Let us be clear in our usage of the word. An angel is a divine messenger sent by Hashem, our Eternal God, our Heavenly Father, source of our lives.
Angels are not images with out-stretched wings. They appear to us as warm and compassionate beings.
Fortunate is the person who has met an angel, who has been blessed by an angel, who has been comforted by an angel. One most fortunate of those people is me. I have my very own personal angel.
In addition to Michael, Gabriel. Uriel, and Raphael, the four angels who protect me as I lay down to sleep at night, the Borei ha-Olam, creator of the universe, the Shechinat El, has sent me my personal angel in the human form of ben-Avrina bat Leah.
When my beloved wife of 56 happy years together closed her eyes forever, I was distraught and un-consolable. I wanted to end my life in order to be beside her in death as we were in life.
As soon as she was pronounced, I ran to the telephone to inform our esteemed and very beloved rabbi.
It was 3:45 in the morning. Within minutes, he and his wife were in our home holding me and my daughter as both of us cried hysterically. He made the necessary arrangements for Rahel’s funeral which he officiated and his words of praise to my eshet chayil, (King Solomon’s woman of valor), the light of my life, my soul-mate, were a magnificent tribute to her life as an observant Jewish woman born in Israel to an orthodox family..
It was on that day that I realized that Hashem had sent me an angel in the human form of a distinguished modern Orthodox rabbi.
No day passes without my mentioning his name in my morning prayers asking my God, my Father in Heaven who hears prayers and who responds to prayers, to bless my rabbi and his beautiful family.
My prayer ends with the words repeated three times “Eloha d’Meir aneini” , (God of Meir, answer me), invoking the name of one of our greatest and sainted rabbis and scholars of the second century.
Rabbi Meir was a student and one of seven disciples of his famous teacher, Rabbi Akiba. After Akiba’s death by martyrdom at the hands of cruel Hadrianic Romans, Rabbi Meir continued his master’s work and was regarded by Judah the Prince as chief authority in editing the Mishna.
He was blessed with an amazing and brilliant wife, Beruriah, herself a noted scholar of the Talmud.
I think of Meir and Beruriah when I think of my angel rabbi and his wonderful wife. Their caring and compassion for the members of his synagogue is legendary. They go “me-al u’me-ever”.. above and beyond.
Today when my telephone rang I heard the beautiful voice of my rabbi, my angel. He was calling me, he said, to ask how I am, how I was feeling in these painful tragic times.
He offered help from the community to shop for food and medicines that I might need. He scolded me verbally when I told him I had left the house today to do a brief errand wearing a mask covering my nose and mouth.
“You must not go out. You must stay in your apartment. Whatever you need can be provided by members who care for you. You are elderly and must not put your life and health in danger”. (I am not elderly. At 87 I am simply old. Very old. (Too damn old.)
It was the voice and the words of my angel, my beloved, treasured, cherished, admired, respected, saintly rabbi, a scholar of all our holy books and laws.
I am forever grateful to him for his caring. I miss the embrace and the kiss we exchange on shabbat mornings in the synagogue. A kiss from an angel is no small thing. It is a gift between two people who love and respect one another as devoted friends.
Blessed be my angel. Blessed be my rabbi. Ain kamo-hu. There is none like unto him!