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An Angel in the Supermarket

An Angel in the Supermarket

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It was Friday, on a balmy spring morning, and I was standing in line at the checkout counter in Rockland Kosher Supermarket. My cart was overflowing with groceries which would add up to a pretty penny. I was, however, the grateful recipient of food stamp benefits, and one swipe of my precious plastic card would cover the cost of my bimonthly food shopping trip. Nonetheless, I had chosen carefully, scanning the sale aisle for bargains, wanting to make the most of the government’s assistance. I loaded my items onto the counter and waited patiently for the cashier to add them up.

“Your food stamp balance is zero dollars and zero cents,” read the receipt“Delivery, please,” I said. One hundred and fifteen dollars and sixty-three cents was my total. I confidently handed the cashier my food stamp benefit card. “Your food stamp balance is zero dollars and zero cents,” read the receipt. I stood there for a moment, not knowing what to do. “Please step aside while I put your order on hold and ring up the next customer,” said the cashier. I obediently stepped aside, racking my brain for a solution as to how to pay this bill. Please, G‑d, I thought, help me put food on my table.

Out of nowhere a well-dressed, kind-looking woman appeared. She smiled and said, “I can lend you the money, and you can pay me back at your convenience.” Thinking of my family’s wellbeing, I put my dignity in my pocket for later retrieval and nodded my assent. She handed her credit card to the cashier and waited while the transaction went through. I provided the delivery boy with my address and turned back to my benefactress to obtain her name and telephone number. Not seeing her, I scanned the store and the parking lot outside. She was nowhere to be found.

I walked out of the supermarket with a lump in my throat. Her kindness had opened up a torrent of emotions that for the past twelve months had been held in check. I quickened my pace as the tears began to flow, heading toward a quiet side street where I could cry in peace.

Exactly one year before, my husband had walked out on me, leaving me to care for my three children. He left me a note, saying that he no longer wanted to be tied down. From one day to the next I was thrust into a world of uncertainty. I had three beautiful daughters, ages three, six and nine, who were left fatherless and confused.

The years preceding this event had not been ideal. Soon after my marriage, I noticed that a large sum of money was missing from our joint bank account. When I asked my husband about it, he was evasive. That incident was the first hint that something was wrong. It took another few years to realize that I was married to a man who was addicted to gambling. He was slowly destroying his finances, himself and his family.

I consulted experts, did research and pleaded with him to go for help. But it was to no avail. When all our resources were depleted, he picked himself up and left.

I turned to government funds to help me stay above water and provide for my children. I turned to social services and became acquainted with Medicaid, food stamps and welfare. I enrolled in a part-time college program, and the kids—though saddened by the loss of their daddy, who wanted nothing to do with them—slowly began to heal. Slowly, my life returned to something resembling normalcy.

Although on the outside it appeared as if I was doing well, deep inside me there was an unbelievable rage which did not abate as the weeks and months rolled on. The abandonment of my husband meant the abandonment of my Father in Heaven. The losses of my childhood resurfaced and threatened to engulf me.

During the lonely silence of the nights, I would relive my childhood memories, picturing the day my parents were killed. I, an only child, was left an orphan. I was sent to be raised by an aunt. Although my aunt and uncle were well-meaning people, they were rigid and controlling. At the age of thirteen, my bedtime was still 8:00 PM. A sleepover was absolutely out of the question, and many of the privileges my friends enjoyed were foreign to me. My aunt would monitor my phone conversations and all my extracurricular activities. As I had an independent personality, this created friction, and I yearned for the moment when I would be set free.

When I first discovered that “Leiby” was addicted to gambling, I naively thought that we would work through this problem togetherAs I moved through my teenage years, I secretly dreamed of the day when I would have a place I could truly call home. At the age of twenty-one, I was introduced to Leib. Leib was gentle and kind. He was loyal and principled, and we shared the same vision of building a fine Jewish home together. I was genuinely happy and looked forward with great anticipation to our future together. Nothing prepared me for the pain ahead.

