Though the prices of airline tickets to Israel had soared with the increase in the cost of fuel this summer, my son Moshe was determined to visit his ailing grandfather in Jerusalem. His goal was to travel after Tisha B’Av, and to return to the U.S. in time to see his grandmother who would be visiting from Los Angeles. It was only with Hashem’s help that Moshe was able to be home to greet his beloved grandmother when she arrived.
After working long hours to build up his own savings, it was not easy for him to spend hundreds of dollars on just one flight. Though they did not have much advanced planning, our son kindly invited his sister along for the trip, knowing that she would love the opportunity to see her best friend who lived there. It was when we were packing that we noticed that our daughter’s Israeli passport had expired, and we asked our son if he would kindly assist in applying for a new one during their ten-day trip in Eretz Yisrael.
Moshe and Basya traveled to the Ministry of the Interior in Jerusalem to order a new passport on a Thursday. There were eight clerks working in the office, and my son and daughter were fortunate to be summoned to the counter of one of the nicer employees. They were told to come back the following Sunday to pick up the passport. Their flight was for Monday evening. That Sunday, both were relieved to receive the new passport.
On Monday afternoon, as the two were preparing to go to the airport, Moshe realized that his passport was missing. They were short on time. His options were to try to go to the airport and attempt to leave the country using only his American passport or not to try at all. Since our son had to help his sister get from Yerushalayim to the airport, he decided to try to get on the plane as well.
Moshe did not even have a chance. Security comes first and foremost at Ben Gurion airport. Moshe was sent back to Yerushalayim as his sister got on the plane to New Jersey. Basya arrived alone on Tuesday morning at Newark.
After returning to Yerushalayim, Moshe had a big job to tackle. His grandmother from Los Angeles was scheduled to arrive on Thursday afternoon in New Jersey. He had to work fast. He would have to find a way to circumvent the three-day hold on passport processing in order to get back to New Jersey on time. The only way he believed he would be successful was if he could be assisted by the very same lady who had serviced him the week before.
In order for this plan to succeed, not only would the same clerk have to be in the office, he would need to be called to her window. Then she would need to remember my son from the hundreds of clients she helped weekly. Finally, she would have to have the ability to issue a new passport on the spot.
It was a tall order. My son waited his turn in line, carefully watching customer after customer being called up to one of the eight windows. Would he be called to the right window? To our son’s great joy, the clerk that he was hoping to meet motioned him to her window! Moshe hoped that the mitzvos he performed in visiting his sick grandfather and going out of his way to help his sister had earned him enough help from Heaven to be able to catch the Tuesday night flight with a new Israeli passport in hand.
And with Hashem’s help, he was successful.
When we saw Moshe leaping to greet my mother as she arrived from California, our sense of gratitude deepened for the help we had received from the One Above.