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The Day a Rabbi’s Wife Was Saved at Our Synagogue

A few weeks ago, we had a salvation at our synagogue. While this wasn’t the first person to be saved at our synagogue, this salvation was unique for three reasons. The first reason this experience was unique was that the person who was saved was my wife. The second reason that made this moment unique was that I was the one who saved her. And the third reason it was unique was that it wasn’t her soul that was saved, it was her life. But, I will get back to that in a moment.

I was a 10 year old cub scout when I was first introduced to first aid and CPR. Years later, I took a course to be certified when I was in ROTC in high school. Once again, I took CPR when I was in boot camp in the Navy, and I took it again when I was in training to be an aircrewman. While leading a congregation in Alabama, I enrolled and completed training to be an emergency medical technician where, once again, I took CPR training. Then, when I moved back to Florida, I was certified again in CPR when I served as Staff Chaplain for our local Sheriff’s Office.

As a part of each of these CPR training classes, except for my cub scout class, I was instructed in the use of the Heimlich maneuver to save a person who was choking. However, in the nearly fifty years since the very first time I was taught how to use the Heimlich, I never once had to use it to help someone who was choking. That is until just recently when I was sitting at a table eating a meal after our Shabbat service at our synagogue when I looked over to see a look of fear on my wife’s face. She was beginning to turn red. I immediately asked her if she was choking and she responded by holding her hands by her throat and nodding. I stood up, stood her up, reached around her and performed the Heimlich exactly as I had been taught, and was able to free the piece of food from her throat. That afternoon, my wife was saved at our synagogue.

You may be saying: “Wow, that is great that you were able to save your wife’s life, but isn’t your blog usually about something from the Bible?” I am glad you asked because this blog is about something from the Bible and I am hopeful that it will encourage everyone who reads it.

In the beginning chapters of the Book of Numbers, we read about the assignments given to the different families within the tribe of Levi. Each family was given a very specific part to play in the set up, operation, and moving of the Tabernacle in the wilderness (and later in the land of Israel). One family was given the responsibility to carry and transport the various furniture, etc. that were used as part of the sacrificial system of worship that took place in the Tabernacle. You may not have given a lot of thought to these chapters in the Bible and how they played out in the lives of the various Levite families. However, if you are a believer in Yeshua, then like the Levitical families, you have a calling of service upon your life and these chapters are extremely relevant to you.

Without going deep into the details of who did what and when, just remember that there were certain Levites whose job it was to participate in the sacrificial system in the Tabernacle, while there were other Levites whose only job was to carry a piece of the Tabernacle or furnishings when the Tabernacle was transported from one location to another.

Most of us don’t think about the fact that the Tabernacle stood at Kadesh Barnea for about 35 years before the Israelites entered Canaan. This means that there would have been Levites who lived their entire lives and without ever once actually doing the job G-D had assigned them to do. Just imagine being one of those Levites who woke up every morning hoping the cloud would rise so they could fulfill their G-D given calling to carry a piece of the Holy Tabernacle. Every single day they would wake up and watch as the Levites from the other families would gather at the Tabernacle and serve out their calling, all the while they would wait for the day when they would be able to serve also.

Some of these Levites waited for 35 years day after day, until the day finally came when the cloud lifted, the Tabernacle was disassembled, and they were finally able to do what they were chosen and called to do.

As I write this today, I know without a shadow of a doubt that there are those of you who are reading this who, like these Levitical families, have a G-D given calling on your life and you have been waiting for years for your cloud to rise. Please don’t give up. Please know that if G-D has given you a calling or an assignment, it will come to fullness. One day, the cloud will rise.

Until that day comes, please continue to prepare. I don’t know how long it will be before the day the cloud will rise and provide an opportunity for you to fulfill your calling and serve G-D in the fullness of the role for which you were born. What I do know is that G-D prepared me for nearly 50 years before He used me to use the Heimlich to save my wife's life.

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