Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chasdei Hashem - Thanks for what You have done

Every day we say in the שמונה עשריה
מלד עוזר ומושיע ומגן
Melech Ozer Umoshiah umagen
King, helper, savior, Shield
These terms describe the various types of ישועה (salvation) that Hashem causes in this world.
  1. Hashem saves us from a danger that we, not only do not see coming, but do not even find out about after we have been saved. The story is told about the minister of the Tsar (before the Russian Revolution) who commented to a Rabbi (paraphrase), "If you knew about the decrees that we discussed that were never implemented, you would really be scared".
  2. We see the problem coming, but we see a possible way out via our own actions. Hashem saves us by allowing our השתדלות (attempted actions) to appear to succeed. This is a difficult thing to actually feel proper thanks for because we are subject to the temptation to think כחי ועוצם ידי (my strength and actions) caused the salvation. This is like Chanukah and the survival of the State of Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
  3. We see the problem coming and do not see any way out. Any action on our part apparently makes things worse. Nothing that we do or try to do helps in the slightest. We are in the position of "Pearl Pureheart tied to the train tracks by Snidely Whiplash" watching the train bearing down on her. This is the actual position of the Jewish people in the world today. While Hashm has saved us, we have undergone the suffering and terror of the events that precede the salvation. It is like someone who (chas veshalom - G0d forbid) is told that he is suffering from an incurable and terminal disease, only to have a miraculous cure. While we can appreciate the salvation and be able to give thanks, we have still had to live through the suffering first.
  4. Hashem brings the salvation and after we are saved we find out about what we have been saved from and how bad it could have been. This is what happened to me and what I have to give thanks for. I did not know beforehand what was happening and did not know what could have happened. Only after it was all over did I find out what the problem was and how bad it could have been.
I had an EKG as a result of a routine prep test, before undergoing a normal followup colonoscopy  that looked somewhat abnormal. The doctor sent me to a cardiologist who took another one that also looked abnormal. He said to go ahead with the colonoscopy but scheduled an echo-cardiagram and stress test on Veterans' Day (Thursday). Before I got home from the stress test, he called the house and told me to check into the hospital for an angiogram and stent placement Friday morning. Since I would have to stay in the hospital for 24 hours and be discharged in the middle of Shabbos, I considered waiting until Monday morning. I had had no symptoms, no chest pains, no shortness of breath - it seemed that there was time. However, my primary care physician said to go in at once. When I woke up, the doctor said that my Lower Anterior Descending Artery (LAD) had been 99% blocked. However, it was only later in the week when my wife printed out a description of this type of blockage (known as a Widow Maker) that I could truly understand what Hashem did by orchestrating the events so that I could get the stent put in in time. There is a person who postponed his cardiologist appointment from Friday to Monday and did not survive to see the cardiologist.

With thanks to Hashem for all that he has done for me and for arranging events as He did.

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