Yoel and Ayelet act like they are angels clothed in human bodies. For almost twenty years, they have sacrificed their own Pesach family holiday in order to bring love, happiness, and a good time to widows and orphans in Israel.
This extraordinarily generous and philanthropic couple has been known to dress up like Elijah, stand up on tables and sing, run around the dining room, and dance with the children all in an effort to help add a touch of light into people’s lives who at the moment see only darkness.
This year one of the widows they were hosting was a single mom raising her son Ohad, now twenty years old, on her own. Her husband David had suddenly passed away six months ago and that’s when this mother and son decided to join this special Passover program.
What was unknown to everyone was that there was another very important reason for Ohad and his Mom to have joined this program and that reason would soon be revealed.
One of Ayelet’s most important duties was greeting the new windows for the first time at the hotel reception area.
Ayelet had scanned through the names looking for anyone she might know.
Ohad and his mom Cheral, had been listed yet nothing about their names rang a bell. However, that was about to change just as Ayelet warmly greeted them, Ohad’s mom Cheral standing there went into shock.
“Ayelet, you don’t remember me?”
Ayelet looked at her and her name and started crying and began to hug her very tightly.
Yoel and Ohad stood by in utter silence and were baffled as to what was going on. After a few minutes when things calmed down, the story
finally poured out:
Twenty-one years ago Ohad’s biological mom Rachel was pregnant and dying of cancer.
David and his sister Rachel were best friends with Ayelet. Ayelet’s first husband was very abusive to her and although Ayelet and David were first cousins to her abusive now former husband, they helped her get a divorce from him. While anyone else would have stayed away from the hospital where her dear friend was, Ayelet’s loyalty to her dying friend was more important than having to run into her ex-husband and his family. To help matters along, Ayelet brought along her second husband, a wonderful man named Yoel.
And despite Ayelet having had to endure a lot of pain and suffering from her first marriage, which would all come to the surface once again seeing her ex and his family at the hospital, it would have been much easier for her to have made a phone call to her dying friend instead. However, Ayelet chose the courageous path. Ayelet knew that their friendship demanded more than just a call.
Ayelet did bring Yoel to the highly emotionally charged hospital visits. The family appreciated the visits and during one visit the doctor explained that Ohad’s mom Rachel was in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant but finding a match would be almost impossible and even with a transplant there was no guarantee.
Yoel quickly rolled up his sleeve and begged the medical staff to check him to see if perhaps he was a match.
“You are not even a related to her. What makes you think you will be a match?” Yoel looked back at the nurse and said, “If she is Jewish she is my sister, test me!”
Two days later, while outside washing his car, Yoel quickly answered the ringing phone in hopes that the news was what he was waiting for. The nurse on the other end of the phone told Yoel that he was indeed a perfect match and she wanted to know if he could get to the hospital right away for the procedure because time was of the essence.
The procedure was successful and Ohad’s mother Rachel lived just long enough to give birth to a healthy baby boy named Ohad.
During this period of time, Yoel and Ayelet impressed Rachel’s immediate family. At one of the last family meetings Ohad’s mother, Rachel requested that David and his wife Cheral raise Ohad as their own child.
And for all of his life up until now, David and Cheral were Ohad’s parents.
Ohad had heard about the miracle of his birth, but for the first time, he could thank the person who was solely responsible for helping keep his mom alive for just enough time for his birth.
In this week’s Parsha it says אוהבת ראיך כמוך.
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Chassidus explains that sometimes with friends this is easier to accomplish. Loving and giving come second nature.
The question arises then what happens when you are challenged by people with past hurtful experiences. How do we get past the impulsive desire to be revengeful? From where do we get the strength to be kind even to those who have caused us unnecessary pain?
“The answer,” explains Chassidus, “is in the next words אני השם. For I am G-d.”
Do not look at the people who caused you pain and heartache as the reason for your suffering. I give life to the world and orchestrate the world in an extremely exact way. What difficulties that you had to deal with were ultimately from me.
Yes, whoever wronged you will have to answer for the pain that he caused you; however, the fact that it happened to you can only be with my permission and ultimately for your benefit.
Remember as well, in reality, every Jewish soul is one. We are fragmented into six hundred thousand pieces. This is the meditation that can give one the strength and the courage to look past a bad experience and reverse the negativity into a positive future pathway of Light and fulfillment.
Have a wonderful Shabbos!
— Yitzchok Friedman
Disclaimer: Names have been changed to protect privacy.