Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Teves 5762 - December 19, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family
Shalom Bayis
by Chavie Dumas

Right before dinner last night the light bulb in the bathroom blew out. There was no chance to change it with hungry, tired children in need of my full attention. I just turned on the hallway light and ran back to the kitchen to pour cornflakes and heat up Shabbos leftovers. The babies were crying, the milk was spilling, the table top was gooey, the phone was ringing and suddenly, I see my seven-year-old standing before me, holding the fragile burnt out bulb. He must have removed the glass covering and unscrewed it by himself.

"Here, Ima," he offered it to me. "It's no good anymore. See, the wire isn't connected."

And then he looked straight into my eyes and asked, "Can I put in a new one?"

I wanted to say "NO!" I almost even said, "Please don't touch the light bulbs. You'll break them!" But something inside me made me stop and instead, look at him gratefully and say, "That would be great. Here, let me just see what number wattage it is."

I peered at the bulb in my hand and found a tiny white number frosted on it. "100," I called to my son, who was already up on the stool looking in the cupboard for the right one. "Is this good?" he asked, showing me the small blue cardboard box with the number 100 written on it.

"Yes, and please be careful," I answered, and he skipped off, happy that I had entrusted him with this job he had never done before. Later that night, when my husband was getting ready to retire, he commented, "You put a very bright bulb in the bathroom today, didn't you?"

"We put in the same one that was there before. I checked the number on the bulb and it said `100'."

"Well, it's definitely brighter than the one before."

"But I told you," I started to sound shrill. "I looked right at it and we put in the same one as before!"

"But it's brighter in there now!"


Well, I didn't say another word. There probably isn't anything harder to do for folks like me who were raised in the `modern' West than to admit to a spouse, "You're right, dear." The whole secular upbringing was against that kind of casual giving in. [A person has to stand up for his `right's.]

So, I knew just what to do. Why argue? I went straight to the kitchen to rummage in the garbage bag and pull out the old light bulb and... and... just show him! "How dare he not believe me!" I was thinking to myself, getting all huffed up inside as I pushed aside the various pieces of refuse that lay between me and that old bulb. "Maybe it got crushed," I wondered. Then, with glee, I spotted it, quickly pulled it out, turned it over, and stared at the tiny frosted print. Yes, there was the number, 100, just like I said.

Uh-oh! What's this? Another number was printed on the bulb, besides the one I had seen before. This one clearly had a large W written next to it: 60 W.

"Hmmm... better put this right back in the garbage!" I thought, as I slipped it back into the bag, along with some of my self-righteous steam.


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