Yesterday, I was walking on the beach next to the hotel where I am staying. I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to me, and the other to the Lord. It reminded me of the following famous text:
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.That text is well-known, and while its precise source is debated, it is of Christian origin. Yet I came across it about twenty years ago in a contemporary charedi sefer of parashah vortlach called Yalkut Lekach Tov. It presented the Footprints text as being a parable stated by "an Adam Gadol."
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it:
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."
The Lord replied: "My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
At the time, I was very much into a black-and-white understanding of the principle of "Torah b'goyim, al ta'amin." God spoke to the Jews through the Torah, and not to anyone else. I took great pride and dignity in the difference between Jews and non-Jews. Yet here was a Christian parable being presented in a super-frum parashah sefer! This was one of the many things that led me on the path of realization that things were not always as black-and-white as I had previously thought.
Anyway, when I encountered the Lord on the beach yesterday, he made a similar offer to the Lord on the beach in the parable. He was telling my wife about how bad he feels for wives who have to suffer their husband's books being banned, and he said that if we are ever feeling down, we should just write to him and he will call and offer whatever chizzuk he can!
Needless to say, no other Knight has ever offered to save me from distress. Which left me pondering a thought that was very appropriate for Pesach: It was nice that this knight was different from all other knights!