Time: two days after Purim of 2006. Location: Milan, Italy.

Everything was running late, as usual. Purim came and went, and then . . . oops! We, the rabbinical students in the Milan Yeshivah, realized that we had forgotten to deliver the mishloach manot (Purim food gifts) to the children who had attended the Chabad day camp the past summer.

So we sat down with a map and figured out where we’d visit that evening. All in all, there were about forty houses within a four-square-block radius. The rabbi, an indefatigable optimist, gave us his word that we would need no more than an hour and a half to do the whole job. Not bad.

“Oh, by the way,” said the rabbi, “there is one family, the Cohens, that lives about fifteen minutes out of the area. There’s only a small chance you’ll make it there, but I’ll mark it down on the map anyways, just in case . . .”

Two of us, a friend by the name of Yisrael and yours truly, volunteered to do the rounds. We set out at eight at night, planning to return to home base around nine-thirty.

From the moment we began, everything seemed to be going wrongFrom the moment we began the route, everything seemed to be going wrong. As we trudged from one house (nobody home), to another (she’s sleeping already), to another (non-existent address), our spirits plummeted. Murphy’s Law was working overtime that evening.

It was already ten past nine and we hadn’t met even one kid. Our hands were hurting from lugging the heavy bags, and, to top it all off, we realized that we were lost.

We stopped our aimless walking to study the map. Where are we? Ah! I found us! “Yisrael! We have good news and bad news. Bad news: we’re way out of our four-block radius. Good news: we’re five minutes away from the one house that we were not planning on going to!”

We decided to make our way to the Cohens’ house, to try our luck over there, hoping to see the realization of the Talmudic adage: “One who changes his location, changes his fortune.”

Tired and somewhat discouraged, we made our way to our destination. Don’t ask me how, but somehow we managed to get lost again. By the time we reached the right building, we were a real shabby sight.

We rang the bell. And yes! The kids were home! And awake! Oh, how relieved we were. We ran into the building, into the elevator, forgot what floor we were heading to, and got lost . . . After a few trips walking up and down the stairs, though, we made it . . .

The child’s mother warmly welcomed us into her simple apartment and gave us drinks and hamantashen (“the best in town”), and asked us to share some Torah thoughts. We gladly complied.

Ten minutes later, we have shared with her and the kids a few thoughts. The mother was swallowing it all up and asking for more. I had run out of things to say (the first miracle of the evening . . .), so I related to her the entire saga of our evening, how “truth be told, we were not planning to come to your house tonight, but for some reason nothing worked out and we got lost, so . . .”

Suddenly she burst out crying; her whole body shook as she sobbed.

What did I say wrong? Did I offend her? What do I do now?

After a few long minutes, she managed to relate her story through her tears.

Suddenly she burst out crying; her whole body shook as she sobbed. What did I say wrong?“Just recently, my life has taken a turn for the worse. My husband left me, and my children are having a very hard time adjusting to this new situation. To make matters worse, I have no money to support my family. Everything seems to be going wrong.

“So this morning, I turned to G‑d in despair, and asked Him to send me a sign, a sign that He remembers me and cares for me.

“The entire day passed by—no sign. Then you two boys show up. It was nice, but I did not find my sign.

“Then you shared with me how this was not a planned visit, how you got lost. How this was the one house you were not planning to visit. How nobody answered all your knocking. How you made it to my home . . . I immediately realized that G‑d had answered my prayer; He sent me a sign in the form of two angels.

“Thank You, G‑d, for sending me these angels!”

She calmed down, we blessed her and said goodbye. We walked out shaken, touched as never before.

No, it wasn’t Murphy’s Law that was in charge that evening; it was G‑d’s Law.