Sitting in the back of the black taxi he had snagged as it dropped off a passenger in front of the historic Goring Hotel, he calculated the distance to his destination. He was fortunate that this taxi accepted credit cards, a service which eluded most London cabs—a huge problem for a tourist without English currency who was pressed for time. It was a windblown late Friday afternoon, and a misty rain obscured the view of Big Ben and the Thames River as the cab hurtled through the teeming London traffic, passing from the upscale Central London neighborhood of Belgravia to Westminster.

It was Sept. 13, 2013, two hours before the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, would begin. Yom Kippur Eve is arguably one of the busiest days of the year, rich with traditions and replete with multiple rituals. My son, Rabbi Doobie Lisker, then a rabbinical student, was in London assisting Rabbi Mendel and Rebbetzin Chana Kalmenson, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries to Belgravia, in expanding their High Holiday and Sukkot activities.

While partaking in the second of the two meals eaten on that day, my son received an unexpected text from a childhood friend, Danny Illulian. Doobie had bumped into Danny purely by “chance” as he hurriedly wheeled his suitcase a few blocks down Albany Avenue in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., to catch his ride to the airport. Last-minute changes to the West Indies Labor Day parade barred traffic from his original pick-up location.

In passing, Doobie mentioned his upcoming plans to Danny. Danny said that his father, a prestigious rabbi in Los Angeles, knew of an elderly Iranian Jew in London who was in poor health. He suggested that the man could benefit from a visit and some inspiration if my son had the time, but he had not provided any further information until now, just hours before Yom Kippur. Danny messaged that unfortunately, the man had taken a turn for the worse, and so sent the man’s contact information and the name of the hospital where he was a patient.

Googling the address, my son determined that the hospital was a 40-minute car ride from him. He made a cerebral flipping of the coin and decided to head there immediately, taking with him only a Yom Kippur machzor and tefillin. At the hospital, he easily located the man’s room with the instructions he was given at the patient information area.

A nurse stood at the bedside adjusting the drip of IV. Gathered around the withered, elderly man were his loving family members, treasuring his remaining time on this earth. They were surprised but grateful to see Doobie, telling him how meaningful his visit was at such an auspicious time. Doobie approached to wrap tefillin on the man, but his daughter tilted her head away from her father and whispered, “He’s fading before us. His pain has increased. Regrettably, he is not up to it.”

Instead, Doobie wrapped tefillin on the man’s two sons as he looked on, eyes glistening with tears. The room was charged as the man tightly grasped Doobie’s hand as he recited the Shema with the family. Unsure as to exactly why, Doobie then opened his machzor and continued to pray the vidui prayer, word for word. He then quickly took his leave of the man and his appreciative family, returning to Belgravia just as the chazzan was beginning to chant Kol Nidrei.

The next few days leading up to Sukkot were jam-packed with preparations. Even with the best intentions, Doobie did not find a minute to follow through and text Danny. But on the eve of Sukkot, he received another text from Danny apprising him that the man had passed away early Yom Kippur morning, only a few hours after Doobie had recited vidui with him. It was the first time since the man had left Iran, more than 30 years ago, that he had participated in a religious service. He had suffered horrific religious persecution during the Islamic Revolution. Although he had battled bravely, the devastation left its mark. Precisely when the healing of his body was no longer a possibility, the end of life prayers offered him a healing of the spirit that had been stolen from him.

A random event? Fate? Serendipity? I think not. Each of us are emissaries of G‑d put here to accomplish something specific, a sacred task.1 A soul may descend to this world and live 70 or 80 years in order to do a Jew a material favor, and certainly a spiritual one.2

The domino effect of tiny, seemingly inconsequential decisions and events, and the incomprehensible way in which they intertwine, is Divine Providence bringing about circumstances to lead us exactly where we need to be.