We were very excited about attending our dear nephew’s aufruf (ceremony in shul the Shabbos preceding a wedding). We didn’t know where we were being put up, but somehow the address sounded familiar. When we got to the house, I recognized it immediately. It was the Brooklyn office of the Hebron community in Israel. The bar mitzvah of my son, of blessed memory, had been Parshas Chayei Sarah, the Torah portion that describes how Abraham buried his wife Sarah in Hebron. His bar mitzvah theme had been “Hebron.”
I felt right at home.
Once we were settled in, I realized that I had forgotten my siddur. I looked around, but only found old sefarim (holy books) – but no siddur.
When it was time to bring in Shabbos, I couldn’t remember all the blessings by heart. I searched some more, but to no avail.
When we left after a beautiful Shabbos dinner, I realized again that I didn’t have a siddur to say “Krias Shema” (prayers before going to sleep). I kept looking, and repeating, “I have to find a siddur.”
Shabbos was over and we finally returned home. I found a shopping bag under my mailbox. I had no idea who had left it there. When I looked inside, I saw that it was a sefer. I lifted it from the bag. It was a siddur with my deceased son’s name engraved in Hebrew on the leather cover!
Enclosed was a note that read, “I found this siddur in my son’s room and thought you would want to have it.”
The note was from the mother of my son’s high school friend.
All of this occurred around the day of my son’s birthday. He would have been 24 years old. Receiving this siddur at this moment felt like a message from Above. I felt Hashem comforting me with love, giving me strength to get through the day.
It was a gift I will cherish.
Happy birthday, Zavel. I love you and miss you very much. May your neshamah (soul) have an aliyah, and may you continue to watch over me, our family, and Klal Yisrael. Yes, I will continue to daven with your siddur and take it with me everywhere I go. What a wonderful gift. Thank you.