One of the most inspiring stories about the short life of our nephew, Zalmy Plotkin OBM, occurred in … Burger King. Yes, Burger King.
Here is what happened:
On a particularly hectic day in the Plotkin home (preparing a Sheva Brochos that night for their daughter), Mrs. Plotkin dropped off Zalmy and their nanny Jenna for some fun and play at an indoor gym. A while later when it was time to pick them up, Rabbi Plotkin headed out to get them. He put his hand in his pocket to call Jenna and ask her to come out to the car, only to realize that in his rush he left his phone at home.
Here is the problem: the indoor gym is located inside the local Burger King. When a rabbi – sporting his Kippah and long beard – enters a non-Kosher establishment, he runs the risk of conveying a wrong message to any passers-by. So Rabbi Plotkin parked the car and simply started looking through the windows to try and find Jenna and Zalmy, and hopefully get their attention.
To no avail. He just cannot see them. And Sheva Brochos is starting soon at home, with dozens of guests about to walk in. What to do?!
Well, with no options available, Rabbi Plotkin keeps his head down to avoid eye contact with anyone and makes a semi-mad dash into Burger King, praying that he finds his son ASAP.
“Oh, no”, he says to himself, “I knew this was a bad idea”…
Looking up he sees a woman sitting at a table, with a surprised grin on her teary-eyed face.
“Yes”, says the rabbi.
“I can’t believe it!”, she says.
“No, no, no – I’m not here to eat, I’m here to find my son”, he mumbles.
“Of course, you’re not here to eat – that’s not what I’m referring to when I said ‘I can’t believe it'”, she responds. And then continues:
“Life has been unbearably painful for me recently … family … career … difficulty raising my son – it was all falling apart. I was at wit’s end, about to totally give up and throw in the towel. I made one last desperate plea to G-d: Show me that You are there! Give me a sign that You haven’t forgotten about me. Send me a message that You care.
“And then you walked in, rabbi”, she said with tears streaming down her face.
Rabbi Plotkin was desperately trying to find his son and bring him home. What he discovered though, was that Zalmy really wasn’t “lost” in the Burger King gym. G-d placed him there to enable someone else who really WAS desperately lost, to be found by Rabbi Plotkin … and brought back home.
Today her life is wonderful, with her son just recently married and starting a beautiful Jewish family of his own…
Rabbi Plotkin – thanks to Zalmy – was G-d’s answer to her prayer.
My dear friends, each of us should ask ourselves every day:
How can I be G-d’s answer to someone’s prayer?