Sometimes all it takes is a miracle, no?
there are marvels that occur in this world, inexplicably, but we cannot rely on them.
Sometimes, all it takes is a miracle, no?
Our house in Minnesota had been languishing on the slumped real estate market for nine months, enough time to bring a new life into the world and way more time than I wanted to keep paying the mortgage. We were living with a relative in a different part of the country than the house was, grateful that at least we only had to pay one mortgage. All our belongings were in storage, at our realtor’s behest, because she believed the house would sell better empty. Our kids did not like being cramped into 3 rooms of living space without toys, a yard to play in, or friends nearby. As the months drew on, my husband and I made an executive decision: We would rent the best available house by the beginning of the summer and pray hard that our own house sold shortly after so we wouldn’t be saddled with two sets of payments for long since we’d already had that unpleasant experience.
I was feeling anxious about this decision to rent without selling first. What if it still took a while to sell our home? How could we possibly manage? I had a sense of dread and foreboding the morning we were scheduled to sign the lease on our house. I was wholly uncertain that it was the right thing to do.
We entered the realtor’s office and met our future landlady. She told us that she had raised her family in the house and though she hadn’t lived there for 20 years, was not ready to give it up and sell it. Something felt comforting about that, perhaps that a home even after she hadn’t lived there, carried so much worth to her that she did not want to sell it. I am rarely decisive about anything, much less signing a lease for a year on a property without knowing whether I will be in the untenable position of paying two mortgages. But I felt calm and relaxed leaving the office with my newly inked lease in my bag.
I asked my husband, as a favor to me, if we could drive by our future home, only a few blocks away. We were sitting in our car, in front of the house, when his cell phone rang. Though he is a rabbi and a hospital chaplain, he has a work cell phone and doesn’t give his personal number out to many people. He handed me the phone since he was driving. I looked at it – a Minnesota number that was unfamiliar. I answered and the man on the other end of the call told me he was calling about our house for sale. He wanted to rent it, starting as soon as we could arrange it, and then buy when his own house was sold. After trying to sell for months, paying mortgage and utilities and storage for our belongings, this was an unbelievable stroke of luck. After I hung up, I started crying. I couldn’t believe we had a solution for the problem of selling the house that had plagued us for the last nine months.
This call, received right after we signed a lease, felt like a miracle, direct divine intervention, helping us get on with our lives. Of course the details had to be worked out, lawyers and inspectors involved but finally, finally things were happening. We were moving forward.
Was it really a miracle? What if this guy couldn’t sell his house or couldn’t get a mortgage and we had to put our house on the market all over again? Our problems were only temporarily forestalled, not completely over. The Talmud in Megillah 7b gives contemporary Jews a good example of how to approach miracles, in telling us not to rely on them, in a story about Purim. The story is about a group of rabbis having a Purim feast and in the madness of his drunken stupor, one rabbi accidentally killed another. When he became sober enough to realize what he had done, he prayed for his dead friend to be revived. The friend came back to life. The next year, the accidental killer invited the revived man to his Purim feast, and the man