Granny Shapiro had never been on an airplane. It was not that she had not wanted to ride one; it was just that when she was a young lady, airplanes were not around, and when she was older – well, she was very afraid.
But now, with her granddaughter's wedding taking place in Israel, Mrs. Shapiro was about to embark on her very first flight. And she was very afraid. As she sat down in her aisle seat, she looked around at her surroundings. She noticed a nice young man sitting across the row from her.
"So when the Jews have a fiery love for G‑d in their hearts, then He will dwell in them?" "Excuse me," she said, turning to the man just as the plane took off and was gaining altitude. "I am so scared. This is my first time on a plane and I do not understand. How come the plane does not crash? How do we stay in the air? How does this all work?
"Whoa – just calm down, Ma'am, there is no need to be afraid," said the man, smiling. "I have flown dozens of times and nothing has ever happened. You see, each plane is tested time and time again before takeoff. They make sure that the engines are going to be working the entire time that the plane is in the air."
Mrs. Shapiro slightly loosened her grip on her chair. "Are you trying to tell me that the entire time that we are in the air, there are engines working to make this plane fly?"
"Absolutely, there is no need to be afraid."
"Ach, then it is just like the Jews," commented Mrs. Shapiro.
"Yes, you know what the Sanctuary is, or the Temple?" began Mrs. Shapiro.
"Of course, it is in Jerusalem. The Western Wall is all that is left."
"Well, let me tell you, it is also in your heart. G‑d says He will dwell in the heart of every Jew. So G‑d is in our personal Sanctuary, our hearts."
"Yes, Ma'am," said the young man. "That sounds nice. But what has that got to do with the engines of the plane?"
Mrs. Shapiro looked at the man approvingly. "You are a smart man. So let me tell you the answer right away. You see, the Sanctuary had an altar that was always lit. There was always a fire burning, just like your example of how the airplane always has its engines running. So G‑d tells the Jewish people that every Jew needs to have a fiery love for G‑d, just like the altar always has a fire burning."
"Oh, so when the Jews have a fiery love for G‑d in their hearts, then He will dwell in them?" asked the young man.
"Exactly," exclaimed Mrs. Shapiro. "You caught on right away. When we keep a fire burning in our hearts for G‑d, then G‑d comes and dwells inside us."
"So if G‑d is inside us, there no reason to be afraid of airplanes, is there, Mrs. Shapiro?"
"Of course not! Who said I was afraid?" said Mrs. Shapiro.
She sat back in her seat and relaxed, with a deep sigh. Soon they would be in Jerusalem.