have suggested changing a few things. For starters, two wrongs would make a right. If G-d liked the idea enough for two negatives to make a positive in mathematics, why not in relationships? You hurt me, I hurt you, and we start over. But G-d didn’t ask my advice. What He did ask is that I follow His rules without limiting my service to what I understand. (If you think about it, humans and animals both have capacities for intelligence; only humans are wired for spirituality.) Or what I enjoy. (Things like getting a little revenge once in a while.)

If a G-dly life is my destination, I’ll get there with less damage if I follow His rules. And it’s a package deal; the rules apply equally to mind, body and spirit. Of course, every day He gives me new opportunities to learn, even if it’s a small lesson. (Like, how He showed me that not everyone delivering for UPS is a UPS man!)

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?