On the Fringe: Matot 5774 by Cantor Lipp

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 9:07am -- AJ Blog

I was reflecting with my wife during our vacation that we had a string of good luck.

We were walking out of a brewery -- Toronto is known for it's beer expertise -- which looked completely full when we arrived but there were just two seats left. By the time we left, there was a line.

A few days before at the Fringe Festival, we got two tickets that hadn't been picked up for a sold-out show and, later that evening, had a similar experience when we were first on a waiting list and the only ones to benefit from that position.

Some might say God was looking out for us.

I think God has better things to do.

The truth is, there were plenty of disappointments during our recent vacation -- restaurants we wanted to enjoy that were closed for the evening, shows that were sold out, days we wanted to enjoy the outdoors that were rainy, and more. 

But when it came to the good luck part, there was more to the story than meets the eye. In the case of the tickets we got for the sold-out shows, there were others who didn't come in with our attitude. For the first one, there was a line for unclaimed tickets when we arrived (the website hadn't been updated to alert us  that the show was sold-out) but there was a gentleman in line who had a couple of tickets he wanted to sell to some of those waiting and a woman who had come later than others bought it which led to a physical altercation. To make things more awkward, the performance was in a shul. The house manager demanded the tussle be taken outside and we entered as the only potential beneficiaries of unclaimed tickets. We simply asked the ticket seller whether it was possible any tickets would free up and we were willing to take no for an answer. We had a nice conversation with him about the shul and the show and the festival.

Then one of the performers in the show came into the lobby to find out whether the cantor of the shul had picked up his comps. I whispered to my wife, 'that would be poetic justice, if we got the hazzan's comps!" but I wasn't so quiet. The performer heard me and we had a conversation about the shul (the Kiever Shul -- many Ukrainians came to Toronto, Jewish and otherwise) and we ended up with just those tickets.

There are far more important things that occur to people and they wonder about God's involvement, both good and bad. There are people who handle truly bad news about health and disaster far more gracefully and earn far more credit than my allowing for the possibility of missing a fringe show or two.

And yet, even with events of more significant consequence, I wonder whether it's not always more important that we paraphrase Abe Lincoln’s admonition that we worry less about whether God is there for us and more about whether we are there for God.

Shabbat Shalom.

David Lipp