As is and has always been my custom when I lay my head upon a pillow at night to recite my nightly prayers, I turn my head to the right and bless the angel Michael, then I turn to the left and bless the angel Gabriel. I then bless the angel Uriel who stands before me and then the angel Rafael who stands behind me. This is concluded when I lift up my head to bless the Shechinat El, the holy presence of a Holy God. Only then do I close my eyes for a night of angelic protection and sleep.
But there is also another angel whom I bless. This angel is not a Jew. She is a Roman Catholic from Cuba.
My late wife and I first met her sometime in the 1970’s when we made our first visit to Mexico. The angel Alba Tur was standing beside her newly-married husband Pat waiting with us for the tourist bus to arrive.
We began talking with one another. They were a beautiful young couple in their twenties on a honeymoon. Smiles and laughter demonstrated their love and happiness. Rahel and I very much enjoyed our meeting with them.
As it turned out, we later discovered that the casual meeting was an “hashgacha pratit”… Divine intervention. It was a meeting made by God.
More than forty years later Alba and I are still in almost daily contact by e-mail. She recently called me from her home in Florida, USA to my home in Israel to urge me to keep safe and stay away from crowds due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Alba has been and still is an angel who cares for me and for my wellbeing together with her prayers for my family… including our Israeli-born Canaan dog, Atara Carmit.
For my 87th birthday she showered me with two large packages of very expensive gifts accompanied by a postal birthday card and then another e-mail birthday card, both full of her blessings and love for me.
Angel Alba has not ever visited Israel. It is her great desire to make the trip to the Holy Land. She shares much love for Israel with her close friend Grace, a Roman Catholic woman who has visited Israel eleven times and loves us. May she be blessed for her devotion to our country and for her support and frequent visitations, the last one just prior to the tragic outbreak of a potentially deadly virus.
When Angel Alba goes to her Catholic church each week she includes prayers for the well-being of me and my family. I would always prefer to be blessed by a Catholic rather than to be cursed by a fellow Jew.
Angels come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and all faiths. They are not visible to our eyes but when they appear to us we know, we sense, we feel their holy presence.
Angels are messengers sent by God to deliver His words to us and to enable us to praise and to bless His holy Name.
Alba and I have not seen one another face to face since our first long ago meeting in sunny Acapulco but the spirit of our devoted friendship binds us together and for that, we are both grateful to our One God who joined two Israeli Jews with a Cuban woman and her American fire-fighter husband.
The days of my life are made brighter because of an angel named Alba. I bless her in my daily prayers morning and evening. I pray for her improved health and long years of life. I pray that she will soon hold her first grandchild in her arms and will rock him or her to sleep with soft Spanish lullabies.
Alba, incidentally, is amazed that we have so many Castro stores in Israel. For her, the name Castro is the dictator of Cuba, Fidel Castro and his brother Raoul Castro. I have tried to assure her that there is no relationship between our Israeli Castros and Cuba’s Castro brothers.
My beloved Rahel and I were truly blessed to have met Alba and Pat and to cherish our treasured friendship with them over the years. We owe it all to God who sanctified Alba and who made her a very special angel.
My angel called Alba. Viva el amistad entremos.