07/01/2013 10:18 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Isaac: Los Angeles, January 2011


The taxi from the airport drops me off one building down from mine and the driver, a bright spirited, smiling Korean man, puts my two small suitcases on the sidewalk. I pay him, and see Isaac right across the street. We've been neighbors for over two decades, but he remains ageless and timeless to me. Isaac fixes things and helps people out. On Shabbos (Sabbath) his work clothes seen here turn into a dark suit and hat.

Usually, I see Isaac from my driveway or apartment entrance and we wave to each other. Now, he walks over to me. "Hi Isaac, how are you?"

"Good, thank you Robert. Where are you coming from?"

"I've been in Miami. Isaac, we haven't spoken in a while -- I didn't yet convey my condolences for your Mother."

"Thank you Robert. That was over a year ago."

I can't believe it's been that long and how time flies.

"So, why did you have the taxi drop you here and not by your door?" asks Isaac.

I think about his question for a second and reply, "Well, maybe it was so you and I could actually speak instead of waving at each other." To which Isaac says: "They tell us that everything is part of G-d's plan. A leaf blowing off a tree may land on top of a bug and give it protection and longer life."

We stand here on the sidewalk talking, catching up. I feel in no hurry to get inside. He expounds to me a bit about the meaning of my Hebrew name. Then, before I can say no thanks, he wheels my two suitcases to my front door and up the steps. We shake hands, bid each other farewell, and I silently thank the wind for letting me land near Isaac today.

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