When I first discovered that “Leiby” was addicted to gambling, I naively thought that we would work through this problem together. Little did I know that Leiby was not going to allow himself to be helped, and that he would fall into a depression and eventually leave me.

During those years of trial, I fervently prayed to my Father in Heaven to save our marriage. I desperately wanted my precious little girls to have a solid, stable home. The day Leiby left us, I began to function on two levels. While I marched forward, taking care of business and reconstructing our lives, my inner world was in turmoil and my faith was slowly eroding.

That Friday morning, in Rockland Kosher, an angel appeared out of nowhere, bringing not only a box full of groceries but a message full of love. It was that Friday that I renewed my relationship with G‑d, feeling strongly the sense of caring and security that accompanies the knowledge that He continues to hold me and my children in His arms.

I felt ready, at last, to move forward and reconnect with society. I accepted a longstanding invitation to the local rabbi’s house for the Sabbath meals. Friday, before sunset, I prepared the candles for lighting. The Sabbath table was covered in white, and my children were dressed in their Sabbath best. The candles shone bright, lighting up their innocent glowing faces and warming my soul. And as I stood there, I contemplated the day’s events.

A food stamp card that didn’t work, and a fellow human being who reached out to give without a second thought, combined to open my heart and reunite me with my Maker. G‑d has many ways of reminding his children of His loving presence. For me it happened at Rockland Kosher.

By Anonymous
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J August 25, 2016

Lovely. Remember what you have. Reply

Misha Benjamin Northern Virginia, USA June 27, 2016

Beautiful story...doesn't happen everyday....thank you for sharing. Reply

Bracha Goetz Baltimore, Maryland February 3, 2013

to ruth So beautifully expressed! Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma February 3, 2013

Angela Last night I read a true story, written by my colleague, out of her life, a story that caused her great angst, which we are taking and turning into a musical. It's called Angela, and it's about a woman who showed up an as angel for a friend, just when she was needed, and what happened, the angst of what happened after. The story is about love, and I believe compelling. I think of life as a one room schoolhouse, and I think we're all here to learn, lessons in love.

And I can never get enough joy, from reading, about how we help each other through, and in thinking about all this, know, without a doubt, that Hashem, guides us all and we are never alone, never deserted, even when we feel it most. Reply

Rishe BROOKLYN January 31, 2013

Heartbreaking Losing the two parents at once! and no siblings! and the aunt/uncle like that! i can't breathe from this...

please let us know good news about yourself and your daughters -- and even Leiby, I hope Reply

Shulamit Melbourne, Australia September 11, 2011

Shana Tova to you all It wasvery inspiring to read this beautiful article and the kind, supportive comments.May everything that each of you desires in the New Year be what Hashem desires too. Reply

Anonymous Saint Cloud ., Fl. June 13, 2011

An Angel My life it is been full of miracles ,these one is one of many.... the only job that I had for 35 years on this Country was the help of a person I call an ANGEL I saw her only once until today she vanish ......
HASHEM no question is always watching over us!!!!!! .... Reply

Anonymous None, Ireland June 3, 2011

above story He is concerned for us always and supplies all we need. we should be there sensitively for ou r families, and not looking for return. May he continue to work through us! all ar e blessed by our presence in the world. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma June 3, 2011

how we become Angels for others One day I was walking into Newton Centre, a shopping area, and a young woman passed me with a bundle of bills in her hand.
Suddenly a strong wind came up and she dropped the bills which went flying every which way across the pavement. I bent down and gathered them, as we both scrambled to retrieve this money. I have no idea where she was going with the money, probably the bank, but I was sure, this was an opportunity for me to be an angel for her It felt good. A passing young stranger. I thought then, Wow, I am her angel today! Reply

nathan berger sao paulo, brazil June 2, 2011

angels your moving story has broght tears to my eyes very moving and inspiring
May Hashem bless you with lots of joy and Nachas from your daughters. Reply

