My Personal Miracle at Ascent

by Moshe Arenson


On Thursday afternoon, December 4th 2008, my sister Riva and I were on our way to attend the "Kabbalah and Psychology" seminar presented by ASCENT, from Dec 4th to the 6th , in TSFAT (Safed). We were considerably delayed at a major intersection. I tried to make up time in order to ensure our timely arrival at the first lecture and unfortunately did not realize the speed I was driving. A traffic policeman stopped us and informed me that I was travelling at 130kph (81mph). Since he considered that a very serious offence he took my driving license away, gave me a temporary license and told me to report to the Rosh Pina police station (the main one in the Tsfat area) on Sunday at 9am, at which time it would be determined if my license would be confiscated for a period of 30 days! This was a very troubling situation for me to be in. Unfortunately, due to this "incident" we did arrive late, so very apologetically I explained the situation to one and all at Ascent.

The Seminar program was very interesting and the lecturers were talented and highly qualified. I discussed my predicament with all the lecturers, seeking some guidance. The only comments made by family and friends was that I was in a serious situation and from their past experience my license was likely to be confiscated for 30 days - "I had no hope of getting it back"! Eyal, the meditation expert, tried to be positive, but was unsure of the outcome.

The highlight came as we celebrated the Shabbat with a Farbrengen on Friday night after we and all the other guests returned from Shabbat dinner with local families. Yehiel and Nadav put on a special performance - this put me in touch with a higher level of emotions and spirit that I had never experienced before. The "lechaims" were plenty, highly energized and the atmosphere was electrifying. I felt that Yehiel and Nadav were touching my soul - their concern and inspiration gave me hope that "all was not lost".All those attending joined in the celebration of life. Many stories were told and the event was an interesting, enjoyable and positive experience.

The next day, Shabbat, I accompanied Yehiel to Shul. There I read "Pirkei Avot". I noted the importance of believing, studying and performing acts of kindness in one's life . The warm experience of Yehiel continuously taking care of me made me feel that I was being protected. The whole atmosphere of the seminar, being surrounded by people who really care, who embrace the importance of education, personal growth, transformation and seeking a better way of human respect and interaction, had an enlightening effect on me. The seminar program was well prepared. So many interesting and different insights to life were presented and discussed. The concept of thoughts, words and action inspired me while focusing on Mount Meron on our mystical tour of Tsfat. It was there that I was given the strength and inspiration to find an honorable way to explain my situation to the police on Sunday.

Since I was keen to give my sister a special time during the week-end, this "incident" was disturbing. My sister had come to Israel specially to join my family in celebrating our youngest son's wedding; our eldest son's, brit of his son, and our daughter's son's second birthday. Attending this seminar was to be an additional celebration for her. This "incident" was most unpleasant for both of us. Furthermore, if my driving license was to be taken away how would we get back home since we live near Netanya? This would cause a logistic problem.
Besides, we were looking forward to the final lecture at the Ascent on Sunday morning which was planned to start at 9.15am. We were to be at the Rosh Pina police station at 9am. So, we were disappointed at the prospect of missing that lecture.

I realize that 130kph is breaking the law and some people may be appalled by that. In principle, I am a person who adheres to the law. However, this experience and the whole atmosphere at Ascent and Tsfat brought me closer to the spiritual world where I could sense a very special value system. Furthermore, the recent tragedy in Mumbai was put in perspective by me being exposed to the exceptional and kind Chassidic way of life. This was my first experience of this kind. So many wonderful people giving so much of themselves to others, specially to people who they had not met before. This message of decency stirred a special feeling in my heart and soul and uplifted my spirit.

That Shabbat Day we had a full and thought provoking program at the Ascent . After Havdalah we danced with great rejoicing. Both Rabbi Mo and Rabbi Tilles were present at different times during Shabbat. All the time I felt uplifted and enjoyed the positive energy.

At the end of the evening we said our good-byes. Everybody wished us good luck with our next day's encounter with the police.

The next day, Sunday, we woke up early and made our way to Rosh Pina police station, arriving at 8.30am where there were a number of people waiting. Although the officer in charge was busy with someone,I asked him politely if he would take me next, since I wanted to get to a lecture at Ascent back in Tsfat at 9.15. A few minutes later my sister and I entered his office and sat at his desk. I presented my "Mount Meron" explanation to him, which included an apology for my misdeed. The police officer, with a glowing enlightened face, looked at us and examined my "record of previous offences". I felt that he knew the relevance of Ascent and the important part that the organization and its wonderful people play in society.

He then made the following statement;
"I have heard your explanation and apology, and since your "record" indicates that your last driving offence was in 2001, I will hand you back your driving license. Remember that you committed a serious offence; you have a court case next year; be careful, there are many police on the road and next time leave home earlier!"

I felt extremely humble. Other than thanking him, I could hardly talk. I was so deep in thought - how had this miracle taken place? I was astonished. Without saying a word we drove back to Ascent and participated in the last lecture. People were surprised and pleased to see us - "what happened?" they asked.

"Unbelievable!" they said after hearing the details. A few days later, Yehiel explained to me that it was clear to him already at the Farbrengen that a miracle was going to take place!

So, my heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful people who participated in this extraordinary experience at Ascent.

"What lesson did you learn from this?" a friend asked me back at home.
My reply - when one's spirits and emotions are uplifted in faith, gratitude, humility and decency, the positive energy that is created is boundless - the message of hope is what drives us on. The police officer obviously understood this.

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