Our Weisberg Purim Miracle
2 decades ago, my divorced mother-in-law, Annette, fell deeply in love and got engaged to a man who broke her heart.
Enno and Annette met at the airport in Toronto on their way to Germany. Annette had noticed Enno’s eleven-year-old son playing in a most imaginative way with two little six-year-old girls, keeping them entertained while waiting for departure.
And through him Annette met the boy’s father, a divorced man from Annette’s native Germany.
Annette and Enno dated and then they started planning their wedding. Enno was going to immigrate to Canada. Annette looked forward to her second marriage with great expectation and developed a close relationship with Enno’s five children as well. But several months before the wedding Enno changed his mind, and he ended up marrying somebody else.
My mother pointed out that Enno’s name was prophetic. “N-O! Nope, Annette, keep your distance from this one.”
It took years for Annette to fully recover from the disappointment of Enno’s betrayal. He had planned to come with two of his children, the eleven-year-old Frederik and a 17-year-old daughter, Catherine.
The children were devastated by their father’s changed plans; Annette was very fond of the children and decided, together with their mother, that they should come to Canada for a year, anyway. She became their official foster mother.
“It was the best year of my life,” the boy Frederik told her many times after their return to Germany. Later, she visited with the children whenever possible.
During college, my husband’s brother, Noah, started dating Enno’s daughter, Catherine. But he was in Canada and she was in Germany, so after a few months things fizzled out.
A few years later, Catherine got married and had a baby girl. And Noah met a woman whom he dated for seven years.
Around that same time, Annette met a true mensch of a human being named Peter who became her beloved second husband and a devoted “saba” to my children. Sadly, after ten years together, Saba Peter passed away in 2010.
After Peter passed away, Noah and his girlfriend broke up. And Catherine and her husband decided to divorce.
This past fall, Catherine and her mother came on a vacation to Canada and while they were visiting my mother-in-law, Noah spent some time with Catherine. They realized that they still loved one another.
B”H, Noah and Catherine are planning to get married this coming August.
This is, of course, a wedding that would not be taking place if not for a heartbreaking broken engagement 20 years ago.
I love this story so much, not only because I am thrilled for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law to be, but also because I tend to forget when reading about the miraculous salvation of Purim that the Purim story didn’t take place over the course of a few months.
The Purim miracle, in fact, took NINE years to unfold. From Achashverosh’s feast to Haman’s genocidal decree to Mordechai becoming the King’s second–in-command.
This is such an important reminder for me.
When difficult things happen, I pray for Hashem’s mercy, but I tend to have zero patience. I wait for a few weeks, for a few months, maybe a year…And then I decide that Hashem has forgotten about me and my problems.
And I guess that’s what emuna is about. Understanding that it can take 9 years, like in the Purim miracle, or 20 years, like in our Weisberg family miracle, until we can finally see Hashem’s tremendous mercy hidden even within our moments of deepest suffering.