“Vayishlach … Jacob sent angels ahead of him to Esau….” (Genesis 32:4)
When our children were young, I would stand and watch the school bus leave each morning and say over these words, “Hamalach ha goail osi mi kol ra …May the angel who saved me from all evil bless the [children]….” (Genesis 48:16) I asked the angels to guard them, today and every day. (I still do it, although school bus days have passed.) Every Friday night I try to make “Shalom Aleichem” as real as possible; I do believe that angels enter our home.
Our Patriarchs taught us that we need these angels. We need shmira (heavenly protection).
Recently, my wife and I passed a minor traffic accident. The occupants of one car were gathered around the other car, yelling, jumping up and down, until one of them started banging the side of the second car, very close to the driver’s face. It was ugly. I called “911.”
We need the Heavenly 911 to protect us in this darkening world.
You may remember that, last week, I quoted President Harry S. Truman’s words to the late Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz, explaining the reason he officially recognized the State of Israel in 1948 despite the fact that, in his words, it was “against the better interests of the United States!” His reason was astounding. President Truman told Rabbi Lorincz that he placed his hope in “you Jews and your Torah” as the only way to protect the world against “wild mankind!”
A few weeks ago, I was driving on a highway way out in Eastern Long Island. I ran over a pothole and ruined a tire. As I waited on the shoulder for roadside assistance, a car pulled up behind me. Then I saw a smiling face, topped with a yarmulke, looking in the passenger window.
“On these roads,” he told me, “the only people driving black Toyotas are Jews! After I passed you, I got off at the next exit, turned back and came around again. I am a member of Chaveirim. Do you need your tire changed?”
I want you to know that I felt like crying. One can feel so vulnerable in this world. And then a Holy Jew comes along, and you feel that you are looking at an angel.
Our rabbis tell us that the way to protect ourselves during the “birth pangs” of Moshiach is to occupy ourselves with Torah and acts of kindness. (Sanhedrin 98b) It is so dangerous out there, but if we act toward each other like angels, then I am sure Hashem will send angels to watch over us.
I am upset that, in the circumstances, I forgot to take a picture of this Holy Jew changing the tire. Nonetheless, I am quite sure that his picture is emblazoned across Heaven. When Hashem sees such Holy Jews showing love for their brothers, I believe that His “feelings,” so to speak, must be aroused. This is how Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov acted, and it is in their merit that Hashem “recalls the kindnesses of the Patriarchs and brings a Redeemer to their children’s children ….”
May we greet him soon in our days!