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Even a Banana Can Be A Miracle
by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

My daughter passed along the following true story*—a wonderful example of the great Divine's ability to give us gifts, both great and small.

A few years ago a Rabbi's wife and their son had to go to Germany. The little boy was ill and the only appropriate treatment for his very unusual illness was to be found in a hospital in Germany. Mrs. Mandelson, being a survivor of the Holocaust, was not thrilled about going to Germany. However, it was the wisest decision, as her son's health came above all else.

Together mom and Yakov took the long, transatlantic, overnight flight, the bus ride to the hospital, and handled the complicated admitting process. Finally, fatigued, they settled into a hospital room for the son, which also contained a cot for mother.

A couple of days passed relatively uneventfully except for some preliminary tests and consultations. Now it was Friday, several hours before Shabbos. At home in Borough Park, Ruth would have been busily preparing for Shabbos. That morning she would have gotten up early to bake her own fresh challah. She would have walked to the stores early to find the best vegetables and fruits. All afternoon she would have cooked and cleaned until the house smelled delicious and shone.

Now, two hours before Shabbos, she was alone in a strange land that held certain haunting memories for her. She and Yakov had little to look forward to on Shabbos except the small bundle of goodies that she had brought with them. Thankfully, she had a little challah left over from last week. She had a special bottle of grape juice that her son loved and some other treats to round out the otherwise bland kosher food ordered for them in the hospital. It was minimal, but would have to do.

Yakov was feeling somewhat down this Friday, himself. At ten he was perfectly aware that his health was not good and of course he was keenly aware that he was lonely, away from his friends, brothers and sisters, and also in a sterile hospital setting. As the late afternoon shadows crossed their room his mood was quickly deteriorating. He was becoming blue.

Tears welled up in his eyes as he said to his mommy, "I hate being here. We're so alone. We have nothing to look forward to. We're all alone, this will be the worst Shabbos."

Ruth tried to offset his blues by telling him, "No, we're never alone. God is always with us. We have each other. I have some goodies that we will have later on Shabbos. And I'll tell you stories. Don't worry, we'll have fun."

But her mood was also quickly declining as much as she tried to stay optimistic and buoyant. To top it off, as they were standing in the corridor, waiting for the elevator back to their room to shower and change for Shabbos, she suddenly remembered that she had not taken her potassium in several days.

In fact, perhaps that was part of the reason why she was feeling off. She really needed potassium and now had no way of getting it on Shabbos. She was thinking to herself that even a banana would be helpful. But it was off-season for bananas. She hadn't seen any bananas on the hospital trays since they arrived.

Now, there was no time to go outside and shop. This was awful. They had only 40 minutes to Shabbos. These anxiety-provoking thoughts filled her brain as Yakov stood next to her. He looked so sad himself, kicking his little foot against the wall in a kind of random act of wasted motion as they waited for the elevator.

She wondered how in the world she could stay buoyant enough for both of them. They both noticed a family going by, a father, mother and three children all holding hands. That was the last straw as Yakov looked at the family, particularly his eyes, filled with tears, focused on the father.

"I miss my daddy so much. I am miserable."

Ruth felt she was going to cry also. She admitted to herself that she was miserable and began to have some dark thoughts as to whether it was worth coming to Germany for the treatment.

They seemed to wait a very long time by the elevator. Finally the elevator arrived and the doors opened. No one else was in the elevator. But in the far left corner on the floor, Ruth was astonished to see a perfectly ripe, juicy, delicious looking banana lying there.

"Wow," she said to herself, "I guess I can have my potassium after all."

She swooped down and picked up the banana. Then the marvel of the moment came together for her.

She put her arms around David and said as they went back to the room, "We're not alone. Believe me, we're not alone. There's always the Great Divine with us. We're going to have a good Shabbos after all!"

Exercise: A Play Date With Wonderment

Can you remember a moment when things just weren't going right and then the smallest thing happened to make everything okay?

If you can, share the story with others over the next few weeks and enjoy it yourself, each time you tell it.

If you can't, but on your detective gear and stay alert for small positive outcomes. I am sure you will begin to notice and enjoy them. Some may be true miracles, as the banana was, and others may be the result of your own talents and capacities to make things all right. Both deserve praise and being thankful!

I hope you have a wonderful time counting positive events in your life!

*My daughter told me the essential details and I took the privilege of storytelling to fill in the rest.

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, originator of THE ENCHANTED SELF®, a method of bringing delight and meaning into everyday living, invites you to view her new line of ENCHANTED WOMAN products, downloadable e-books, and free gifts at

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