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o Pharaoh said to Yosef, ‘Look, I have appointed you over the entire land of Egypt.’”

(Bereishis 41:41)

 

Yosef’s journey to Mitzrayim began the moment his brothers threw him into the pit. Herein was a hidden miracle, as the pit was empty of water (Bereishis 37:24–25).

The miracles continued to accompany him, as they sold him to a band of Yishmaelim who were carrying spices, as opposed to the foul-smelling tar they generally sold. Thus Yosef traveled to Mitzrayim in relative comfort. (Rabbi Dovid Hofstedter, Doresh Dovid)

Living with children means living with miracles, some more obvious than others. I’ve been told that there’s a malach on top of each child, protecting him from harm. Sometimes I think my children’s malachim are forced to work overtime.

My kids are always busy. Places to go and things to see. Sometimes, despite my warnings, they find themselves on top of the cherry tree or in the construction site down the block. “But we didn’t know it was dangerous,” they’d protest. I’d draw in a deep breath and thank Hashem and His malachim for bringing them home unscathed.

The funny thing is that they generally emerge intact from their more risky escapades and then get wounded just walking across the room.

Take Binyamin, for example. I get a call from school. Binyamin fell. It was a rainy day and an umbrella was dripping in the corner of the classroom. When Binyamin got up for recess, he slipped on that small puddle and grabbed two desks that slid down with him as he skidded and fell. He ended up with 36 stitches, but miraculously, they narrowly missed his eye. Thank you, malach.

The story of Yosef is the prime example of seemingly innocuous events that are actually Hashem’s guiding miracles.

There were many open miracles that could not be misinterpreted as coincidences. But Hashem also performed many other miracles for Yosef, such as a dry pit or sweet-smelling spices. These seemed coincidental but were nonetheless miracles to aid Yosef in his journey.

There was the time that my gan-aged child was dancing and singing during his class’s Chanukah party. As he jumped up and down with glee, he ended up biting his tongue so badly that he needed stitches. Apparently tongues are tricky things, because we ended up in Hadassah Hospital in an emergency ward that specialized in tongues. At least it was a change of scenery.

The problem is that in my house, these wacky scenarios are all too common.

Chanukah has both these types of miracles. The miracle of victory in war and the oil burning eight days were major miracles. But there were also less obvious miracles that Hashem wrought for the Chashmonaim. The victory came in a series of stages, each illuminated behind the scenes by the Master of the Universe. Chanukah teaches us that if we were to ignore those minor miracles, we’d be missing the point of those major miracles. We need to focus on both kinds of miracles in our lives to appreciate Hashem’s many kindnesses.

I’m at a loss for how to keep my children safe. I guard them like a hawk while the Chanukah candles are burning and then when the flames are extinguished, Avi slices his finger while trying to open a gift. It’s not negligent to let a child open a gift or sing at a Chanukah party. Yet somehow these inane activities have sent us to the ER.

I can’t watch my kids every second of the day, nor do I even know what safe activities are going to produce unsafe results. I realized I need to turn over the responsibility to Forces greater than mine. I can try my best to keep my children safe, but Hashem’s in charge of the outcome. And I’ll do my part by noticing and appreciating the protection He provides at all times and places.

So every night at bedtime when I tuck my kids in, I take stock of when we’re free of bandages, splints, and casts. Then I send my gratitude Upward, thanking Him for keeping them safe and letting them walk across the dining room floor without incident. It’s not safe to take these things for granted.  

 (Originally featured in Family First, Issue 620)