Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Fight with G-d Almighty and you will for sure lose, but in my heart, I want to start swinging at the sky anyway.

Okay, so re-watching the Al Pacino "G-d is a prankster" scene does not have the same power for me as it once did, but the subtle message within this scene affected what was my young mind (at the time) in a way that it left an indelible mark that has never erased itself.

"G-d has a sense of humor," is what I remember of this scene, and now more than ever, I am feeling the truth of this statement.

We arrived back in the US, and the Customs and Border Patrol held our crate back for additional inspection.  This was an inconvenience at best, but I wondered whether it was a message from G-d that maybe we weren't supposed to be here.  Up front, this thought makes absolutely no sense to me because I am more than thrilled to be back, and I wake up each day excited that there is sunlight outside and I have a minyan to go to.  For the first time in my life, I have structure and organization, where in the past, I had none.  I am davening each day WITH A MINYAN... on time, with tefillin, with kavanah.

I even have my "old stuff" back.  I am back in my old town with my old friends and acquaintances... I have even been able to re-acquire my old office [which still had my old refrigerator that I left in here when I left].  Everything appears to have fallen in place, and then boom.

I am not speaking about the container being held back by the CBP, nor am I speaking about the additional scrutiny which I wonder whether it was random or whether it was because I was using VPNs from Israel to access my bank accounts in the US causing a stir when my accounts were frozen for suspected terrorist activities (I was wiring my US funds to my Israeli account) immediately after I made aliyah.

The "boom" is that while in Israel, my law firm business chugged along.  I was running on "three cylinders," so to speak, but the law firm was getting clients, and I was making US dollars to spend in Israel.  I came back to the US not only because of the deadly night hours, but because I knew that if my business ever "went bust," I would have no means of supporting my family.  I decided that I would return to the US, and I would develop a practice that I could do in Israel, with Israelis as clients, and during Israeli day hours rather than servicing US clients working in the US time zones.

This is always dumb to do, but I got into the position where most if not all of my law firm's clients came from one set of plaintiffs.  I knew that if their company ever went broke that my stream of clients would dry up overnight and I would no longer be able to provide for my family.

Well, we returned to the US exactly one month ago, and as soon as I landed, I got the dreaded call that this company -- the one from whom I am getting all of my clients -- is going out of business.  Apparently, doing what they were doing is no longer profitable, and thus they are closing their doors.

...Overnight, my firm's client list dried up, and for the moment, I am out of business.

This is where G-d has a sense of humor.  Now that I am davening every day with talis and tefillin with a minyan, and now that I am somewhat connected to him as a Jew should be connected to his creator, is he now punishing me for all of the years of disobedience?  Is putting me in the "dog house" his way of saying, "welcome back you mother fucker. now get out!"??

I was telling my wife about this (that our firm is out of business overnight and that I need to find a new area of practice), and I told her that I was relieved that we came back to the US before this happened, because at least now I can sit down for the next couple of months and reinvent myself with a new area of practice.  She retorted, "maybe you lost your business because you came back," as if losing my law firm's clients overnight was a punishment for leaving Israel.  I happily twisted her words into thinking that the only reason this company kept their doors open for as long as they did was to feed us while we were in Israel, and it was G-d's mercy that kept us fed over the past two years.

Now my wife and I have settled on the common Chabad belief that everything G-d does is for a purpose.  Hashkacho pratis.  That there are no coincidences, only divine providence, and me losing my firm's income source is Hashem being merciful to us because although we cannot see the goodness in this painful experience, this is really being done for the best, and there is only goodness that will come from this.

Okay, I am not buying it.  Me losing my job overnight and essentially having to close our firm's doors, reinvent myself, learn a new area of law, and reopen the firm in a new area of practice sound more to me like G-d is a trickster, and that this is all a test or a prank, and I will need to roll with the punches or get attacked even more severely.  Not only do I think G-d is testing me, but I think or I fear that he has determined that the time of me and my family being wealthy has come to an end, and now it is time for us to experience how it feels to be poor once again.

This thought fills me with anger, because 1) we went to Israel for HIM, to serve HIM, to give our kids over to HIM, to bring them up in HIS way, to provide them HIS education where we would not have been able to provide this on our own, and 2) we moved back and strengthened our connection with him by me going to minyan every day, davening with a talis and tefillin, and spending time getting closer with the community.  Why punish us after we took such leaps of faith in G-d's honest truth so that our kids can be brought up with a proper Torah education?  It is not like we decided that we don't care about G-d when we came back to the diaspora.  Rather, we returned because I was not surviving working the overnights, and it was affecting everyone negatively.

So why decide all of a sudden when yeshiva tuition is now due, when shul membership will be paid, when I just sold our Israeli car and all of the furniture and "stuff" we bought in Israel at a horrifying loss (essentially giving EVERYTHING away at a total loss) and now I bought my wife a nice newer car, and now we need to buy the house from our in-laws (we committed that they would buy the house for us, and we would buy it as soon as we landed), and now we have to pay for Obamacare, etc., that Hashem decides that it is time for me to lose my income?!?

This seems like a cruel trick.  It seems like a prank.  It seems like a joke.  Fight with G-d Almighty and you will for sure lose, but in my heart, I want to start swinging at the sky anyway.