Friday, March 14, 2014
For those of you who don't know, B"H I am engaged to marry a wonderful woman who Hashem has bestowed upon me with His enormous kindness, sweetness and love. G-d willing, Yocheved Krems and I will be getting married on the night of the 10th of Nissan (corresponding to April 9) in the holy city of Yerushalayim, where she has lived for the past 25 years. We will be spending Pesach (Passover) there, and then returning to Los Angeles to begin part II of our lives. With G-d's help and approval may they be long and fulfilling years of sweetness, rewewal and discovery, years that we always merit to feel Hashem's love with clarity.
Yesterday, I brought Yocheved to the airport to begin her trip eastward, flying to icy Boston where she will be spending Purim with her son Zalman and his family. It will be a wonderful reunion in that they haven't seen each other for some years, before her return to Israel.
I want to share with you a remarkable glimpse into the amazing deliverances that Hashem constantly sends us--the key being to have the the humility to see and the openness to understand. After davening mincha, I picked up Yocheved from Bed Bath and Beyond where she was buying some new items with which to begin our new life. Before leaving LA, we wanted to go together to one of my mashpiyim to receive his brocho, a dear friend and great holy man who has helped me through many trying and challenging times over the past 20 years, and who has, each year that she was sick, read the megillah for my Chana Fayge, A"H). He was wonderful and blessed us for many years of unity and love, that every day of our new life should be filled with G-dliness, and that the greatest tool that the "other side" uses to challenge our closeness to Hashem is stress! With that in mind, when we came out to our car, there was a ticket for $68. But instead of being upset, the two of us resolved to thank Hashem that he gave us what we needed and not rush to the airport, though Yocheved's flight what scheduled to leave in an hour and 20 minutes.
Thanks to Hashem's continued great kindness, we made it to LAX without especially rushing at 8:35 (the flight to Boston was for 9:30) and we parted ways with the hope of next seeing each other soon in Israel. Strangely, though, after eating something that Yocheved had packed for me, driving out the airport, and turning onto 96th St, for some reason, I had looped around and was going back into the airport. OK. So, I tried exiting again, and... again, as I turned left, to exit the airport, I realized that I was supposed to turn right, so here I was again going back into the airport. I paused, looked on my right, and there on the passenger seat was...Yocheved's winter coat and scarf. "Oh, no!" I thought to myself, Yocheved is on her way to freezing Boston without a winter coat. It was now 9:00 o'clock, and instinctively, though I was now out of the airport on Airport Blvd and Manchester, I turned around to go back. But then stopped, realizing that it was 9:05, and it would be impossible to meet Yocheved, even if she realized that she didn't have her coat and scarf, for how could she possibly run all the way back to the street, meet me, and then get back wait in line to again clear TSA security and make her 9:30 flight? It was clearly impossible. But as i was turning around and thinking this, I received an unfamilar phone # on my cell phone with a 203 area code. I usually don't answer strange #'s but for some reason, I decided to answer. It was Yocheved! (That afternoon, we had dropped her cell phone off to be repaired...so she didn't have one.) She asked where I was, and I told her that I was just 3 minutes away from the airport, and another two minutes G-d wiilling to come around to American Airlines. We agreed to try. I want to now share with you her end of this wonderful G-dly kindness:
"So, after you brought me the coats/sweater (it's COLD here!!!), I ran to the TSA checkpoint. I had been shunted to a second line before I came out to you, and asked to go back in that line. Thank G-d. The agent recognized me and let me pass into that line. Which turned out to be a TSA pre-check line. I didn't have to remove my laptop or my jacket/shoes, and I breezed through, curious about the long line from the other line. I made it to the gate just before they closed it - I was the second to last person to board the plane and they shot my carry-on into the luggage hold, as they had no more space in the overhead cabinets.
Imagine if I'd been in the other line. (Still waiting to hear what happened to you!)
Hashem is good."
Oh, and by the way, I realized that $68, the amount of the ticket is the gematria (spiritual numerical value) of "chayim"-life. I realize that this fine that I will gladly pay was a pidyon, a redemption or ransom for my/our souls. Our sages tell us that the world we live in operates like the tides, ebbing and flowing between kindness and harsh judgments. Often, we don't see exactly what is going on, or more accurately, we are not supposed to see what is really going on, for if we did, it would take away our free choice, and how can one express his love if something is so obvious and compelling that he doesn't have free choice?! And yet, because Hashem loves us so much, He gives us a special escape hatch--that when we realize that the attribute of harsh judgement is in operation and at the for, we can mitigate it and sweeten it in several ways, creating a new Universe!! How do we do it? By doing acts of kindness, or by redeeming ourselves with money. Sometimes we merit being given the opportunity to give tzedoka, to help those in need with our money, and sometimes, like in my case, Hashem, lovingly, envelopes me and gives me the ticket of redemption.
May you always merit to see His love and wishing you all a wonderful glowing Shabbos and the happiest Purim ever!