The Accident that Led me Back to Hashem by Karen (Purim Semifinalist #6)
During my freshman year of university, I was injured in a very serious car crash.
My left arm was virtually crushed and it took three attempts at surgery and over two years of physical therapy to get my arm back to a decent functional level.It was a tremendously difficult period in my life.
I was not yet religiously observant (I became religious three years later) and I was feeling much anger at what had happened to me for what seemed like no apparent reason.
But all the while, I couldn’t help but marvel at my other, intact arm and how it was a miracle beyond description that I had taken completely for granted until the crash.
Once I completed university, I decided to venture a trip to Israel, replete with outings and touring. But I got much more than I bargained for.
The particular “adventure” I signed up for dropped me right off at Neve Yerushalayim where our mornings were spent with (unbeknownst to me at the time) world-class teachers of Torah Judaism. Those morning classes quickly became more of a draw than the afternoon outings and I felt compelled to learn more about this completely guarded secret I had never heard of until the age of 22– Orthodox Judaism.
I began to learn about hashgacha pratis and how Hashem is guiding my life every step of the way. This was an incredible concept to learn about after having gone through such a devastating personal challenge. I learned that Hashem had wanted for me to go through this exact experience. It was, I learned, an essential part of building me into the person I was meant to become.
And looking back and I realized I could understand how. The crash awakened within me an intense awe for the miracles of the human body and renewed my appreciation for the gifts I have. It also forced me to accept myself for who I was– imperfect, on the inside and now the outside, too. That was the “eye of the needle,” the foundation upon which all my future growth in Yiddishkeit would be built. That experience opened me up to the possibility of accepting Torah and mitzvot upon myself.
Following my time at Neve, my learning in Jerusalem took on a new level. I returned to Israel many more times to learn and then returned back home to integrate that knowledge into my daily life. On one trip to Israel, I met my husband and we have been zoche to build a family together.
The irony is that now, as a very blessed and busy young mother, I am usually doing things with one hand holding my baby, B”H!
Hodu l’Hashem kitov, ki le’olam chasdo!
Karen lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and is a stay-at-home mother of three children ages 4, 2, and 10 months.