Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Of Wallets and Wonders

It already feels like Pesach has been over for months. It's hard to believe that just two weeks ago, we were still just conducting the second seder - or starting chol hamoed for those in Israel. But if you would, allow me to turn time back just a bit and relate a incident that happened to me on erev pesach. God willing, I plan to also share this story at Aaron's unveiling on Sunday.

One of the little things that has been nagging at me, is that in cleaning out Aaron's room several months ago, we were never able to find his wallet. We searched his room and the rest of the house top to bottom, but it never showed up. I was concerned that it had gotten lost in the hospital or was given away with his clothes, and of course in addition to any cash he had in the wallet, it also had his driver's license, a credit card, and other things that it worried and hurt me to think had fallen into strange hands.

Fast forward to Erev Pesach morning. As we were traveling this year, rather than the usual last minute cleaning and cooking, it was last minute packing. Just about done, I opened the door of my nightstand to get out a couple of final items, and suddenly, Aaron’s wallet literally fell out on the floor in front of me.

I have absolutely no recollection of putting the wallet in my nightstand, and no idea of how it could have gotten there. And I must have opened that door dozens of times this past year, and never even saw the wallet – let alone had it fall out by itself!

But there’s a second part to this story. I took out all the cash that Aaron had in the wallet; I wanted to give it to tzedaka [charity] before we left on the trip. So when I drove over to the shul to burn the chumetz, I went inside looking for a tzedaka box. But they were all locked away, probably until after Pesach. However, I encountered the Rabbi, who was about the only other person still in the building – I guess finishing up some last minute business of his own.

I asked the Rabbi if he could find me a tzedaka box to put the cash in, and he told me – “you can give it to me; I’m still collecting for maos chittim”.

I felt a shock of utter amazement. With all the usual Pesach preparation activities that we had omitted this year because we were going away, I suddenly realized that I had also completely forgotten to give a maos chittim donation. I handed the money over to the Rabbi, muttering distractedly “yes, maos chittim, that’s what it should be”. And then the final comprehension swept over me: the money I was giving the Rabbi, the leftover cash that happened to be in Aaron’s wallet, was exactly the amount I usually give for maos chittim!

You can call this a mere coincidence if you prefer. But I don’t think I believe in coincidences any more. I think that somehow, that morning, Aaron was, however miraculously, sending me a message. And I think it’s no coincidence either that this occurred on erev pesach morning, an occasion that Aaron and I, as the two bechorim [first born] in the family, always shared together as a special bond. Instead of going to the siyum bechorim with me this year – as he had done every year since he could walk – Aaron somehow reached out to help me keep an important Pesach mitzvah that I would have otherwise forgotten.

Thanks Aaron, for continuing to be such a wonderful son, even from the next world.


At 4/28/06, 6:51 AM, Blogger torontopearl said...

Elie, this is not a "mere coincidence"; it truly is one of those "small miracles" that we often read about.

At 4/28/06, 11:12 AM, Anonymous David Linn said...

Beautiful! We usually say how our mitzvos serve as a zchus for our departed loved ones. This one goes the other way around.

At 4/28/06, 11:34 AM, Blogger Elder of Ziyon said...

This is a beautiful story.

At 4/28/06, 12:20 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

On the other hand we often talk of the departed as being a Meilitz Yosher for those still living.

At 4/28/06, 12:21 PM, Anonymous essie said...

Oh my gosh, I have chills. Wow...

At 4/28/06, 4:10 PM, Anonymous Tova Menken said...

I told this story to my 10th graders today, and they were wowed!

At 4/28/06, 5:38 PM, Anonymous trn said...

I'm so glad you were provided with such comfort going into Pesach.

Thank you for sharing this story.

At 4/30/06, 10:35 AM, Blogger Shira Salamone said...

A moment's comfort, pride, and joy--
You gave tzedakah from your boy

How well you honored his memory
May it ever a blessing be

At 5/1/06, 8:41 AM, Blogger Mirty said...


I'm linking to this post from my blog. Thanks.

At 5/1/06, 3:54 PM, Blogger Lady-Light said...

I will try again to place a link to your blog on my site. The first time didn't work. Don't know why.

I am overwhelmed. All I can say is, "HaMakom Yenachem Etchem B'toch She'ar Avelei Tziyon ve-Yerushalayim.
Barcuch Dayan HaEmet...

At 4/30/07, 5:49 PM, Blogger MizEllie said...

I'm so glad the JIB awards brought me to your site. A beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to Aaron.


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