The Power of a Gift

Guest Blog by Tomer Hillel |A Shaliach in Washington D.C


Do you believe that an object can save you from demons? or how about the power to bring people together in ways that words can't? Well, Tomer's story just might change your mind!

A pink gift box with a gold ribbon and bow and gold confetti

After my release from the IDF, I began my university studies. My army service allowed me to receive a scholarship donated by a very generous man in the United States.


As soon as I finished my degree, I decided to take a little break before entering the work field, so I went on a 2-year community Shlihoot (mission in Hebrew) in Washington through the Jewish Agency, in order to help with the Israeli Hassbarah (publicity).


Before I left on my Shlihoot, I made it clear to myself that if I had the opportunity to meet with my scholarship donor, no matter where I would travel to him and personally thank him and present him with a humble gift from Israel.


After a few months, my donor answered me and we scheduled a meeting. We had agreed I would fly to him, so I took a long weekend off and booked my ticket. I am a big ‘Couch Surfing fan, I believe it is a wonderful way to meet the local population, see the city from a non-tourist eye, and obviously, save a buck or two. So I searched for a free ‘Couch’ in the donor’s area, and I found a hostess that had a free room for the night.


Tomer Hillel & his couch-surfing hostess | Washington. 2018 - Present.
Tomer Hillel & his couch-surfing hostess | Washington. 2018 - Present.

Everything went smoothly, the flight was great, I made it to the hostess house and she turned out to be a wonderful person. The next morning, I had my coffee before leaving for my meeting, and she asked me how I slept and if everything was fine during the night. I told her everything was great, but this is where things got interesting.


My hostess said she was surprised because according to her, every guest that sleeps in that room says they hear weird noises, and some even claimed to have seen ghosts. She said she had also seen the ghosts, and because she is a Christian, she would take a cross and scare them away with it. Obviously, she was surprised to hear that I was the only person who hadn’t seen or heard anything. And that’s when it hit me.


I had with me a Mezuzah that I brought from Israel, as a gift to give to my donor. In one of the Jewish books, it is written that he who checks his Mezuzot will live long, and be saved from DEMONS AND SPIRITS!


According to Jewish tradition, there is no point in only expelling the spirits, because there is probably a reason they are stuck and can’t move on to their next life, so you must help them find peace in this world in order for them to move on. My response totally intrigued her and sparked a very interesting conversation about different religions and cultures.


Now, it is highly possible that wasn’t really what had happened during the night, but it led to a great discourse with my hostess, and the best part is – my donor was super excited and moved by my gift and the story!