Q: Over the years, I have been blessed [with] and open to God winks. Not too long ago, my grandson was having problems with his parents' divorce. I decided to ask my deceased mother, Olga, and my deceased son, Joe (he died at birth) to intercede, and I would pray over it.

While driving out of my apartment complex onto our main road, in front of me was a car with a license plate JOE & OLGA. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to grab my cell and snap a photo, but there was no time. I knew instantly that my mom and my son were interceding.

Think about it, who would have a license plate with the names Olga & Joe? Talk about a WOW moment! God's signs are all around us; thankfully, I am open to them. Rabbi Gellman, thank you for who you are to all.

By the way, I was a parishioner at Our Lady of Grace in West Babylon, and next door was the hospice named after Msgr. Tom Hartman's brother. God continue to shine His blessings on you. — D, Long Island

A: Amazing. You know I have a typology for God winks. Type 1 God wink: a sign that violates natural law with a verbal communication. Type 2 God wink: a sign that violates natural law with no verbal communication. Type 3 God wink: a sign that does not violate natural law with a verbal communication. Type 4 God wink: a sign that does not violate natural law with no verbal communication but is much more than just a random coincidence. Your experience is clearly a Type 4 God wink, but it makes me want to add a Type 5 God wink: a sign that does not violate natural law but involves the department of motor vehicles! God bless your winks.

Q: I look forward to reading your column on a weekly basis. As a practicing Catholic, I am always interested in religious discussion and, of course, am open to hearing other doctrine and points of view. Additionally, I had the pleasure of being instructed many years ago by Father Tom. He instructed me and my wife when we were preparing to become Eucharistic ministers in our local parish. I have a “God wink” that has stuck with me for many years.

In the early '90s, our daughter was very ill and was being treated by a wonderful physician at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC. My wife and I were beside ourselves and were visiting her in the hospital daily. My father, who passed away in 1975, truly loved my daughter, who was our first child. I prayed to him daily to protect her and to send me a sign that she would recover. Well, the sign came and to me was unmistakable. One evening during our long, tedious drive home, there was a violent thunderstorm. I could hardly see to drive on the Long Island Expressway and was praying silently to my father — for my daughter and for a safe trip home. Exactly at that moment, a lightning bolt struck a tree not five feet off the road and to our side. The tree was not positioned in a particularly vulnerable spot for a lightning strike and was literally splintered. We were unscathed!

A little further into the trip home, I had to pull to the side of the road, and again lightning struck within feet of the car. No damage but certainly frightening! Why a “God wink”? The next day, the doctor met us with the news that our daughter had improved overnight. There’s not a doubt in my mind that my father sent the message to have faith and that he was taking care of his girl! Keep up the work that you do. Your ministry reaches and impacts a countless number of people. — B, Mineola

A: Thanks, B, for your illuminating the Type 4 God wink (no violation of natural law and no verbal communication but more than a mere coincidence). Lightning is the most common natural phenomenon that is often interpreted as a God wink. In your case, the connection to your daughter’s sudden healing was striking and I believe was real. However, there is a problem with Type 4 God winks. Sometimes because of our neediness we make a connection that is just not there. 

Not every lightning strike is an omen. The way God distributes God winks to needy and believing people is a true sign of grace, but the actual spiritual mechanics of God winks remains a profound mystery and I can say with confidence that they are way above my pay grade. I am just in awe that God finds ways to lift us up with signs of hope and love.

Q: Over the years, I have been blessed [with] and open to God winks. Not too long ago, my grandson was having problems with his parents' divorce. I decided to ask my deceased mother, Olga, and my deceased son, Joe (he died at birth) to intercede, and I would pray over it.

While driving out of my apartment complex onto our main road, in front of me was a car with a license plate JOE & OLGA. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to grab my cell and snap a photo, but there was no time. I knew instantly that my mom and my son were interceding.

Think about it, who would have a license plate with the names Olga & Joe? Talk about a WOW moment! God's signs are all around us; thankfully, I am open to them. Rabbi Gellman, thank you for who you are to all.

By the way, I was a parishioner at Our Lady of Grace in West Babylon, and next door was the hospice named after Msgr. Tom Hartman's brother. God continue to shine His blessings on you. — D, Long Island

A: Amazing. You know I have a typology for God winks. Type 1 God wink: a sign that violates natural law with a verbal communication. Type 2 God wink: a sign that violates natural law with no verbal communication. Type 3 God wink: a sign that does not violate natural law with a verbal communication. Type 4 God wink: a sign that does not violate natural law with no verbal communication but is much more than just a random coincidence. Your experience is clearly a Type 4 God wink, but it makes me want to add a Type 5 God wink: a sign that does not violate natural law but involves the department of motor vehicles! God bless your winks.

Q: I look forward to reading your column on a weekly basis. As a practicing Catholic, I am always interested in religious discussion and, of course, am open to hearing other doctrine and points of view. Additionally, I had the pleasure of being instructed many years ago by Father Tom. He instructed me and my wife when we were preparing to become Eucharistic ministers in our local parish. I have a “God wink” that has stuck with me for many years.

In the early '90s, our daughter was very ill and was being treated by a wonderful physician at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC. My wife and I were beside ourselves and were visiting her in the hospital daily. My father, who passed away in 1975, truly loved my daughter, who was our first child. I prayed to him daily to protect her and to send me a sign that she would recover. Well, the sign came and to me was unmistakable. One evening during our long, tedious drive home, there was a violent thunderstorm. I could hardly see to drive on the Long Island Expressway and was praying silently to my father — for my daughter and for a safe trip home. Exactly at that moment, a lightning bolt struck a tree not five feet off the road and to our side. The tree was not positioned in a particularly vulnerable spot for a lightning strike and was literally splintered. We were unscathed!

A little further into the trip home, I had to pull to the side of the road, and again lightning struck within feet of the car. No damage but certainly frightening! Why a “God wink”? The next day, the doctor met us with the news that our daughter had improved overnight. There’s not a doubt in my mind that my father sent the message to have faith and that he was taking care of his girl! Keep up the work that you do. Your ministry reaches and impacts a countless number of people. — B, Mineola

A: Thanks, B, for your illuminating the Type 4 God wink (no violation of natural law and no verbal communication but more than a mere coincidence). Lightning is the most common natural phenomenon that is often interpreted as a God wink. In your case, the connection to your daughter’s sudden healing was striking and I believe was real. However, there is a problem with Type 4 God winks. Sometimes because of our neediness we make a connection that is just not there. 

Not every lightning strike is an omen. The way God distributes God winks to needy and believing people is a true sign of grace, but the actual spiritual mechanics of God winks remains a profound mystery and I can say with confidence that they are way above my pay grade. I am just in awe that God finds ways to lift us up with signs of hope and love.

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