From Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul

The Letter

The old rabbi glanced out of the window of his office at the overcast skies. It was a typical gray day in Manchester, England. As he was about to get back to work, there was a knock on the door, which then opened slowly. In walked Sue, a plain, homey lady. She hesitantly strolled over to a chair facing the rabbi and was about to sit down, when panic struck her and she said, “I’m sorry, I have made a big mistake and I should not be here.” She turned around and started to walk towards the door.

“Stop! Come here, my dear, and sit down please. I welcome your company.” The old rabbi smiled and carefully stroked his long gray beard. Sue came over to the rabbi’s desk and slowly sat down on an old worn chair.

“Now then, why is a lovely lady so afraid to tell her rabbi what bothers her? I am here to help you, my dear, so take a deep breath and tell me your problem.”

Sue stared at the rabbi, and she felt an air of serenity engulfing her very being. She took a few deep breaths and quietly said, “Thank you for seeing me. As you can see, I am a very plain-looking woman. I have a few male friends, but never have I had a close relationship with anyone. Tomorrow will be my fortieth birthday. I feel life is passing me by, and I am unfulfilled. I feel like a river run dry.”

The rabbi stood up, walked around his desk and started to stroke Sue’s hair. “My lovely Sue, beauty does not come from our face or physique. Beauty comes from the soul, and you are a beautiful soul.”

Sue could not contain her emotions and burst into tears.

The rabbi kept stroking her hair for a few more moments then went back to his chair. He opened a drawer in his desk and pulled out a crisp, clean cotton handkerchief. “Wipe your eyes and listen to what I am about to tell you,” he said. “On one side of the handkerchief is the name and address of a matchmaking agency. I want you to go home and write a letter to this agency, with all your interests and life history included. Do not read your letter over; just go out and mail it as soon as you write it.”

Sue stopped crying, wiped her eyes, and read the name and address that was embroidered in the top left-hand corner of the handkerchief. She stood up, and now it was her turn to walk over to the rabbi. She threw her arms around him and kissed him on the forehead. “Thank you so much for your love and advice. I will do as you say,” she said. She immediately rushed to the door and in an instant was gone from the building.

It took Sue half an hour to drive home. She ran into her house, pulled out a pen and paper, and scribbled down her interests and life history. She wondered why the rabbi did not ask her to include a photo along with the letter, but no matter. The letter was written, and she placed it in an envelope. She called to her faithful companion, Bobby, a nine-year-old collie, and put on his leash. Within a moment, she was out the door and walking the half-mile to the mailbox in town.

Everything seemed to be in a haze, and when she reached the mailbox she stood there for a minute before she decided to mail her letter. She was just about to drop it in the mailbox when she realized that she had forgotten to put a stamp on it. The shock made her drop the letter on the ground. She bent down to pick it up. Within a moment another letter fell on top of hers, and without looking up she lifted them both from the ground. As she stood up, her eyes opened wide in amazement for there stood a man, and he was smiling kindly. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I dropped my letter.”

“It’s quite okay. Here it is,” said Sue. As she gave it back to him, they both noticed his letter had no stamp on it either. They burst into laughter.

“My name is Bob, and I would like to take you for a cup of tea to the little café across the street.”

Overcoming her surprise, Sue replied, “That would be delightful.”

No sooner had they had sat down and ordered a pot of tea than Bob started to explain the reason for his letter. “I’d seen an advertisement in the local paper by a matchmaking service, and I thought to myself, ‘I’m forty-five years old and have never been married. What do I have to lose by sending in a letter about myself?’”

Sue’s heart was beating so strongly that it was shaking her body. Her face began to go bright red. “I was about to mail out a letter to that same agency, Bob,” she managed to say.

Their eyes locked in an angelic stare, and there was silence for many moments.

“Here is your tea,” the waitress said. Neither Sue nor Bob even heard her. “Your tea,” the waitress repeated. “Here is your tea, and would you like some biscuits?”

“Oh, yes . . . thank you,” said Bob, without taking his eyes off Sue.

At that moment, Sue’s dog, which had been quietly sitting at Sue’s feet, put a paw on Bob’s lap. “I forgot all about your dog,” said Bob. “What is his name?”

“Bobby,” replied Sue.

“How fantastic,” replied Bob. “I have a collie named Suzy.”

They both laughed.

After a year of courting, Sue and Bob were married. The old rabbi officiated at the wedding. As Bob placed the ring on Sue’s finger, the rabbi said it was a match made in heaven—two souls, united as one, were soul mates forever, sealed by the letters L.O.V.E.

Sue smiled at the mention of sealing letters. She still had the letter she had written and forgotten to stamp. It hadn’t mattered. God had put the stamp on and also made the delivery—a lot faster than the post office could ever have done!

Michael Levy
Submitted by Tom Lagana

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