During the work week I have been able to indulge myself a bit. This past week, I would head down to the lobby and slowly turn the next orange bulb, lighting the chanukiah. In a matter of seconds these moments passed but the feeling of bringing some small sense of light to the holiday lasted until I lit the next candle. With the last candle lit, I was feeling a bit down. I am not used to this as most of the time I begin the week on a down note (I know many people feel the same way about Mondays) and end the work week with the anticipation of Shabbat on Friday night.
However, as Chanukah drew to a close and my mood continued its downward trend I received some unexpected news. First, in the form of an email from my insurance company… it is dividend time again and, this year, we would be receiving a $136.04 credit. Woo hoo! One less payment I have to make.
But that wasn’t the event that really touched me. That came a few hours later.
Earlier in the week I had received my order from Artscroll. The previous week ended with me ordering a couple of books from them that I had been meaning to get for some time. Of course, 40% off had some influence as to my decision to order. Well, the box arrived on Monday but I didn’t open it until Thursday night. When I did, I pulled out the two books I ordered and realized that the box wasn’t empty. A third book had been accidentally placed in the box.
I admit that I was tempted to just put it on the shelf and not say a word about it but I couldn’t do that. Hashem has given me so much (including the means to order the two other books). I couldn’t steal from others and still say that I am putting forth ever effort to be a better Jew.
The next morning I put the book in my bag, brought it to the office, and got everything ready to go to ship it back. Unfortunately, there was no invoice included in my box and I wasn’t familiar with the return policy so I gave Artscroll a call. I explained the situation and asked what the return policy was. They seemed a bit surprised by my call so I was put on hold.
About five minutes later, a different woman picked up and asked me to explain the situation again. After that she asked me to confirm the order number and tell her what the extra book was that I received. She confirmed the order and then I asked what I needed to do. She began by thanking me profusely for calling them about the extra book and then said to me, “keep the additional book as our gift to you.”
Well, that got an immediate Happy Chanukah and then it was my turn to say thank you (multiple times). Woo hoo #2!
In the midst of the kindness and light of the holiday I feel as though I have been tested. I guess the more appropriate term would be questioned. We are tested throughout our lives, question after question, and we have to provide the answers and those answers are given directly to Hashem. What we have to remember is that we are not alone during this exam and we are never asked questions that we already have the answers to: G-d gave us the Torah for guidance and G-d has given us one another for support.
We have all of the answers we just have to be willing to listen and accept them.