"A nd many evils and troubles will befall them, and they will say on that day, ‘Is it not because our G-d is no longer among us that these evils have befallen us?’ ” (Devarim 31:17)

The beginning of the pasuk says that “evils and troubles” will befall Bnei Yisrael, but it finishes with just “evils.”

Evils and troubles are clearly two separate things. “Evil” refers to an event that hurts a person, while “troubles” encapsulate situations that cause emotional pain.

When caught in a hard situation, a person suffers from physical pain. Yet if he’s also upset at the situation, this causes him additional emotional distress. (Rav Shach, Meirosh Amanah)


It was Friday night and the little ones were all sleeping. The table was cleared, dishes stacked neatly in the sink, and the floor was swept. I wait for this moment all week, when I can sink into the couch knowing I made it to another Shabbos and all is good in my world.

Then chaos broke loose. Crash! The sounds of smashing glass shattered the peace. I raced to the kitchen.

The door of the fleishig cabinet stood open. From the top shelf, a thick glass serving tray had dropped directly into the sink below, smashing all the neatly stacked china dishes. I surveyed the destruction in shock. Somehow, the glass tray itself was intact, but the sink was full of the shards of my entire china set, a wedding gift, now completely ruined.

How did it survive decades of use to be totally destroyed one quiet Friday night? And why did that tray, which had been sitting quietly on its shelf since Pesach, decide to take the plunge just when the sink was full?

No earthquake. No mischievous little fingers. Simply one of those things.

“It should be a kapparah.” I reached for the broom. Surprisingly, I felt little emotion. It was so clearly min haShamayim that I was calm as I swept up the mess.

Someone who’s lacking emunah and bitachon feels abandoned and exploited in hard situations. But someone who has yiras Hashem and believes in Hashgachah pratis only suffers bodily.

As Dovid Hamelech says in Tehillim (23:4): “Even if I go in the valley of death, I will not fear because You are with me.”


Shabbos day I used my weekday Corelle dishes. After the main course, the kids began to clear the table. Avi stacked three plates and topped them off with three glasses.

“Avi,” I warned, “that’s not smart. Those glasses may be balanced now but you have to get them into the kitchen. I’ve had enough of broken dishes for one week.”

Famous last words. Avi, brimming with youthful confidence, knew much better than his mother.

I must give him credit that he managed to get the glasses to the counter. Then the sound of shattering dishes filled the house for a second time that Shabbos.

When Bnei Yisrael reach this recognition of faith, that all troubles are directly from Hashem, then there’s no place for emotional pain.

As Yeshayahu Hanavi tells us (40:31): “But those who put their hope in Hashem shall renew their vigor.”


This time I was not a tzadeikes heroine. “I told you not to do that and you didn’t listen! Why doesn’t anyone ever listen when I know what’s going to happen?”

I grabbed the broom for the second time in 12 hours. Corelle shards were everywhere.

“Everyone out of the kitchen!” I commanded. “I can’t believe this happened!” As I swept, I kept muttering under my breath, my sighs growing louder with each swing of the broom.

I collapsed into bed for a much-needed Shabbos nap. But sleep eluded me. I was angry, uptight, and so irritated at this second mess. The loss of an entire set of china paled in comparison to the frustration caused by a few pieces of Corelle lost due to one child’s carelessness.

As I punched my pillow, looking for a comfortable position, I mulled over my reactions to the two crashes.

Why was I so upset at Avi? Granted, he should’ve been more careful. But weren’t both sets Divinely destroyed? My anger was my own creation, fueled by a failure of faith. I needed to take a step back and calmly sweep my subjective perspective back into the trash where it belonged.

Heaven decreed the demise of my dishes. It should all be a kapparah. I needed to let go. I had enough on my plate for now. (Originally featured in Family First, Issue 559)