God is in Our Camp

September 19, 2023

Michael Levy was born blind. At his mother’s funeral, Michael told the following story:

Since he was not able to see, Michael’s mother would walk him to school every morning, and, at the end of the day, she would wait for him right outside the school building to walk him home.  As he grew older, this became increasingly humiliating for him; while the other boys were all independent, he had to walk to school with his mommy.

For a long time, he begged and pleaded with his mother to let him walk to school on his own. He had it all worked out; the number of steps to the end of the block, where to hold onto the fence, and so on. They practiced together for weeks until his mother finally said: “Michael, today is the big day, you’re on your own!”  It was the proudest day of his life.  You can’t imagine what it felt like to go to school like everyone else.

Michael set off for school and everything went smoothly. As he approached the school building he was exploding in joy.  He could hear the tumult of the school as he neared the gate; he had made it!

There was a very nice man who worked on the school grounds, and, as Michael walked to the gate, he said: “Well look at you, Michael Levy!”  Michael was beaming with pride, it didn’t get better than this!

Until the nice worker said: “and Mrs. Levy, it’s so good to see you!” As the words sunk in Michael realized that he had not walked to school alone after all; his mother had been silently following him the whole time. Upset, he turned to cry out to his mother in frustration but all he heard was the sound of her bicycle as she retreated home.

This true story is also a parable of our lives.

God wants us to struggle, accomplish, grow, and learn our own way through the challenges of life.  It’s not meant to be easy.  And so we make our way through life, counting the steps, holding onto the fences and blindly trying our best to get to where we have to go.

But we need to know that wherever we go in this life we are never walking alone, someone is silently following us. At every up and down, every time we do a good deed, every time we go to work, every time we fall, and every time we lie down in our beds at night – if someone were to greet each of us at any and every one of these moments, they would say: “well look at you, so-and-so, and God, Master of the universe, it’s so good to see You too!”

During the holy days leading up to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), it’s healthy and natural to feel trepidation.  We are standing in judgment before God and our fate for the year is about to be sealed, how can we not feel nervous?

But we need to know that we are not alone. God is with us every step of the way. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 23:15 “Since Hashem your God moves about in your camp.”

God is always “in our camp.” He is with us at every moment of our lives.

To be a believer, to live a life of struggle, and to never stop striving for holiness despite all of the brokenness and pain we go through, isn’t easy. But with all of our struggles, we also feel the deepest joy; the joy of knowing that we are never alone. Our Father in Heaven never leaves or abandons us in the streets of life, even for one moment.

May we never lose sight of the God who loves us, and may He bless us with a year of health, happiness and joy.

Rabbi Elie Mischel

Rabbi Elie Mischel is the Director of Education at Israel365. Before making Aliyah in 2021, he served as the Rabbi of Congregation Suburban Torah in Livingston, NJ. He also worked for several years as a corporate attorney at Day Pitney, LLP. Rabbi Mischel received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Mischel also holds a J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law and an M.A. in Modern Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He is also the editor of HaMizrachi Magazine.

Rabbi Elie Mischel

Rabbi Elie Mischel is the Director of Education at Israel365. Before making Aliyah in 2021, he served as the Rabbi of Congregation Suburban Torah in Livingston, NJ. He also worked for several years as a corporate attorney at Day Pitney, LLP. Rabbi Mischel received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Mischel also holds a J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law and an M.A. in Modern Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He is also the editor of HaMizrachi Magazine.

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By: Rabbi Elie Mischel

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