By Rabbi James Stone Goodman

And a certain man found him [Joseph], and, behold, he was blundering about in the field. And the man asked him, saying: What do you seek? Gen.37:15 

Rashi: this is the angel Gabriel. Ibn Ezra: a passerby. Ramban: the Holy One sent an unknowing guide.


Who’s there?

A certain man.

A certain man, who?

Just a man. A guy.

What kind of guy?

Just a guy who happened to enter your story for a moment and because of that your story turns one way and not another. Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

An angel.

Angel who?

The angel Gabriel, messenger of the Holy One. I am here to steer your story in a particular direction. You think you’re settling down, you are not settling down, you are spinning off into something unexpected. I am here to push your story into surprise. Leave your expectations, you’re on a mystery ride. Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

A person.

Person who?

Maybe just a person who is pushing your story off in a certain direction that you will later think is inevitable. It isn’t inevitable. I’m a somebody. I show up at a critical place and send your story reeling off in some way that will be a challenge for you. It might take you a time to recover from the journey you are about to enter, you might never recover your former life, but some time later you will think about me, mark this moment as one of the most important of your life because you are going to learn something in the following chapters that you could not have learned if I had not appeared in your life at this time, this place, in just this way. Everything will change for you. Squeeze your story for what it means. Knock-knock.

Who is it? Come in already.

God or nature or the Grand Storyteller or whatever it is you believe in that moves your story along and those you love with you. You may ignore the knock-knock. You might pretend there is no knock-knock at all, but there is a knock-knock. Who’s there? I appear at a knock-knock moment in your life and through me, because I show up, everything, every single thing is about to change for you. In the future you will think it through: Who or what am I and what is it I have contributed to your life? What is your best response? You will remember this knock-knock moment and read it out for what it means. Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Take your time. You’ll figure it out.