In the year 1977, Mehdi* and Pari* and their three children were an 11th-generation family living in Iran. They were in the houseware wholesale/import business. During the Shah’s regime, life was great for everyone, including the Jews. But in the summer of 1977, as political instability and unrest started against the regime, the children of the family were sent to New York and later to Los Angeles, which hosts a large population of Iranian Jews, to attend university in the safe haven of the United States. The Islamic revolution occurred in January 1979 when the Shah left the country.
The Jews were facing an uncertain future. Mehdi and Pari were happy that their children were settled and living safe and fulfilling lives. Nevertheless, they missed them terribly. The family was very close-knit and Mehdi and Pari missed the day-to-day contact and celebration of milestones. They decided that the time had come to travel to the US for a visit. This was not a small deal. In order to travel, they needed exit visas. Pari and Mehdi submitted the necessary forms and waited for a response. They were disappointed when they were informed that their application had been denied. They waited a bit and tried again. Once again, their application was denied. Over the course of four years, they applied several times, and their request was denied each time. Pari was becoming discouraged. Would she ever see her children again? Would she ever be able to even meet her grandchildren? Her longing for her family only increased over time.
One night when Pari was feeling particularly despondent, her late father came to her in a dream. “Pari,” he said. “I see you are so sad. Why are you crying?” he asked. In her dream, Pari explained that she desperately wanted to visit her children and grandchildren but she was stuck. No matter how hard she tried, she was unable to obtain the necessary exit visas for herself and her husband. “Don’t worry,” her father replied. “You will see your children.” Pari’s father then gave her detailed instructions about how to get a visa. He instructed her to go to a certain address in Tehran that she had never heard of. She should go up to the second floor of the building, walk to the end of the corridor, and ask for Mr. Amini*. She should tell Mr. Amini that she is Youness’s daughter (Youness is Yochanan in Persian) and he will help her.
Pari woke up feeling enveloped by the loving presence of her father. She was relieved to finally have a plan for how to get the sought-after visas. She also knew that it would not be easy to convince her husband to go along with this plan. When she told Mehdi about her dream and about her wish to go to the office her father had suggested, he laughed. He agreed that it was a heartwarming conversation, but it was just a dream. They had never even heard of such a street. He didn’t see the point in going through all the effort.”
Pari expected this reaction but was not ready to give up so fast. “What do we have to lose?” she asked. “Worst comes to worst, we will have traveled to the office for nothing. But if my father was right…” Mehdi couldn’t really argue with that logic. And besides, he knew his wife was determined to follow through on her father’s advice. Arguing with her would get him nowhere. Mehdi and Pari hopped into a cab and asked to be taken to the street that they believed did not actually exist. The cab driver knew exactly where to go!
The taxi dropped them off at a small street located in downtown Tehran. The sign on the building identified it as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Archives. Hmmm. Interesting. The sign further indicated that the office does not serve the public. Puzzled yet hopeful, they entered the building and asked the receptionist for Mr. Amini’s office. They were told to take the elevator to the second floor, walk to the end of the corridor and enter the office to the left. Mehdi’s eyes opened wide. He looked at his wife in disbelief as her expression mirrored his. Could it be? Were they hearing correctly? They followed the receptionist’s instructions and walked to the end of the corridor, entered the office, and asked to speak with Mr. Amini. The clerk sitting at the desk informed them that Mr. Amini did work in that office but he was on vacation. He then asked them why they came to the office. Pari broke down and emotionally explained that they desperately wanted to visit their children and grandchildren living in the United States but had been repeatedly denied exit visas. She explained that her father had come to her in a dream and directed her to this office. The clerk was an idealistic young man who had just returned from the United States with a mission to help his country and his fellow countrymen. He was very sympathetic and told them that they should not worry. He would help them. He ordered their file which was archived in the basement of the same building to be brought to his office. He opened the file and verified that the applications were indeed completed by Mehdi and Pari. While looking over the documents, he noticed that they had answered “Yes” to a few questions where “No” should have been marked instead. The compassionate clerk erased what they had written and marked the application with the correct answers. The clerk asked them to return in one week to pick up their visas! Mehdi and Pari were ecstatic. They were also speechless! Her father had been right! It was a miracle! When Hashem wants something to happen, He has His ways!
Mehdi and Pari returned to the office one week later and left with their exit visas in hand. They were happily reunited with their children in Los Angeles a short time later, and eventually, they moved there as well. Years later, one of their daughters made aliyah with her husband and children. They are my neighbors and they shared this incredible story with me. Otherwise, I don’t think I would actually believe it!