Encounters With Angels
A Life-Lessons Story by Chana Klein
Have you ever experienced an angel in your life just when you needed one?
Like a figure who enters your life and changes something, or someone, or you?
Then, when it is a done deal, the figure seems to disappear and you can’t contact them.
It is as if they were there to step in and give assistance. But once their role is over, they disappear.
Are there real angels in our Torah?
Angels in the Tanach
Yakov in Chapter 32 had not seen his brother Esav in 20 years. He was scared. So he sent angels, as messengers, to prepare the way for him.
Later, Yakov struggles with the angel of his brother and he overcomes which results in his name Yakov being changed to Israel.
We find more angels in the Tanach. Angels of different names and different roles.
We read of the angel Gabriel and the angel Michael in the Book of Daniel.
We read also of the angel who spoke with Shimshon’s mother before his birth. Even the Satan is known as an angel who serves God by giving man challenges. On Friday night we sing Shalom Aleichem to greet angels.
Angels in Our Lives
But what about the angels in our lives, those who show to play the role of an angel, a messenger?
Perhaps those people really are angels.
My Own Story – Angels In My Life:
Angel as Messenger
“When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” Genesis 19:15
When my son, Brett, was entering the 2nd grade, I enrolled him in a day camp program. We had previously been kicked out of so many places because of his illness. So this time, I chose not to tell anyone in this camp about the fact that Brett was epileptic. I feared his again being discriminated against.
During that summer, I met Pam at an OA meeting. She was an elegant looking, wealthy woman. We became fast friends talking often. I became her sponsor. I remember Pam calling me, crying one morning that she smashed her Rolls Royce into her Ferrari as she was backing up into her circular driveway. She seemed really upset.
Her life seemed to be such a great contrast to mine.
But Pam came into my life for just a few weeks, a few very important weeks.
A call from Pam. She could hardly talk. Through gasps and cries, she shared about her sweet little 7-year-old nephew. He was epileptic. The day before, he had been sitting on the side of her pool. Apparently, he had a seizure. He died in her pool as a result of it. Devastating!
Brett was also seven years old, at the time, and epileptic. And he was in the camp pool every day.
For me, a wake-up call.
I called Dr. Mentakis, our pediatric neurologist with the question. “Is it dangerous for Brett to be in a pool? Could he die if he has a seizure while swimming?
Somehow, I had figured that because Brett usually kept moving when he had a seizure, he wouldn’t drown. Dr. Mentakis alarmed me. “Yes, he would most likely die if he had a seizure in the water.”
I hurried now to notify the camp staff of Brett’s condition and of the danger for Brett. Also I arranged for the necessary close supervision for him while in the water. From then on, when Brett went swimming, we made sure that there was someone from our family at the pool with him, watching him swim.
Pam, whom I had know for a very short time, called me with her own horrific loss and that is what had alerted me to what I needed to do.
It probably saved Brett’s life in some way.
But after that, I tried calling Pam. There was never an answer.
I never heard from her again. I never again saw her at a meeting.
I wondered if she had shown up in my life for that specific message, only to disappear like the angels in the Torah.
Angel as Guardian
“For He will give His angels charge of you, to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Psalm 91:11-12
There was another woman who played a very great role in the direction of Brett’s life and also disappeared from all contact when I attempted to call to say thank you. Was she really an angel, as well?
As Brett reached the end of sixth grade, he began to recover. He tried to participate in the regular activities that children his age do.
We met rejection everywhere we turned.
People feared having a child in their midst who had been so ill.
One of those rejections came from the Hebrew school of the synagogue we had attended.
Before, when Brett had been in and out of consciousness and I would wait outside the classroom for him, there were no complaints about his trying to participate while he was ill.
Now, when he was much better, I read in the weekly bulletin that Brett would have to go to a different school, one for special education students.
That was the first I had heard about it. It was in the shul bulletin. No one had said a word to me.
Brett was distressed when he heard about it. That week, Brett spoke to each of the people in shul whom he loved, like the cantor, and asked if each would still be his friend. He was so concerned that now people would not like him.
The following Shabbos, I didn’t go to the services in the shul.
Rather, I attended an OA meeting. I was upset and shared with the group how shattered I was about the situation.
A middle aged woman about 5’4″, thinning dark hair, pale skin, wearing a long sweater, and slacks, approached me after the meeting.
I had the shul bulletin with me. She asked if she could see it. She said she was appalled that they would write that. She told me that my story disturbed her greatly.
Then, she told me that she is the founder and president of the Handicapped Association of another county. I had never seen her at a meeting before that day. And never had any awareness that “handicapped associations” even existed. But she took upon herself a responsibility to resolve this situation.
She called the rabbi.
She spoke with the president of the Board of Directors.
She attended a meeting of the Board of Education of the Hebrew School.
To make a long story short, the woman was so effective that Brett was allowed to stay in the Hebrew School and he did well there.
I wasted no time in trying to call this woman whose name I don’t even remember. But her phone number was no longer in service.
Even years later, I tried to find the name of the Handicapped Association that she said she founded. It was not on the web.
I don’t really know who she was, other than the fact that she may have been one of those angels who stepped into our lives exactly when we needed, and for just long enough to help us . . .
And then, as did the others, she disappeared.
Angel As Protector
“And I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.” Exodus 33:2
Sometimes angels are real people whom we know. When we applied for Brett to participate in the town Little League, we were told that they had no more room. Brett’s father had been a coach in the league and knew that before they form the teams, they see how many kids they get. No one ever gets left out. But we had to fight to get him in.
No one would help us … until we called the wonderful mayor of New Milford.
She told them that she would close down the whole league if Brett were not allowed to play.
An hour later Brett’s new little league coach called to tell him where and when practice would be.
The Roles of Angels
There are angels in our lives.
Sometimes they are the messengers from Heaven and sometimes they are real people who take on a mission as if s/he were an angel.
We each have met them.
Sometimes we are one of them.
I believe we have all had their assistance at some time.
There are even angels who are adversaries.
Our struggle with them makes us more holy as did Yakov’s struggle with Esav’s angel.
At times even our enemies may be our angels.
The Talmud tells us that there are angels who have only one mission.
Their missions are often their names. We can’t know all of the names or all of the missions possible for an angel.
It says that angels often don’t last long enough for their names to warrant mention. There are also the angels who were created during the Six Days of Creation and remain in existence to this day.
Were They Really Angels?
Is that what happened to Brett and me?
Were our experiences with these wonderful people really encounters with angels?
I may never know for sure.
But that does not diminish the help that we have received.
Maybe even you are someone’s angel!