My grandfather, Edward Sherman, was from Poland. When he came to the United States, there was confusion as to what his real birthday was in both the year and the date. Some would say April 15th, and others would say April 16th. This discrepancy led us to celebrate Pa’s birthday on BOTH days his entire life until his passing 12 years ago.
Yesterday, when I checked my mailbox, there was only one piece of mail. It was a solicitation, and it was addressed to Edward Sherman. My grandfather had never lived in California, and had never even visited California. Yet, that piece of mail, received on his birthday, stopped me in my tracks.
We are in the midst of counting the Omer: 49 days from Pesach to Shavuot, recounting and retelling the journey from freedom to revelation at Mount Sinai. This same journey occurs in each of our lives. Each day, we receive small reminders of our parents’, grandparents’, and great-grandparents’ journeys that led us to where we stand today.
Some may look at that perhaps random piece of mail as a coincidence, an accident of nature. I prefer to say hashgachat pratit, a Divine moment that permits me to remember my grandfather, celebrate his journey, and be thankful for how his life has led me to write these words to you today.