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August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
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Heaven’s Door


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It was the first Sunday in April when my son called with the following query:

“Abba,” he asked. “What’s the name of the ’80s music group that rediscovered one of Bob Dylan’s greatest hits?”

I immediately answered him. As it turned out, my son was in a car at the time with a classmate’s father and the father’s friend.

I would have thought little of this exchange until I came home that Thursday night to discover an urgent message on my answering machine. To my surprise, it was none other than the fellow who was in the car with my son. When I returned the call, the man told me that he had an unusual story to relate.

His wife was involved with a chesed organization that helped arrange funerals for those in need. The mother of one of my high school classmates had just passed away and her son, an only child, lived out of state. When he was contacted about the arrangements for his mother’s funeral, he asked if somebody could get in touch with me so that I might attend the services.

I have no idea why he thought of me, as we hadn’t conversed in more than 30 years. But when the circumstances were explained, I readily assented. The following day, I came to the funeral home to pay my respects and to reacquaint with a former friend.

At this point, I discerned the Hand of Hashem. An innocent question about rock and roll allowed someone to hear my name so that a few days later, when he was in a position to assist in true chesed to the dead, he knew how to obtain my phone number and put me in a position to fulfill a friend’s request.

Oh, by the way, the name of that Dylan song was “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”

Hey, you can’t make this stuff up!

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