When our children were little, they would watch a video called, “Hand in Hand” written and produced by Malka Touger. This video teaches children stories about the Rebbe and how the Rebbe inculcated proper Jewish values for them to learn and live by.
One of our children’s most favorite clips was about the theme of Hashgacha Pratis – Divine Providence. It teaches how G-d directs our lives in every single detail. In that clip there is a policeman who is walking down the street and he is taught by the residents of Crown Heights the importance of Hashgacha Pratis – Divine Providence.
He asks, “What’s the word you are saying? I hear everyone using it.” So, they taught him how to say, “Hashgacha Pratis” explaining that everything in this world happens by Divine Providence. The policeman was really impressed by this lesson and continued to practice the expression until he knew it well.
Later on, when he meets other people in the neighborhood, he says to them, “Isn’t this Hashgacha Pratis?!” And he learned this concept very well.
Now fast forward to 9/11/2001. Shortly after 9/11, we traveled with our family to New York for a celebration. While in New York our children asked us, “Please, can we go see Ground Zero?”There was a person from our community who was killed there and we decided to go to pay our respects.
When we came there, it was very busy. For six blocks long, people were lined up waiting to see it.
Since it was a Friday, erev Shabbat Kodesh and we would need to return to Crown Heights before Shabbat, we decided to try our luck closer to the front of the line. When we reached the front, there was an African American policeman directing the traffic.
I walked over to him with my husband and all our children and told him that it’s going to be our Shabbat soon. Respectfully, I asked him if it would be possible for our family to go in for one minute as we want to pray for someone who lost his life there among the hundreds of others.
At that moment, our son Levi, who was six years old at the time, tugged at my shoulder and said, “Ma, do you know who that is? That’s the Hashgacha Pratis policeman!
I took a look again and asked, “Hey, aren’t you the policeman from that video?”
He looked at us, pleasantly surprised, and said, “You know that video?!”
Cheerfully and emphatically the children answered, “YES!”
He then looked at our children and said, “Isn’t this Hashgacha Pratis?!”
He showed us where to go in to do our prayers.
We made it back to Crown Heights to spend Shabbat with our friends before heading back home to Toronto.
We all learned a valuable lesson about Hashgacha Pratis and were grateful to G-d for guiding us to the right person who could help us.
From Rabbi Avrohom and Goldie Plotkin, Shluchim in Toronto.