Anyone who is not living in an igloo in the North Pole is contending, in one way or another, with the threat of the Covid-19 Virus. In the midst of this nisayon from HaKodesh Boruch Hu, therefore, it gives me great pleasure to share the following joyful vignette, with you.
Yesterday, I received a text from one of my son’s dear friends, Meir, who asked me in what branch of the military service my husband had served. I responded that he served in the Air Force. We were stationed in the UK, in the mid-1970’s, during the Vietnam War.
The reason that Meir inquired about our military experience was that a Shabbos guest last week, Chana, mentioned that, when she was a very small child, her father had also served in the military and was stationed in the UK. Perhaps, Meir reasoned, we may have known her father.
When I heard her father’s name, I got very excited. Although it’s been more than 40 years since we last met, how could my husband and I forget Steve, the wonderful Air Force photographer who graced our Shabbos and Yom Tov table, with his warm, engaging manner? In fact, having had to deal with, for the most part, bitter, disaffected Jews, Steve was a breath of fresh air.
I asked Meir if he could get contact info for Steve so that my husband and I could re-connect with him. Alas, it was impossible, as Steve passed away four years ago.
My mood plunged. Yet Hashem had a special surprise in store for me, which lifted my spirits to the greatest of heights.
I called Chana. Jubilant cannot describe her reaction to hearing my voice. She got even more excited when she related that she thinks that I am the same person who gifted her with a children’s book. She told me that she would WhatsApp me, not only the cover of the book, but would include the inscription that it contained.
Sure enough, it was me! Chana had held on to this book for the past 46 years!
She told me that she had goose bumps, while I had the chills and was tearing up from the excitement.
She related that her father, who was not particularly observant, but was comfortable in our frum, welcoming presence, had encouraged her to seek out Chabad.
She proudly related that she became a baalat teshuva twenty years ago and has lived in my former neighborhood, Crown Heights, for the past eight years. When she learned that I no longer live there, she “threatened” to come out to visit me. A “threat” for which I cannot contain my own excitement.
Rarely do I know, or even think about, what may or may not be the results of my “reaching out” to others. But here, in the midst of a troubling time for us, world-wide, Hashem had kindly sent me a reminder, that no good deed goes unrecognized.
I can’t wait to meet Chana.
Hodu la’Sham ki tov, ki l’olam chasdo.
May the Geulah Shleimah come now to wipe out all illnesses, all worries of any kind, and reunite us with our dearly departed loved ones.