Torah Musings: Locked in a Vault


Locked in a Vault

Sarah Pachter

A few days ago, I was discussing the article I was working on with my neighbor while we took our morning jog. The subject was how Hashem’s hand is in everything that happens to us, even if the timing seems terrible.

She turned to me and said, “Well, do I have a story for you! You have to use this for your article.”  My ears perked up at her sudden change in tone.

Her story at first seemed disheartening. My neighbor’s husband is a successful Hollywood screenwriter, director, and producer. His films have started careers for well-known actors and actresses, and have gone on to be box office hits.

Although wildly successful today, he started as an eager writer with a dream. At the age of 25, he sent his first script off to Miramax in the hopes of it turning into a movie. The script had tremendous potential, and the company bought the rights for the screenplay almost immediately. Unfortunately, just after Miramax bought it, the production company entered into litigation. The court ordered every script locked into a secret vault until the case was settled.

My neighbor’s husband’s script was one of the thousands in that vault. Additionally, while the script was stagnant in the vault, he couldn’t send it elsewhere.

That script was locked up for 12 years. That’s right – twelve years! It would remain untouched, unread, and completely unappreciated for all of that time.

While most would have lost hope, and maybe even thrown in the towel altogether, my neighbor’s husband decided to accept the screenplay’s fate and move on. In the meantime, he started a new one, which did, in fact, make it to the big screen. And later, he went on to write several other scripts, many of which became box office hits.

It had been such a long time since his script had been locked inside a vault that he forgot about it. Although it took him a long time to write it (as scripts can take years to write) he “wrote it off” (pun intended) and figured it just wasn’t meant to be.

However, after approximately 4380 days, the vault was opened. Scouts scoured through the various scripts. They noticed some of the scripts had been asterisked and others hadn’t. The scouts were told to toss aside any scripts that weren’t starred.

My neighbor’s husband’s script was one of the scripts that had been asterisked. They took another look at it, and just like that, offered him a contract!

In a conversation with this writer and his wife, they noted all of the positive things that occurred precisely because the script had been locked up for so many years. This time, 12 years later, not only did the studio use my neighbor’s husband as the writer, but they offered him the opportunity to direct the project as well. This is something that probably never would have occurred if they had found the script earlier. Only after having years of experience writing and directing under his belt, did they feel he was capable to direct it as well. Additionally, he now had a growing family, and was able to use the proceeds from the movie to provide for them. Had he made his profit at 25, he admitted that the money might have been squandered on meaningless pursuits.

My neighbor felt tremendous gratitude for G-d’s detailed and orchestrated plan. Indeed, their story was kind of like the movies (another pun intended!). My neighbor even admitted that her instagram hashtags for the film premiere became #pinchme and #sothisisreallyhappening. Whenever my husband and I compliment his work, his reply always shies away from his personal talents, and instead, he turns the outcome upwards saying, “I feel very blessed.”

Their testimony is a perfect example of never losing hope in G-d’s master plan.

What can we do when we are waiting for some sort of redemption that seems to be stagnant or “locked in a vault?” The answer is to take action.

One of the most important lessons that I took from this story is that my neighbor’s husband kept moving forward. He didn’t idly wait around for the vault to open. He kept developing his writing talents.  He didn’t stay paralyzed or depressed because all his hard work was locked inside a vault. He never said, “Oh, forget it! I’ll never write a movie again!” He took those 12 years to grow exponentially, so that by the time the vault was open, much more happened than what he could have ever dreamed.

Every morning we say the following prayer: Baruch Atah Hashem Elokeinu Melech ha’olam matir asurim. “Blessed are you, Hashem – our G-d, King of the universe – Who releases the bound.”

This sentence might seem odd since most readers are not tied up, behind bars, or bound by any physical means. Instead, it is referring to our experiences that might make us feel locked in or tied up. We recognize on a daily basis that Hashem has the power to release that which is bound. Whether the reader is looking to have children, increase opportunity for sustenance, or release their movie script, these words can be relevant to everyone. We can always pray to G-d to unlock opportunities in our life.

Hashem is precise, and knows exactly what He’s doing. Sometimes delays seem negative, but really these delays are gifts that Hashem offers to us to unwrap at the precise moment we are ready. Redemption comes at the perfect time.

Sometimes we wait impatiently, or we give up, deciding that it’s been too long and whatever it is that we want is impossible. However, Hashem can make anything happen, no matter how late it may seem.

Hashem doesn’t always answer us when we want Him to. However, everything happens for a reason, and in the blink of an eye – not a moment before or a moment too late – redemption comes. Our hopes and dreams might appear to be locked up for some time, but with hope and faith, Hashem will release them at the perfect time.

After I finished my jog with my neighbor, I left with more than just endorphins flowing. I was reminded to keep trekking, to keep praying, and to never give up hope, for nothing is impossible with G-d’s help.