Photo Credit: Jewish Press

We were planning to arrive in Eretz Yisrael a day before erev Sukkot. Our oldest son was learning in Yerushalayim and our family was looking forward to joining him for yom tov. There is nothing more beautiful than Sukkos in Yerushalayim. Jews of all walks of life gather to experience the holiness and beauty of our eternal city on Sukkos. It’s a joy to see thousands of people davening Shacharis at the Kotel. The sea of swaying lulavim is an awe-inspiring sight.

Our son found a comfortable, centrally located apartment for us with a built-in sukkah. Everything proceeded as planned, and when our luggage was finally all packed, we called a car service. On the way to Kennedy Airport, I went through my carefully planned list of items to take along, and was satisfied that all was taken care of. We were on Ocean Parkway, ten minutes away from our house, when I suddenly reminded myself and exclaimed.


“Oh no! I left my makeup bag on the dresser!”

My husband looked at me calmly.

“O.K. Let’s call the airline to find out if our flight is on time, if it’s delayed we have time to turn back, if not, you will buy makeup there.”

Tickets in hand I called El Al Airlines.

“Can you tell me if flight 354 to Tel Aviv is leaving on time?”

“We don’t have a flight 354 going to Tel Aviv,” was the agent’s bland answer.

“What do you mean, you don’t have 354!?” I yelled. “Our ticket clearly states flight 354 leaving for Tel Aviv at 7:45 p.m.”

“Lady, we don’t have such flight.” Miss bland sounded irritated.

What’s wrong with this agent? Did I call the wrong airline?

“Is this El Al?”

“Yes ma’am. It is.”

How could this be happening? We had booked this flight six months ago. I spent weeks organizing, shopping, preparing and freezing some meals to take along. I charted out our schedule for each day. I had even invited guests for some of the meals. I cooked, roasted and froze all meats and chickens. I ordered soups and deserts from Mrs. V in Yerushalayim who was highly recommended. Salads and some side dishes I was planning to prepare there. I made sure everything was in order. I was so proud of my superb organizational skills.

Could they have just canceled our flight without notifying us? I was incredulous.

My husband took the phone from my shaking hand, but before saying anything he quickly looked at out itinerary.

“Chany, our flight is leaving from Newark Airport, we are only returning to Kennedy.”

“What!” I must have looked at the tickets a hundred times. How could I have missed this? We needed an extra half hour to reach Newark Airport. We quickly instructed the driver to turn West on the Belt Parkway, instead of East, and called Newark Airport to inquire about the departure time of our flight. To our detriment, it was scheduled to leave on time.

All the way to the airport I could only think of what if …

Fortunately, there was little traffic, and we boarded the plane just in time.

Baruch Hashem we arrived safely in Eretz Yisrael, and enjoyed every minute of a most delightful and uplifting Sukkos in Yerushalayim. Considering that we almost didn’t make it we appreciated it even more.

And my makeup bag? Oh yes, it was in my suitcase. What made me think otherwise?

Hameichin mitzadei gaver – He establishes the footsteps of man.” We say this every morning in our brochos. Hashem is the ultimate planner and His guidance is obvious every day; we just have to learn to pay attention.

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