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Faces on Faith: God carried me


PHOTO PROVIDED Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs

There is a well-known story about a man privileged to see the course of his life as “Footprints in the Sand.” Most of the time there were two sets of prints but occasionally there was only one. God explained, “Where you see two sets, that is where I walked with you.”

“But why,” the man asked, “did you leave me in the places where there is only one?”

“No,” the Eternal One answered, “the places where there is only one set of footprints are the places where I carried you.”

Rosh Hashanah began auspiciously. Our evening service was our first attempt to live stream from our sanctuary, and despite a few glitches it went well thanks to our amazing tech team at Bat Yam Temple of the Islands, as well as the prodigious efforts of Cantor Murray Simon and our amazing, first-time Shofar blower Elissa Karasin-Samet.

We had no professional lighting crew, no specially installed Klieg lights, no choir and no musical instruments except the awesome Abbey Allison at the piano.

As the rabbi of the congregation, I felt like a bit player in an amazingly well-coordinated volunteer effort. I could not be more proud of the congregation I serve.

At midnight that night, I awoke with a sharp pain where my right hip meets my torso. I lay there for a while thinking and hoping it would go away. When it did not, I took some pain medication; it only got worse. So I woke Vickie.

She called our daughter-in-law physician in San Francisco, who advised us to go to the ER.

The staff at Lee Memorial could not have been more helpful. Feeling a lump, the doctor diagnosed a hernia and ordered a CT scan and a very strong narcotic for the pain. Four hours later, he suggested I be admitted and further evaluated the next day.

When I explained that this was Rosh Hashanah, and I hoped to conduct services in a few hours, he agreed to release me with a strong prescription if the pain recurred.

When we got home and took showers, I fell into a deep narcotic-induced sleep. When Vickie woke me, I could not believe it was already time to get up. Somehow I led the service.

Afterward, several congregants shared that it was one of the most meaningful worship services they had ever attended.

As for me, I have no doubt. That was one of the times God carried me.

Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs is with the Bat Yam Temple of the Islands.