Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hashgocha Pratis stories that aren't true

Mishpacha magazine in Hebrew prints a story every week that is supposed to be true (with the names and other identifying things changed). This past week they printed a story about an airline flight that went bad with hashgocha pratis that I happened to have first hand knowledge of (close relatives of mine were on the flight). When I read the story I was very surprised, they made significant changes to the facts and even added a number of events that didn't happen (I assume to emphasize or create the hashgocha pratis aspect).

The true story is the following. United flight 90 a little over a week before Pesach left Newark airport at 10:50PM on a Wednesday night. After takeoff the flight attendants discovered that 3 of the 8 bathrooms (all in coach) didn't work. About an hour into the flight an announcement was made over the PA asking for a doctor. About an hour and a half into the flight the decision was made to turn around and return to Newark. After landing in Newark, they attempted to fix the bathrooms. After a while they decided that the problem was more serious then they first thought and that they needed to switch planes. They marched everyone through the deserted airport to another gate to get on a different plane. However, at around 4AM the crew announced that they had worked too many hours and therefore could not fly. At that point they sent everyone to hotels and rescheduled the flight for Thursday afternoon at 1:30PM. Everyone left and returned the next morning boarded the flight and the flight took off with no problems for Israel arriving early Friday morning.

The story in the Mishpacha changed the following elements:
1. They made the flight a week later, the Wednesday right before Pesach, (for reasons that will become obvious, they wanted it to be right before Pesach not a week and a few days before Pesach)
2. There are 8 bathrooms on a 777, 5 in coach and 3 in business, the 3 bathrooms that were not working were in coach. They changed the story so that all 3 business class bathrooms weren't working to highlight the class aspects.

They added the following elements:

1. A meshulach who lost his wallet with all of the cash that he had collected (thousands of dollars). The story states that they made an announcement over the PA asking the passengers if anyone found a wallet, this never happened. This also explains why they changed the date, it was important that he wouldn't have the money for Pesach.
2. To enhance the hashgocho pratis they wrote that the wallet was found in the airport but the man couldn't get it because it was locked in a safe and the person who could open was not available before the flight was supposed to leave on Thursday afternoon. Therefore, with no choice (it was erev Pesach) he got on the plane with a heavy heart. But then hasgocha pratis struck, the plane had an engine problem on the runway and had to return to the terminal allowing the man to retrieve his wallet. The only problem is that this never happened, there was no engine trouble and the plane simply took off and flew to Israel.

 I have always taken these kinds of stories with a grain of salt but seeing firsthand how the writers changed the story to create the hashgocha pratis aspects is very disturbing. It calls into question all of these hashgocha pratis stories that you read. If they can change/falsify this one why not others?


Lakewood Falling Down said...

I do love a good story. To quote Mr. Spock from a Halloween Simpsons:
"The following story is true. And by true, I mean false."

dbclinton said...

Besides the made-up stories that make the rounds, there are plenty of misconceptions about the principle of hashgacha itself. See this essay on Rabman's shita

Berel said...

It's a lot better then the English Miaspacha which tries to prove it;s agenda by publishing "true" life experience stories that are made up completely.

Yosh55 said...

Rebbi va mori

Yosh55 said...

Rebbi va mori rav avigdor miller זצל was very against these storys... He said only we should believe the 13 pricible of faith of the rambam
Last year the english modia printed 2 storys of r shimon zietlan זל who was saved from the 1976 olypic terror... The story was a lie
Also about the volcano is iceland... A lie

The Shomer Toucher said...

Wow. That's a pretty far stretch. I'm sure there was hashgacha behind your flight being interrupted but we don't always see the other side right away, as in the Mishpacha story.

Anyway, I know you would have heard the announcement over the PA, but how do you know that there wasn't really a meshulach who lost his wallet? Maybe that was the story that somehow got embellished.

(Would you ever consider writing a private letter to the editor addressing this issue?)

Adam Zur said...

chaym levin's which he sold to one of those charedi short story writers was also falsified.he was pretty mad about it. But it got him a name in the frum world and offers of shiduchim. that is how he got married. But the story was falsified to show hasgacha pratit.
However personally I do believe that there is hashgacha pratit. --Just you should not lie to show it.