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A Series of Fortuitous Events
Mom with a View

A Series of Fortuitous Events

Seeing God’s Hand during our trip to Switzerland.


Believing Jews know that the Almighty runs the world. His hand is in everything that occurs. While this is always true, sometimes it is more obvious than at other times.

And so it was on our recent trip to Switzerland. We had booked a reservation at a kosher hotel for Shabbos. When we called a few days in advance of our travels to confirm, we were told that the hotel had closed (was anyone going to let us know?!).

You can imagine our frustration. We had planned our trip with this destination in mind, eagerly anticipating an appropriate Shabbos environment, not to mention some hot food. We ground our teeth and went back to the drawing board.

We remembered an ad we had seen in a popular Jewish magazine and searched the house for a back copy. (There are times when de-cluttering is a disadvantage!) We located the kosher hotel in Wengen. Where? We had never heard of it either but beggars can’t be choosers so we rerouted our trip and booked our Shabbos accommodations, buoyed only by the prospect of the aforementioned hot food.

This is where the Almighty’s intercession became obvious. Wengen is hands-down the most beautiful spot I’ve ever been – or seen. It’s above a valley and the city of Lauterbrunnen with a myriad of waterfalls running down the sheer cliffs, and surrounded by those majestic Alps. We kept thinking that it looked too good to be real and we were living inside some kind of picture postcard fantasy.

And best of all, everything could be seen from the balcony of our (kosher) hotel. The hotel was a magnificent old property that in its most recent incarnation had been a Club Med facility. Now it is rented out by observant Jews for eight weeks in the summer. As I looked into the room full of men in black and modestly-attired women, I couldn’t help marvel at the contrast. When Club Med vacation spots are overrun by religious Jews, the Messiah must be on the way!

Before Shabbos, we travelled down to the valleys and ascended some of the waterfalls. We watched beautiful sunsets and gazed in awestruck silence. On Shabbos, we walked up and down and up and down (I have the aching leg muscles to prove it!) mountain paths too numerous to mention – catching that view from every angle, and amazed each time.

We were reluctant to have Shabbos end – and here the Almighty was equally obliging since it wasn’t over until close to 10:30 p.m.!

We left the next day for Luzern, beautiful in its own way, holding on to the wonder of the scenery and our gratitude for both the spectacular panorama and the fortuitous series of events (although they didn’t appear that way at first) that took us there.

August 4, 2012

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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Anonymous, August 9, 2012 2:39 PM

Lvov, the Ukraine

We had a somewhat similar experience when we went to Lvov in the Ukraine, two weeks ago. We were going to join a group of people who are decesdents from a little known shetel called Trochenbrod-Luziest. It no longer exists, but it was the 70th yarzeit of the mass murder of all it's Jews by the Nazi's. We were meeting others of a group who were going to Trochenbrod for the same reason. We were given the name of someone to contact in Lvov, to set up meals for Shabbat. However, there was no answer and no return call, after trying a few times. The idea of eating tuna fish and pita for Shabbat did no exactly thrill us, so my husband went to the front desk and inquired about the closest synagogue. And we lucked out! It was only a fifteen minute walk from the hotel. It was impossible however,to know that this was a shul from the outside. There was a high wall, and only a Magen David on the dome of the Shul. There were two men sitting in the courtyard of the shul, who were supposedly standing guard. Without a word, they immediately contacted the Rebbetzin, who is American, and who invited us for the two Shabbosim that we were going to be in Lvov. We had no idea that there was a Rabbi and Rebetzin in Lvov. They are not Chabad, however, they are doing marvelous work, in trying to save the few Jews that are there, from assimilation. The ten or eleven elderly men who come to shul, also eat all their meals in the shul, and some can barely read Hebrew. The actual shul, which is magnificent, is not used because there is no money to pay for electricity or heat. They use a small side room. We spent two amazing Shabbosim in the home of Rabbi & Rebetzin Bald, although for the second Shabbos Rabbi Bald was in the U.S. for the siyum Ha'Shas. Their overall work involves running a day camp and day school to save whatever Jews are still left in Lvov, and they have been quite successful.

(3) Suri, August 8, 2012 2:41 AM

Same situation occurred to us!

I found this incident so inspiring as we had an almost identical just 8 weeks ago (I believe with the same hotel as yourself) and we ended up going to a most picturesque resort town in the Italian Alps (which we are told is no comparison to the our original destination in Switzerland). So it was better than expected, with Hashem's help

(2) ruth housman, August 7, 2012 1:25 PM

The Messiah must be on his/her way

I think this is beautiful, as is this wonderful place and how you landed there, and surely the sherbet, (kosher) in beshert. And yes, I do see that it's All God, as you do, and I feel the AWE that is deeply part of the word G_D. What is perhaps odd is that yes, this was once a place, a differet kind of place, a Club Med and now there are religious Jews with kippas, and hats, and wearing black. I think the message is the same, and that is, YES, it's a kind of messianic perception, but I see it differently, because what follows, in the story I am putting down, every single day of my life, is a story only God could have written, and these celebrations, the Club Med, is part of the music too. And yes, there are times, they do it, seemingly wrong, as Club Med has its problems, but so does ultra Orthodox Judaism in how the world is perceived. To be prismatic, is to filter the light and to know one is wearing filters, and we must try, as Jews, to be more humble and to realize God created the Entire Universe, and it's ONE VERSE, so look to the music in practises that are not yours. Because that's the Messianic percept. I KNOW it, and I KNOW GOD. I have a very personal relationship which I can prove, if anyone ever takes the time to read my lips and read what I have written, so constantly, down the lines. We are ONE and that means any Messiah is part of every single ONE of us. There is a beautiful line in Lies My Father Taught Me. A young boy in this play, which recently starred Bikel in Montreal, asked his zaide, could I be the Messiah? The answer was Yes, of course you can be! Of course. And that applies to us women, too. In SHE after all is the word HE and also in our word shekinah, for the indwelling female presence of God.

(1) Michal, August 7, 2012 11:41 AM

God really gave you a present

I have been in Wengen some years ago with the whole family (including parents in law. We found it just as beautiful as you describe it, Emuna.

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