I have spent half a lifetime trying to see the Divine providence in everything. As I reflect on the events of a few weeks ago, I look for G‑d’s hand ...

My family lives in a community that is just beyond an area we call “The Hood.” On Shabbat, in order to walk from our house to shul (synagogue), we must pass through this three-block area that is zoned for Section 8 housing and an outdoors shopping mall. On most days, the locals will be walking to the mall with their families to do their shopping or aimlessly roving around, shopping for action and fun.

For the past five years, since we moved into our community, we have walked passed “The Hood” to and from shul without incident. Everybody on our commute knows us. How canEverybody on our commute knows us they not? My husband marches by, wearing his long beard, his shiny black kapoteh (frock coat), and his Borsalino perched on his head. Following him are his loyal soldiers, our sons, dressed in their uniform of white shirts, black pants and black velvet kippot.

My husband is the “holy man.” People of many races stop him to say “Shalom.” Once, when he was late coming home on Shabbat morning, I went to look for him and found him on the corner with a young man, who was speaking with my husband about his relationship issues. The way they were intimately talking, I thought my husband knew this guy. No, the young man just wanted to talk to a religious person about his troubles. I wonder if he mistook my husband for “a man of the cloth” instead of “a man of the book”!

A few weeks ago, after lighting the Shabbat candles, my children and I were setting the table for our many guests, including relatives who were visiting from out of town. I was somewhat annoyed that my 4-year-old and 14-year-old sons had chosen not to go to shul with their father, which was unusual.

Suddenly, my 11-year-old son came running into the house, crying hysterically, “A gangster PUSHED Tatty!” At least that is what I heard. I ran to the front door to see what was happening, when I saw my husband come walking up the path, supported by one of our Shabbat guests. His face was bleeding so profusely that blood was dripping from his beard. We watched, stunned, as he walked in, went to the kitchen and washed his face in the sink. My son brought him a chair.

I looked into his ashen face and was shocked by what I saw. His right eye and cheek were swollen to three times their normal size, and a two-inch gash split his eyelid open. I quickly motioned for someone to call Hatzalah, the volunteer emergency medical services (which often has a faster response time than calling 911).

My husband explained, “A gangster with a stocking on his head walked up to us and asked for help. I apologized that we were unable to give him anything. As he walked by, he grabbed my arm. I asked him not to touch me or the kids [two boys, age 11 and 7]. He walked past and started cursing and threatening us. The next thing I knew, I was on the ground, trying to get up, but could not because he was punching my face. People in cars stopped; this was right by Ross and McDonald’s. He threatened those who stopped that he would stab them. He finally ran off.” I was shocked by what I saw

Hatzalah came within minutes. We knew the EMTs; they go to our shul. They cleaned up my husband, and called an ambulance and the police. The paramedics came and transported him to the closest hospital. We waited hours as they performed a CAT scan and an eye exam. He needed a plastic surgeon and many stitches to sew his eyelid back together.

When the plastic surgeon was finished, we were ready to return home. We walked home at midnight to a dark house—the timers had shut the lights, the little children were sleeping, and the guests and big children were waiting for our return. The children had set the kitchen table for us to enjoy our Shabbat meal, but my husband could not eat, as his jaw was too swollen to allow him to chew without pain.

Here was a man who only had good will toward everyone he came into contact with, and yet this heinous act was perpetrated against him. It was heart-breaking. Yet, I know that G‑d is the one in charge, and a beating like my husband took could have happened on the streets of Beverly Hills, as well as the streets by our home. As I look back on that night, I choose to focus on what I’m grateful for.

First of all, I am grateful that two of my sons were not with my husband during the attack. My 4-year-old has been working hard to overcome some developmental delays and anxieties, and I cannot imagine what a setback it would have been for him to witness such violence against his father. And my 14-year-old, who is physically strong and towers above his father, is of the age that he feels invincible and would do anything to protect his family, yet he is still a child. It is almost funny that I was annoyed with these two children for not leaving to go to shul with their father, but now I am quite thankful.

I’m grateful that the paramedics brought my husband to a hospital that is one block away from our house (the very same hospital where my husband goes to blow shofar on Rosh Hashanah, and shake the lulav and etrog on SukkotMy children learned an important lesson with the Jewish patients). While this hospital is not in our insurance network, it was very helpful that I was able to settle the kids and the visitors, and then walk over to join my husband.

And I’m grateful that my children learned an important lesson. That Shabbat morning, my husband got up, got dressed, put on sunglasses to cover up the damage and told the children to get ready for shul. My children walked proudly next to their father, knowing that a punch in the dark does not deter a Jew from doing a mitzvah.