Malka Tirtza Metz, France via lubavitch.lu June 1, 2011

your story brought tears to my eyes....may H-shem sends you also rapidly a loving husband on your lonely road ! But just one question !....where was the Kehila when you needed them most ? Why didn't they reach out to you ?...... didn't they saw you walking alone with 3 small children in need of everything (food, clothing, and yes also a husband and a little bit of joy in your life) ?
I was at the conference Rav Yossef Sitruk gave several years back, when he came back to the Shule in "la Victoire " in Paris when he came out after his cerebral attack.....well one of the first think the rav saidon his wheelchair is "when you see a Jew come toward you, YOU HAVE TO ASK HIM 2 questions. He bended right and left and said 1) what can i do for you 2) are you in need of anything ? Yes !! ...Oy ! va voy !....where were they the ones who were supposed to help you !!! Yes,alas ! before Moshiach we will hear stories like these ! Reply

MOSHE ULMAN brewster, n.y via putnamchabad.org May 27, 2011

G-D IS ALWAYS THERE If you are not sure about G-d this will make you sure. Believe in Him and you can never go wrong. Reply

Anonymous Fairfield via chabadff.com May 27, 2011

He always works Wonders When you feel down and defeated G-D provides what is truly needed. Reply

Anonymous Newtown, PA/USA via jewishcenter.info May 26, 2011

Angels not only in Supermarket My father worked all week making lollipops. Friday he came home early to go to Synagogue. Shabbos it rained, but the candy was in the store he had rented, and he felt no concern. Sunday he went to the store, and upon opening the door he realized the walls of the store were porous and the lollipops were all wet. Now he had to dry and repack everything before he could rent a wagon and sell the candies. He needed the money to pay what he owed before he could produce more candies.
He opened the door and the windows to dry the candies. As he stood feeling hopeless, a man with a horse and wagon stopped, and said "I smell candy. Do you know where it is"? My Father said "It's here, but they got wet from Saturday's rain".
"Can I see them" the man asked. He looked at the candy, and asked "How much for all the candy"? My father gave him a price. He gave the money asked, and my father helped him load up the wagon. He never saw the man again, or did he ever see the candy. Reply

Julius Romanoff Newtown , PA/USA via jewishcenter.info May 26, 2011

There are Angels among us My father, an orthodox Jew, came to US from Russia with his wife. He was able to find employment easily, since at 15 years of age he opened a candy factory. It was very profitable. but at 18 years of age , he had to enter the Russian army. He left his brother to run the factory. After 3 years he was discharged, and when he got home, he learned the Tsar confiscated his factory without any payment. He decided to go to US, and he would send money for family members to also come to US. He married a girl he met recently, since she also wanted to go to US.
After 3 months working in a candy factory, he told the owner he was going to open his own company. The Owner pointed out that war was coming, and it would be difficult to get ingredients. My father was determined, and the employer said he will loan him the ingredients, and he would pay him back after he sells what he produced, and he could then borrow again what he needed. The following Comment will continue the story.
Reply

Anonymous Denver May 26, 2011

what else can be added to this outpouring of warmth and compassion that can be amiss in the all too often individualized me-first world. what a beautiful collection of the kindest and most empathetic comments. May G-d bless you and watch over all of you. You are never alone even on the loneliest of journeys.
Best wishes to all! Reply

Ginny Rugby, UK May 26, 2011

Thank you for this recollection. I hope I would be able to do the same. Once I did pay for some biscuits in a mum's trolley who didn't have enough cash for everything. Reply

Patricia Farrington Walnut Cove, NC via chabadgreensboro.com May 26, 2011

Thank you for sharing. HaShem is so good at getting our attention when we forget Him. He took what was an embarrassing situation, and turned it into a blessing. I have been through many trials in my life, and He has never failed me. Sister I pray for continual blessings in your life. Shalom! Reply

Hadassa Sneek May 26, 2011

One word I can only utter..WOW !!! Reply

Clare Kampala, Uganda May 26, 2011

Reinstates ones faith This story is wonderful and thank you so much for sharing. I too would have done exactly the same. Yes, Angels do exist and are sent by G-d. I'm so grateful He sent one to you. Reply