Chavi Feldman

Serendipity and Happy Accidents

Pomegranate home blessing

I love happy mistakes. So many of the world’s greatest discoveries were accidental. In 1928 Dr Alexander Fleming returned from a holiday to find mould growing on a Petri dish of Staphylococcus bacteria. He noticed the mould seemed to be preventing the bacteria around it from growing. He soon identified that the mould produced a self-defence chemical that could kill bacteria. Most of my “happy accidents” are not ground-breaking or history-making, but I enjoy the unexpected outcome nevertheless.

I am a Judaica artist with an online shop. I’ve been designing Judaica since I was a teenager, but the online shop is relatively new. Every sale I make excites me, and I’m keeping a mental tally in my head of all the places around the world that my art has travelled and is now gracing someone’s wall. So far my art it’s located in places like Australia, France, Germany, England, United States and Canada. It’s thrilling and humbling that people choose my art again and again, and it never goes unappreciated. Almost at much as I love designing, I love connecting with the people that I “meet” online. I love customizing the work for them, to fit their needs.

Last week, I made a sale to the US. But there was a mix up by the printer and they inadvertently sent it to the wrong person. I can only imagine what this person thought when they received a pomegranate with a Hebrew home blessing! That person was supposed to receive art from a different artist, so they contacted the artist and told her that there has been a mix up. This artist managed to figure out what had happened and contacted me. I subsequently spoke to the printer and they reprinted my art and shipped it out to the correct address.

The entire thing was solved easily within a couple of minutes, and that could have been the end to what was a minor mistake.

But truth is always stranger than fiction and this is not where this story ends.

The other artist in this story was stunned to see the pomegranate. She messaged me right away and told me that she and her family, including her parents, were moving from the US to a new home and a new life in Guernsey, where she was born. They decided that the city where they lived until now was being taken over by a lot of crime and they wanted a quieter, simpler life. So she was going back to this idyllic place of her childhood. She had also decided that she wanted to decorate her new home with a pomegranate theme. When I asked her why, she explained that God had decorated His temple with pomegranates and being a devout Christian, she figured it would be a good idea to emulate that. She explained that she was also working through a personal tragedy and had planned to plant a pomegranate tree in her new yard as a memorial to her loss.

So when she saw the screenshot of the pomegranate that had been inadvertently sent to her customer, she saw it as a sign from God.

She asked for an explanation of the Hebrew, having no clue what it meant. The blessing for the home – or Birkat Habayit – translates to: May this home be blessed with an abundance of blessings, success, love, joy, plenty and peace. I sent her the translation and she was so moved by it – it was EXACTLY the kind of home she was trying to build in this new place. A new beginning for her family, in a place where she wanted only good things to grow.

So she told me that she wanted to purchase it for her new home – she wants to place it in the front entrance of her home. It wasn’t just the art that she loved, but how it came to her – how she literally stumbled across it. She said she never would have found it otherwise, if not for the printer’s mistake. This “happy accident” was a sign for her. She then surprised me further by purchasing ANOTHER Birkat Habayit in a different design for her parents, who were moving to the island with her as well.

While it’s fun for me to think about a house in Berlin with my artwork, or a family room in Australia, this one is definitely the icing on the cake.

In this upside down world we all live in, when mentioning that you’re a Jew or – God forbid – an Israeli can go one of two ways (one way we’re all too familiar with as of late), how lovely and amazing and wonderful is it that I stumbled across this amazing woman who was delighted to meet me in this crazy upside down way. I think a lot of us have really lost our faith in humanity these last 7 months with how much of the world has turned their backs on us – our people, our hostages and our country.

It’s moments like these that remind me that there are so many good people out there in this world and we only need more of these “happy accidents” to discover them.

In the meantime, there will be 2 Christian homes in the island of Guernsey that will have a Hebrew Birkat Habayit hanging in their front entrance. I’m not sure much else can top that.

Pomegranate home blessing
About the Author
Chavi Feldman has a degree in graphic design and advertising and works primarily as a music teacher. She has lived in Israel for more than two decades.