Anna’s family escaped from Iran and lives on the West Coast.
In Iran, Anna had learned about Judaism, but when she was twelve, she became obsessed with the Holocaust. She grew bitter at G‑d and decided that He would no longer be a part of her life.
When Anna was 13, she was riding her bike and fell. Before realizing it, she called out, “Oh my G‑d!” Catching herself, she began to think about G‑d and blurted out, “If You exist, then give me a sign. When I turn 18, show me a rainbow.”
Before long, Anna forgot about her “deal with G‑d.” In college, she excelled at math, and would tutor a friend. One day, as the two were studying, Anna mentioned it was her 18th birthday. Despite Anna’s protests, her friend insisted on leaving so Anna could celebrate. Opening the front door, her friend called out, “Look!”
She was pointing at the most magnificent rainbow in the sky. It took Anna a few minutes to remember her “deal” and realize this was her sign.
The years passed quickly. Anna and her husband were now living in California, and she was in the early stages of pregnancy with her sixth child. At a routine checkup, the doctor informed Anna that her fetus had a defective heart. If the baby survived, she would need surgery and would have trouble breathing her entire life. He strongly advised Anna to abort.
Despite his repeated recommendations, Anna refused.
Two weeks before her due date, Anna asked her doctor to redo the tests. The results were just as grim.
Anna now turned to G‑d. “At 13, You heard me, and at 18, You showed me a sign. Only You can help. Please G‑d, heal this baby.”
Anna went into labor, fearing the worst. The baby was immediately whisked off to neonatal care. Shortly after, Anna’s doctor reappeared. “I have something to tell you,” he said. “I have no explanation, but your baby is 100% healthy!”
As Anna shared her story, she pointed to the backyard where her “baby,” a beautiful and healthy pre-teenager was sitting.
Recently, Anna felt that her house was generating negative energy. She asked her Chabad rabbi to affix mezuzahs, without realizing that her large home would need several dozen mezuzahs! But it was worthwhile because her home has once again become peaceful and positive.
That night, the yearly women’s event for her local Chabad was hosted in Anna’s lovely home. I was invited as the keynote speaker, and that is when Anna shared with me her story.
Wherever I travel, I am amazed by the depth of beauty of the Jewish soul. No matter the circumstances, level of observance or location, the soul restlessly calls out to its Maker, pursuing a connection.
Kol dodi dofek, the voice of my Beloved is knocking. Throughout our lives, G‑d “knocks” at our door, seeking to strengthen the bonds of our relationship.
This Yom Kippur, let’s resolve to open the door wide.