One often hears of hachgasha pratis (divine providence) stories, in which, for example, someone was miraculously saved from a terrible event because they were unexpectedly delayed, either due to a surprising phenomenon or the performance of a mitzvah. Some people say that these stories, whilst inspirational, are of little value by themselves since there are undoubtedly an equal number of people who experience the disastrous consequence, because they were delayed unexpectedly by the performance of a mitzvah or who missed it because they were busy doing an aveira. So just to balance out any positive hashgacha pratis stories you might have heard this week, here’s a negative one:
I often pop out in early in the morning to buy bread for the children’s lunches. Since I’m very nearby, only out for a few minutes and most of the children are usually still in bed, I rarely, if ever, take my mobile phone with me. One day last week my phone was next to my keys and I just grabbed it and put it in my pocket on the way out.
At this point in a classic HP story, either one of the children would have needed me urgently and been able to phone me, or I would have been unavoidably delayed and able to phone home, or a disaster would have happened on the Golders Green Road and I would have been able to alert the emergency services. However, this is a negative HP story and so this is what happened:
While I was out, I checked the phone was still there and it was. However, when I came home and went to take it out of my pocket…it wasn’t there. I checked in the car – no phone. Called it and got my voice mail. So, I zoomed back down to the shops and saw my phone, lying face down in the road, next to where I had parked. Great! No one had stolen it – maybe there’s a happy ending after all? But no, when I tried to turn it on –sadly, it had died. There was no obvious damage, but it was more scratched than it should have been, just from falling out of my pocket and it seems that my poor phone had been run over.
So there’s the negative HP story – the one morning when I decided to take my phone with me, it became the victim of a hit and run driver. So now you can relax and enjoy the regular HP stories, confident that they have been balanced out.
On the bright side, the phone company were great and within a couple of days, I had a nice shiny new phone, which will not be coming with me to buy bread in the mornings!