Hashem's Wonders & Man's Wonders

Thank G-d, Rabbi Yaakov is doing well. We just finished a four day trip with the family yesterday, where the grand finale was visiting him in the Phoenix hospital.

He is in good spirits and asked me to walk around the hospital floor with him. As it turns out, he was in a seemingly mild bicycle accident not involving anyone else, and was able to walk home. But an hour later, while washing himself off, he collapsed. His internal injuries from the fall were worse than the bike accident. After the fall, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where it was determined that he had tremendous internal bleeding and was in emergency surgery for over a day, where they removed his spleen.

Thank G-d, his life was saved and he is projected to make a full recovery. He joked about this tremendous desire for contraband (orange juice) since he’s not allowed to eat or drink anything for the next while (all IV).

We had just spoken a couple days prior about a trip we had planned including going to Phoenix, where he lives now, and were planning to visit him even before the accident. And visit him we did.

It’s kind of amazing how the stars line up sometimes…

Four things happened to all come together at the same time, and make for a family trip to rejuvenate the body and soul. It was fun, and we also had mitzvah opportunities along the way.

A missed flight necessitated us driving out to Flagstaff to pick up our daughter. Which coincided with winter break. And we were able to visit my brother in Las Vegas, Rabbi Yaakov, Natanya’s family in Phoenix, and a trip to the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam in between!

The theme of the trip was “Hashem’s wonders” and “Man’s wonders”.

The Grand Canyon is one of Hashem’s wonders. He created this world with magnificent nuggets of overwhelming beauty, majesty and grandeur. Even our small children couldn’t help exclaiming “Oh my!” when we made it to the rim. You look at these “natural” marvels and come to a deeper appreciation of Hashem.

And then there are the “wonders of man”, like the Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam is so unbelievably giant and brilliant as far as how much water and energy it provides for humanity. 100 years seems so long ago, but the ingenuity and industrialism is inspiring.

The Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon are very different, but they each have their lesson.

The Grand Canyon is a hint that G-d indeed intended for this world to be His beautiful garden.

The Hoover Dam is testament that G-d wants us to make His beautiful world even more beautiful, habitable and holy.

Last Shabbos, Natanya pointed out that this idea of the centrality of humans improving the world seems to be unique to the Torah and Yiddishkeit. Something worth pondering and acting on.

What a way to spend a vacation! Our children learned important lessons, we got to experience wonders of the world, and we turned a missed flight into a grand trip with so many mitzvahs.


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