Hidden Gifts by Michael Winner/2/17/2022 A have a good friend who, for whatever reason, decided to marry a girl from England, where he is currently living. His 18-year-old daughter decided to come to Israel for a week and spent Shabbos with us, which was a big honor. Being that they came for Sukkos a few years ago, we've already met, and since he and I are so similar … well … things went well.He sent me three gifts, none of which could not be ranked higher than the other. The first, a package of 240 teabags from PG Tips, an excellent tea in the UK. Three boxes of root-beer flavored Mike & Ikes (which I had no clue existed). And last but not least, a simple card. With a painting of a hippopotamus lying on a couch.When he was in South Africa a few years ago, he saw it and bought it with the intention of giving it to me. His wife thought he was crazy for wanting to hold on to it for so long. I was touched. And it's now sitting on my desk.A sign of a true friend!At the end of one of the meals, I said, "I think it's time that we bless the Creator of the Universe for the bounty that he has given us."My wife quickly asked, "Why are you looking at me like that?" to which I responded, "Because you're the bounty that Hashem has blessed me with!"I immediately heard a groan from our esteemed guest. When I asked what's wrong, she replied, "That's the same stupid thing my father says to my mother!"Another sign of a good friend!I saw another gem from Rav Yaakov Meir Shechter that I thought I would share.According to the Zohar, when G-d wants to show us compassion, He first sends us a "gift," such as a poor person who needs our help. So, when we show compassion to that poor person, that "enables" Hashem to show compassion to us, as the Gemara (Shabbos 151b) says: "Whoever has compassion on G-d's creatures receives compassion from Heaven." When we initiate something below, Hashem responds from Above.This is not only true with compassion, but is also true with other things. In fact, He could send us gifts to save us.For example, let's say we have been doing things that have not been oh-so-kosher and Hashem is "angry." He could easily hit us over the head with something, or He can send somebody our way who will anger us. If we restrain our anger, so too, Hashem will restrain His anger.In this week's parasha, we see the Jewish nation sinning with the Golden Calf. When Hashem wished to wipe us out, Moshe interceded and begged on our behalf. The Gemara (Rosh HaShanah 17a) relates that Hashem "wrapped Himself in a tallis" and taught Moshe the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, "The L-rd, the L-rd, mighty, merciful and gracious …" He said to Moshe, "When the Jewish people sin, let them abide by these attributes, and I will forgive them."Unfortunately, we go through life so often without thinking about what's going on around us. Many times people, or incidences, are serving as a direct messenger from Hashem. Having compassion or withholding anger, will not only help us improve ourselves, but could also change how Hashem sees us.Have a wonderful Shabbos!