Once when he was young lad, like most of us, he did something not to his father’s liking. His father was ready to punish him. He said to his father – “There is no need to punish me, I already learned my lesson.” His father smiled and and let him alone.
Parents punish for many reasons. Some to vent their frustration. Others to teach a life lesson to the child. Some both.
G-d sends messages to us to correct us to become a better person. Sometime it comes in the form of making a windfall – so that we can give charity to those in need. Or by giving a child to a person – so that they send their child to a Torah school – and can forge a healthy relationship together through the guidance of the Torah. Or by sending a rebuke – so that one can reflect on the past to correct an incorrect behavior on their part. The goal is to teach a person to better themselves.
Whether it seems to be kindness or rebuke – it is all for the good of the person. Thus G-d does only good – even if it does not seem so at times.
Like when you get a flat tire.
The other night, driving in the fast lane, thinking about other things than the road, I sped over a large indentation. I heard the hard slamming of the tire into the pavement. The car started vearing to the left. I recognized that the tire was out. I slowly continued until I reached a place of safety to fix the flat. By the time I got there, the tire was torn to disrepair.
Was it just a coincidence or was it divinely guided? If it is coincidence, then the incident has no significance whatsoever. I can’t learn anything to improve myself from it – only next time I should be more careful to avoid potholes.
But if it was divinely guided, then the incident has significance to me personally to help me improve myself. From it, I can learn something that applies to me. From it, I know that there is “Someone” watching me from above who cares about my actions. It makes for a life of more purpose.
Judaism says that no incident occurs without divine intervention.
So the question I asked: I am basically a nice guy. Why did this flat have to happen to me?
I reflected on what happened during the day. Then I found the possible source.
Earlier that night, I was eager to get home from teaching. A friend asked me to drop him off not far from where I teach. “No Problem” I said. In the car he said “So you will wait for me to drop me off near my house?” My imagination took over – I thought – he will take like a half-an-hour to go shopping. “I am sorry I have to get home.” I answer coldly and sped off into the night.
It ends up that he took only about 5 minutes. He took the bus home. I could have had more patience. I didn’t. So, it is possible, that G-d wanted to teach me, to have more patience and concern for my fellow by giving me a flat tire. I came home much later than I would have had I waited the 5 minutes for my friend. I had to pay to replace the tire and I lost a Mitzvah of doing Kindness. All for a slight lack of patience.
After reflecting upon the incident, I felt badly I didn’t wait. I guess it was a good lesson. I hope the next time, I will be more patient and less callous – to think more of the needs and feelings of others.
We all have times where we miss the mark. If we regret the incident and repair the related lacking in our character traits – we don’t need to get a flat.
In any case it is prudent to have a spare tire. 🙂