I always jokingly say how our cellular phones make life so much easier, we are all connected to each other and the world. I wonder how we ever functioned without them, and luckily one day a week my family and I turn off and we do just fine.
In Yoga class today, my 85 year old teacher Raghavan said that “the cell is our cell,” and we need to break free. Everything is perception, like the phrases above, which do you choose?
The two stories below are so inspirational of the cycle of life, and finding your roots.
Choose life, peace, and be free,
7 am today: On the right side of the hospital a great grandmother, a family’s matriarch was wheeled out in a casket; on the left side, a husband & wife entered, luggage in hand, to deliver their first baby, that lady’s great-granddaughter. Life is messy, painful, and beautiful all at once. Sorrow walks out one door, then joy enters the other. And, I thought to myself, what a wonderful message for the month of Av.
So yesterday I was sitting in my office at CPY, boiling hot and been complaining all week that I need to get a fan to circulate the air in the office. Every day I remember I need a fan like smack in middle of my work, when I am too busy to get up and go to the store and get one. Finally, I logged onto my Amazon Prime Now account, and ordered myself the cheapest table fan I could find.
The only delivery option it given to me was in 3 hours or I could pay an extra $8 to have it delivered within that hour.
So of course I paid the extra eight bucks! When the door rang I was so excited I ran to get the package all hyper. Anyways I open up and all excited I tell the delivery guy that he’s an angel from G-d and thank you so much and I was so hot, yade yade, and I notice he’s like a little frazzled. I thought maybe my overly excited energy freaked him out lol, but no.
He happened to be Persian and goes on to tell me, this is his first time in a synagogue and when he saw the delivery was taking him to a Chabad Persian center, it made him very excited and nervous at the same time. He was taught all his life that you can’t just walk into a temple, you need an invitation, or that it’s for members only, it’s just for Jews, etc… He was literally not sure if it was okay to just come in. He thought he should leave the package at the door. Of course I welcomed him in, and tried to figure out why the frazzleness.
Reza tells me in broken English that his maternal side of the family is Jewish but that he isn’t because his father is Muslim and his whole life he practiced Islam, however being Jewish is in his gene!! I was like no no no no no noo!!! YOU ARE JEWISH IN YOUR SOUL IN EVERYTHINGGGG!!!! (My secretary thinks I am kookoo btw) I was so excited to tell him hes Jewish but first I needed to do some research. So I start asking him his whole history and background. BASICALLYYY…..(sorry I know its long)
His mother passed away at a very young age, a few years ago. Recently, His maternal grandmother was very sick, and hospitalized at Cedar Sinai, and while on her death bed she tells him she needs to tell him a secret and that they have Jewish ancestor and you need to know and study about your heritage, because you are the only son in the family! WOW, so he shares with us his story. His family is from the city of Mashad, which in the last century the Jews were forced to convert or to hide that they were Jews. She tells him, his mother was Jewish!!!! Okay guys I had the chills. I’M LIKE LISTEN UP! You need to wait here, I am going to call Rabbi, he’s going to come right now and put Tefillin on you! Reza all confused, had no idea what Tefillin where. I had my secretary explain him in Persian that he’s basically about to get Bar Mitzvah’d and do a huge good deed and make the world a better place.
Rabbi was in an important meeting a few blocks away, when I called him, he said he’ll be there in 2 min. He was here so fast!
Bh my father came, spoke to him, confirmed he was Jewish. All his facts really add up to life in Iran and suppression of being a Jew in a Muslim country.
Reza’s grandfather built the biggest Mosque in Iran, and his uncle sings the Muezzin every day from loudspeakers in Tehran. He is the only one of his siblings that knows he is a Jew. (what pressure to keep this big secret)
When he put on Tefillin today for the first time in his life, he said the Bracha so naturally, like he was already familiar with it. It was the first time in his life that he ever walked into a Shul, wore a Kippah, met a Rabbi, and most importantly felt sooo welcomed and loved.
He was so inspired and in so much awe of what he had just gone through. It was such a special spiritual and returning experience. We exchanged information and hope that we will have the honor to have him soon at our Shabbat table, and help him get close to his roots.
Hashem is amazing, that yesterday at 1:57 I happened to order the fan, I wanted so bad all week, and at 2:57 my fan delivery came, and the delivery guy was a Persian Jew, who’s life probably changed forever!!!!
***photo cropped, edited and name changed to respect his privacy!