The Gates are Closing

Retold by Rabbi Pamela Frydman[1]

With our prayer books open to the Amidah for Ne’ilah, I want to share the following story:

About 200 years ago, there was a Rabbi named Volker. Rabbi Volker was a Torah scholar and a mystic and he also had a vivid imagination. One night, Rabbi Volker had a dream. He dreamed that he was sent by the sages of his generation to create a map of heaven. In Rabbi Volker’s dream, he was immediately transported to heaven where he was met by an angel who wore a badge that said in Hebrew Sar HaTayarut, Minister of Tourism. Rabbi Volker explained his mission to the Minister of Tourism of Heaven and the Minister of Tourism said, “Yes, we know. We were expecting you.”

The Minister of Tourism proceeded to give Rabbi Volker his own personal tour of heaven. They went through every chamber and every nook and cranny until they came to a closed door with a guardian angel standing in front of it. Rabbi Volker noticed that the guardian angel had a tear in its eye. “Why the sadness?” asked Rabbi Volker.

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