By Rabbi Yossie Shemtov – Head Shliach of Tucson, Arizona
This past Sunday, a Jewish man visiting from Delaware came to our synagogue. He came prepared with a Tallis, Tefillin and even a Siddur. He seemed like a regular.
“Rabbi Shemtov, you don’t know me but I know you,” he said.
We had never met, spoken on the phone or exchanged an email. So how did he know me?
He explained the following:
“A Russian man once came to your synagogue. You thought he was Jewish and gave him a siddur as a gift. Inside the front cover, you wrote your name and phone number so he could call anytime he needed guidance.
“But this man, who was my friend, wasn’t Jewish. Not sure what to do with the prayer book, he gave it to me although I never had an interest in prayer.
“The siddur was left unused until I picked it up one day. I wasn’t familiar with the ritual, but I knew that if I had a question I could call your number. It was that assurance that has kept me pursuing my heritage on my own.
“By now, the siddur is worn and the cover has fallen off. I pray with it daily and I take it wherever I travel, but the cover itself with your phone number I safeguard at home.
“Though this is the first time we are meeting or speaking, I feel like we have known each other for years. All I want to say today is ‘thank you’!”
As King Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, “Send forth your bread… for after many days you will find it.” You may never know the impact of a positive thought or action.