The following story was reported by Avi*, a grocery store owner in Tel Aviv. Among his familiar customers was a handsome 18 year old, Loulou, a regular carefree young man. Avi had watched him growing up and was fond of him.
One day Avi saw Loulou entering his store. He looked different – pensive – serious -awed.
Avi was intrigued: “Loulou, what is happening in your life?” Loulou was silent. It took some coaxing till Loulou opened up and told his story. This is what he said:
“You know, three weeks ago I was briskly walking towards my favorite Café, to meet my friends. On my way, suddenly, a plump middle-aged little lady planted herself in front of me, not allowing me to pass.”
“What is your name?” She demanded. “My name is Loulou.”
She shook her head, still not budging. “What is your real name?”
“People have called me Loulou as far as I can remember.”
The woman was insistent. “But that is not your real name!”
“Listen Lady, I have to go somewhere!”
I was really anxious to get together with my friends. But she simply wouldn’t let me pass.
I was thinking: “What does this crazy lady want from me anyway? I have never seen her before. What an obnoxious character!” I was looking for a way to walk around her. The lady kept watching me, waiting for a better answer. She was aware of my obvious attempts to dodge her. Suddenly, in one swooping motion she threw a handful of sand right into my face! That caught me off guard! It took several minutes before I could finally clear the sand out of my eyes. By then the lady had disappeared.
“Crazy folks like that should be locked away,” I growled. The people passing by were in a hurry. No one seemed to have paid any attention to what had happened.
As I was turning towards Dizengoff Street, just as I was about to step off the curb, BOOM!!!!
The entire neighborhood shook and rattled from the booming impact of an enormous explosion. It came from the direction I had been heading. Frightened people were rushing past me. I was told that a terrorist bomb had exploded, right next to Café Dizengoff!
Another terrorist attack! And I was heading there!
I was really shaken. I asked someone to let me
use their phone so as to call my mother. I had to reassure her 5 times over that I was really ok, untouched, not even a scratch. She was immensely relieved.
“Thank God, thank God you are alive!”
“You know,” I reflected, “I would certainly be dead or wounded by now if it hadn’t been for this absolutely crazy lady barring my way. I was going directly to the Dizengoff Café but she just kept asking me for my real name and she wouldn’t let me pass. She even threw sand in my eyes!”
“Who was it? Didn’t she tell you who she was?”
“I didn’t ask. I wasn’t interested in her. But because she delayed me I wasn’t at the café. “What did she look like?” mother wanted to know.
“Well, she looked ancient like she had walked out of a history book. Come to think of it, her eyes were very blue and very special…very special.”
Back at home mother pried me with a tumble of questions. I gave her a full description. Tears began to roll down her cheeks, tears of gratitude. Then she said: “The lady that stood in your way was my own Mother, your Grandmother. She died when you were a baby. Now you can see her love for us is stronger than ever. She was a woman of faith, a woman of prayer. She was able to appear to you at that very crucial moment to save your life! Thank God!”
So now I have changed my name to my newly found original name “Yacob”. I have learned more about the significance of being called by my Jewish name, I have learned about the Jewish outlook on our soul, about our purpose and mission in life. I discovered that my holy grandfather was a great Rabbi from Lithuania. I am feeling the need to make better use of my new lease on life. I have set out to learn everything else I could about Judaism. I want my grandmothers’ intervention to be fulfilled for a good purpose as she would have wanted it to be.”
*Name changed for privacy