Almost five years ago we did major renovations on our apartment. A group of dear friends bought me a lovely door sign indicating that the Rotman Family lived behind this particular door. The sign was made of glass with a silvery tint and matched my décor beautifully. My family enjoyed the sign greatly.
But I guess we didn’t use strong enough glue to attach the sign to the slippery metal door because one day it fell off. Thankfully there was only a minor chip that didn’t mar the beauty of the sign terribly. We used a stronger glue and reattached the sign. A couple of years passed and one day I found my lovely mirrored sign on the floor in front of my door in shards. This could not be fixed. I swept up the pieces disheartened. Beyond the fact that I mourned the loss of the pretty sign, it was a testament to my dear friends’ gift.
A few months went by with no sign on my door. Every so often I realized that I really needed to remedy this. After all, people may be looking for the Rotman family and not find us because we have no sign on the door. On Chanuka I happened to be doing some errands in the busy shopping area of the city. Buying a new door sign was not on my list of ‘things to do,’ but as I passed the store where they make mirrored door signs, I paused. Should I go in and order a new name plate? I wondered. I juggled my loose thoughts for a few seconds, but quickly walked towards my car to go home. My thoughts were mostly telling me: Even if I got a new door plate, it wouldn’t be the one from my friends and who says this one won’t smash as well. My last and dominant thought was, I just want to go home.
A few days later after my trip in the city center, someone advertised on the local email list a business that sold magnet door name plates. Hey, I thought, that could be a great idea. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about it smashing. I contacted the people advertising. They sent me an online brochure of their styles. We picked one out and gave the name information. I arranged for online payment and they would contact me when the name plates would arrive to the neighborhood.
The people who created the name plates didn’t live locally, but they have good friends who were willing to keep them for pick up. I was informed that the name plates had reached my neighborhood Sunday evening. Late Sunday night, I received a message that they would be in a box outside a certain family’s door with the address and floor number.
I knew this family a little bit. They have a distinct last name and we have crossed paths in the past, but they live at the opposite end of the neighborhood and I don’t frequently find myself in their area. Monday morning I reminded myself of my weekly learning group. I could pick up the name plate then. But of course, I forgot about it in the hectic tornado of Monday morning.
I forgot all about the name plate on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday morning I made a mental survey of the things that needed to get done for Shabbos. In my foggy mind, a thought hit me. I never got that name plate. Oh no. I quickly looked at my phone for the address, threw a few things in my purse, and drove off to that side of the neighborhood where that name plate has been sitting and waiting. I parked and peered into my purse to check again the exact address and realized, no phone. In my haste, I left it sitting on the table beside my purse. Oh no.
I knew the exact address was one of three buildings. I would just look for this unique family name on those three buildings’ entrances and I would find where to go. But just at that moment my mind froze, and I couldn’t think what that unique name was. Ok, I told myself, I will recognize the name when I see it. But Hashem, it is Friday, could you make this go faster?
I approached one of the three possible buildings and just as I was about to take the stairs down to the entrance, a familiar man walked by. This was the very owner of the apartment where my name plate was sitting forlorn.
“Um,” I told the hapless man,” I was just on my way to your house. I was supposed to pick up a door plate outside your house.”
The man nodded in acknowledgement. “Is your name Levy? Those name plates were supposed to be picked up already” he commented.
“No, it’s Rotman,” I answered. “I am so happy you showed up. I rushed out of my house when I realized I had forgotten to get the name plate, and I forgot to bring my phone with your exact address. This saved me from searching a few buildings.”
The man looked surprised. “Oh, I know who you are. I guess it’s a good thing I stayed a little longer in shul. Normally I would have been home already.”
When we got to his floor, the man pointed to the box that contained the name plates. There was only one left in the box, and it said Rotman. And now everyone who is looking for the Rotman family will be able to find them.