April 19, 2024
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April 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Editor’s note: We welcome back our much-missed Maggid of Bergenfield and look forward to journeying along with and enjoying his stories through the parshiot for many years to come.

Bereishit 7:16

Evan Moskowitz was a rather meticulous person. At work, his fellow accountants called him “detail oriented,” but behind his back they thought he could be a bit obsessive, to put it politely. He was the type of guy who definitely crossed his “t’s” and dotted his “i’s.” Sometimes his “i’s” had two dots.

So when the Moskowitzes went on vacation, you can be sure Evan made sure everything was taken care of around the house. All the thermostats were turned down. The goldfish (Goldie) went next door to the Wexlers. Every garbage can was emptied. The newspaper was canceled. The Shabbat clocks were set to make the house look occupied while they were away. The works.

The Uber came right on time, and the Moskowitzes went to Newark Airport and boarded their El Al flight to Tel Aviv without any delays. All was going according to plan, just the way Evan liked it.

It was around an hour into the flight that Noah Moskowitz said something to shatter his parents’ equilibrium.

“I’m not sure I closed the front door.”

Evan and Cindy had their headphones on and were deep into an episode of Friends.

“What’s that you said, honey?”

“I think I left the front door to the house open.”

“Don’t be silly, Noah. I turned on the alarm and locked the door before I got in the cab.”

“No, don’t you remember?” Cindy said. “We sent Noah back in to use the bathroom.”

“Oy.”

“And I think I left the door open.”

“Oy, oy, oy.”

A flight to Israel from Newark Liberty International Airport is normally 11 hours and 52 minutes, depending on wind conditions, weather variability, flight traffic at Ben Gurion Airport and whether the pilot has a hot date in Tel Aviv that night. That time can go very quickly or very slowly. For Evan Moskowitz, this was a long one. Time pretty much stood still. He could have sworn that the map they display of the plane slowly making its way across the Atlantic was actually going backwards The time until the flight attendant came around with the hot towelettes to wake you up before breakfast was endless. He felt helpless.

“Well, honey, you know what they say,” Cindy said. “The best laid plans of mice and men…”

“Yeah, whatever,” Evan said, wondering if he had packed any antacids in his carry-on.

But the flight did eventually end, and after Evan put his rented SIM card into his iPhone, the first thing he did after clearing baggage claim at Ben Gurion was call his neighbor, Mike Wexler.

He waited as Mike walked over to chez Moskowitz to have a look-see.

“No worries, Evan. The door’s closed and locked, and the alarm is on. And incidentally, your lawn looks great.”

“Are you sure?”

“Sure I’m sure! It’s just a really nice front yard. Do you water a lot?”

“Very funny. Mike, you’re a lifesaver. Thanks so much.”

“Anytime, buddy.”

Evan told Noah the good news, but he seemed skeptical.

“Really? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure I left that door wide open.”

“Mister Wexler confirmed that it’s closed and locked.”

“Well, I’m certainly glad to hear that, but that definitely is fishy.”

“Maybe someone closed it for us. Maybe Mommy locked the door after you left and forgot she did it. Maybe Danny the mailman took care of it.”

“I suppose,” Noah said, but he did not seem convinced.

Everyone was quiet in the taxi as it left Lod and climbed up Route One toward Yerushalayim. The Moskowitzes watched the beautiful scenery unfold outside the window in the early morning light. Somewhere outside Beit Shemesh, Noah broke the silence.

“Maybe God closed the front door.”

“What do you mean, Noah?” Cindy asked

“Well, I’m pretty sure I left the door open, and there’s no obvious explanation as to who closed it. I think Hashem did it.”

“I’m not saying that’s impossible,” Evan said judiciously, “but I have to ask: What makes you think it was God, Noah?”

“There’s no better explanation that you’ve offered,” Noah said. “And if I have to choose between God and Dan the mailman, I’ll choose God every time.”

“Interesting,” Cindy offered.

“Uh huh,” Evan concurred.

“Besides, it’s not like Hashem never closed a door for a man before. He did it in this week’s parsha, Noach.”

“Really?”

“Yes, we learned in parsha class that when it came time for the flood, Noah and his family entered the ark with all the animals, and when the rain started, Hashem closed the door.”

Cindy pulled a pocket Chumash from her carry-on bag (always a helpful thing to have when you’re on a long flight [or writing a parsha story]) and began to read:

“Vayisgor Hashem ba-ado. And Hashem shut it on his behalf.”

“So, you see,” Noah continued, “there’s precedent for God closing your door. In the case of Noach I think he did it to show how much he cared about Noach’s family. He was destroying most of the world, but a righteous man and his family still mattered, so God made sure the ark was well sealed when they got in.”

“Interesting,” Evan said. “So I guess what you’re suggesting is that God cares about this Noah’s family, too.”

“I guess so.”

“Enough to protect their house from thieves and to ease the stress of their neurotic father,” Cindy observed.

“True enough,” Evan conceded. “I guess it’s not at all unreasonable to agree that God’s door closure is not out of the realm of possibility. Stranger things have happened, though in my experience, not much stranger.”

The taxi pulled up at their hotel in Yerushalayim, and the Moskowitzes got out and entered the lobby.

After checking in, they got in the elevator and went up to their room.

“Noah, do me a favor. When you leave the hotel room, make sure to close the door. I know that we’re in the holy city of Yerushalayim, but I think that counting on God to close your door for you twice is a bit much to ask.”

“Fair enough.”

By Larry Stiefel

 Larry Stiefel is a pediatrician at Tenafly Pediatrics.

 

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