“He was destined for greatness.” A long lost cousin of Bob’s caught me after breakfast. It’s been fifty years since they’d seen each other. I beamed back at him, coffee in hand and said, “Sometimes you just know.”
We’re catching up with relatives in the Confederate Capital for Zachary’s Bar Mitzvah. His blonde curls are gone and he’s standing on the precipice of adulthood. An only child, he seems older than his years, but he still hugs me and that makes me happy. Like the Rocker, he’s not afraid of a little PDA.
I think back to when I first met Bob. We were only one year older than Zach, we met on the sidewalk outside my house on Orchard Street. Marjorie Minor introduced us, and I recall she thought he was pretty special too. I wonder where she is now.
The Rabbi spoke last night about our perilous times. He reminded us that we, the Jewish people, had been forced to flee our homes throughout history. And then, maybe because this is the part of the Torah to read this week, he talked about Jacob’s dream.
Jacob made a pillow out of stones and fell asleep on the road between Beersheba and Haran while he was searching for a wife. Here he dreamed of angels ascending and descending a ladder into heaven. At the top of the ladder stood God.
And Jacob was told that this was a holy place. But not just this spot, which he named BethEl, but everywhere he and his children traveled- “Thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth,” spreading north, south, east and west.
The Rabbi told us not to fear refugees seeking safety among us. We are all walking amidst angels on this earth. A stairway to heaven is right around the next corner, if only we could see it.
I recently hung a series of woodcut Angels the Bride’s art teacher gave me over many years as Christmas presents. The Angels are always surrounded by swans. Subconsciously thinking of Jacob, they now hang on my stairway.