The Angels Among Us
It is so fascinating that the Torah readings for both days of Rosh Hashanah give vivid accounts of angels from God interacting with our ancestors, freely communicating with them. These holy messengers gave guidance to our Biblical leaders by helping them in their life situations. I firmly believe that we have the potential to be like these angels having major positive impacts with the people in our own lives. Allow me to share an example that I would describe as being in the “angel” category.
A few months ago, I was visiting Israel. I had arranged to meet a few relatives in Tel Aviv to spend Shabbat and Shavuot which was the next day. We arrived in Tel Aviv, Friday afternoon, luggage in hand and entered the hotel I had booked weeks before on a travel website. Unfortunately, they had lost or never received the reservation!
They had no rooms available. So, my grandson and I began walking through downtown Tel Aviv trying to find hotel rooms on one of the busiest weekends in Israel. Hotel after hotel gave us the same response, “ain makom,” “no room.” After each turn away, I was getting more desperate as Shabbat and Shavuot were coming and we had found no accommodations.
It was when we entered the Best Western in Tel Aviv, that we met our angels. The two women working the front desk at the hotel promptly gave us the same Hebrew response, “ain makom.” Then, however, they did something extraordinary. They began calling other hotels in the area to get us accommodations. All the while, greeting and checking out other guests and dealing with a host of other tasks.
Some of the available hotels were out of our price range. They never got discouraged and kept on trying to help. Finally, after 40 minutes, they found us a hotel that met our locale and financial needs.
Our Shabbat and Shavuot holiday were saved by these two angels. I was never sure why they did what they did. They, like all the others, would have been perfectly correct to tell us that they had no rooms and wished us luck. These two, Hilary and Ora, didn’t do that. Their actions changed the trajectory of our whole weekend and overall visit to Israel. At the conclusion of my time with them, they learned that I was a rabbi. They asked me to pray for them. I told them I would, and I have. However, it is the two of them that brought kindness and peace of mind into my life.
We too, in the ordinary activities of our daily lives, can be like Hilary and Ora. We never know when it’s our turn to be the angel for someone. A relative or friend who really needs someone to listen to them, a co-worker who wants to share something with us, or a neighbor that needs a kind word. Instead of “ain makom,” there’s “no room,” let’s say “yeash makom”, “there is room,” in my heart and soul for you.
To all the angels reading this, have a happy, healthy and sweet New Year.
Rabbi Albert Slomovitz is the rabbi at large for Congregation Etz Chaim. The Founder of the Jewish Christian Discovery Center and an Assistant Professor of American History at KSU.