Good morning beautiful ladies! Welcome to another installment of Wednesday Wink – Jewish Latin Princess’ series on Hashgacha Pratit (Divine Providence). I bumped into a reader of mine two weeks ago and she told me not to ever stop posting Wednesday Winks because those were her favorite posts! :-) So sweet! Not to worry, they might be more sporadic than I’d like right now, but I have a few in the making. And I actually received today’s Wink from another reader! She sent me this anecdote that happened to her over Passover. Alex’ story reinforces the idea that we are always at the exact place we need to be. We might not be aware, but there’s always bigger plan and reason we are at a certain place, at a certain time…. Let’s hear from Alex…
Weeks before Passover I decided to use a time share in Palm Springs and we would go there as a family for the days of Chol Hamoed Pesach (Intermediate days of Passover) and the last days of Yom Tov. I would cook everything and we would have Passover there. We invited a friend of ours from out of state who is single with a few kids the ages of ours. I sent him the rates. He was excited to join. I booked for them. And we were all set – or so I thought.
In the mean time, an old acquaintance calls me. We weren’t close or anything, so I was surprised. It was immediately obvious that she was going through a rough patch. The thought of making Passover did not seem to be helping her situation. So I figured to offer help in the way I could at the moment. I tell her that our family would be going away for Chol Hamoed to a hotel in Palm Springs and that she and her family are welcome to come. I tell her not to worry about food, as I will be bringing everything – I’m any ways cooking already for my family and our friend’s family. She’s thrilled. I could feel a weight had just lifted off her shoulders. I actually used my own credit card to book her and her family the room, as an extra way to ease her “burden.” End of story – or so I thought.
A week before Passover, when I have a million things to do, I forward her the contract from the time share hotel. This lady (she’s only an acquaintance) calls me. She is hysterical because the fine print on the contract says that the pool is going to be under construction during those days. “Had I not read that!?” she asks in a condescending tone of voice.
“Honestly, no.” I responded. And, I really didn’t think it was a big deal. But, of course I offer to call the hotel and find out more info. The hotel said that indeed there is a possibility that due to construction, the pool might be closed. It’s not for sure, but they can’t guarantee that we will have access to the pool during every day of our stay there, as it might be closed at least some hours of the day. The hotel apologized profusely, and that was that.
I figured, what’s mean to be, is mean to be, and we’re going anyways. I called our friend from out of state and he didn’t seem to mind either. Well, apparently this set off this other lady on fire, because this turned into a series of back and forth texts (waste of energy and time right before Passover!) on how irresponsible to invite them to such a place, without knowing all the facts and so on and so forth.
“What!?” Beyond me… But, so it was, and after the not so nice interactions, the lady cancelled her trip with us. Needless to say, that was all quite unpleasant. Plus, now I didn’t know if my kids were going to have a pool at the hotel.
However, for some reason, I just had a very strong feeling that we needed to go. I could have just canceled and we could have stayed home. After all, I had prepared my house and we were anyways making the two Seders here. Cooking and shlepping everything to Palm Springs was much more work for me, but I just had a strong feeling that we had to go to Palm Springs.
We got to Palm Springs and as we’re checking in, I noticed a young man with a pink shirt. Later on that first day, my kids tell me that the young man with the pink shirt is Jewish. They had been in the entertainment room playing ping pong with him! Interesting…
When the last day of Passover came, I went downstairs to get my kids because we were going to Moshiach Seuda (the last meal of Passover) and as I’m calling my son, I see the “pink shirt” young man we I had noticed when we checked in. He says, “Hi,” and says, “Where are you going? To Temple?”
I found the use of the word Temple cute and amusing. I smiled and said, “Yes. Why? You want to come?” Now mind you, I was not at all in the mood of being social. In fact, I had really pushed myself to get ready and go to Moshiach Seuda. We had gone on a 2 mile hike earlier and I was exhausted and was about to walk with my kids close to 2 miles again to get to shul.
The young man says yes, and proceeds to tell me his name is Daniel and all about him. I’m waiting for my kids to all come downstairs. Daniel tells me that he’s originally Israeli and he lives in Long Beach (We don’t live very far from Long Beach!). He asks what is it that we’re going to “Temple” for and I explain in the shortest, simplest way I could about Moshiach Seuda. He says he would like to come, but then he turns to himself and says, “Look how I’m dressed (bermuda shorts and pink shirt).” I offer to wait for him if he wants to go change clothes. At that moment my kids show up and so Daniel felt bad making us wait. He just comes as is, bermudas and bright pink shirt.
We walked to shul and the kids and Daniel talked. The whole thing was quite pleasant. Of course, I got to shul and immediately tracked down my husband to explain to him the Hashgacha Pratit of having bumped into this Jew and that he needs to take care of him while in shul. Thankfully, the shul was quite eclectic and full of all sorts of personalities, so Daniel’s attire did not stick out too much.
After Havdalah, we are all leaving and getting in the car and I noticed Daniel still has his kippah. Then as he’s getting in, it flies off with the wind and he runs after it and puts it on. I notice, and think it’s a really sweet thing that he had kept his kippah on. We say our goodbyes, and I tell him that we will try to be in touch (Maybe he could come to us for a Shabbat dinner once we’re back home?). He gives us his card with his number which I stick in the cup holder. We get the kids out of the car and off we go to our rooms.
The next day, we load the car and are ready to go on our road trip back home. I reach for Daniel’s card and I noticed it’s not there. I try to find it in the car, and it’s gone. I was certain I had left it there. “Where could it be!?” In the mean time we notice, we should refill water bottles for the trip. So, my husband gets out of the car to go back inside and do that. As he’s entering the entertainment room to reach for the water cooler, he sees the back of a man with a kippah. He immediately thought, “Oh goodness, how had I not noticed before that there was another Jew in the hotel!?”
As he’s walking towards the “kippah wearing man,” he notices, it’s none other than Daniel! Still wearing his kippah! My husband goes back to the car (where I’ve been trying to find Daniel’s card) to get his tefillin bag and says, “You won’t believe…” Daniel puts on tefillin, they exchange numbers, properly (ie. put them in each other’s cell phones) and then, we go!
Going on this trip was nothing short of a roller coaster – the amount of physical and emotional work it took on my part, given all the extraneous circumstances that were seemingly damping the whole thing. However, I really felt that we should go. Didn’t make sense to go, perhaps, but something inside of me, told me we had to be there. That morning, as my family and I drove away from the hotel’s parking lot, it all had become crystal clear to me. And, let me just add this, as an aside… The pool was never closed. Not even once! So, even on that front, our trip was a definite success! :-)
Thank you Alex for that wonderful and inspiring story of Hashgacha Pratit. It’s obvious that you guys were all meant to be there to connect with Daniel. And I’m sure there will be Part 2 to this story. Also, thank you for the reminder that we often have to do what our innate intuition tells us, even if “externally” it might seem like all else is pointing in a different direction. It takes a lot of focus to listen to our inner voice. Have you ever felt that you needed to go somewhere even when everything else pointed elsewhere, later to find out the reason why you were meant to be somewhere? Have you ever felt a Wink from Above? We all gain strength and inspiration from each other’s stories. Please send me an email and tell me your Wednesday Wink.