Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

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









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family
Moving -- or -- All For the Best
by S. G.

It was quite a shock. One morning, our landlord called us and said they were planning to sell the apartment we rented, the one we had been living in for the last twelve years. It took me quite a while to digest the information. Israelis who live in rented apartments don't usually consider them home. Home is a place you pay for (dearly) and can then fix up any way you want. And best of all, no one in the world can evict you from there. But I grew up in America and after so many years in the same place, we had come to think of our airy bird's nest as home.

I remember so well when we first moved into our top floor apartment with its view of the Jerusalem hills and the highway beyond. At first, the seven story apartment building with its bridge across the middle [four flights up, three below the bridge] had seemed strange. We come from a small town in the south of Israel where we lived in a comfortable private house with a garden bordered by a grove of eucalyptus. The children had grown accustomed to nature and country life and were hesitant to make the move. However, the idea of going to Jerusalem appealed to all of us, especially since most of our family lived there and we would be within walking distance on Shabbos. Still, it had taken time, but with the years, our apartment in the sky grew on us (and with us) and as the children matured and married, it become like a second home to the new couples. Shabbos, Yom Tov and simchas of all kinds were celebrated in that three room apartment which seemed to stretch according to need.

For some reason, my kitchen, small as it was, became the favorite gathering place for everyone. With its stunning view of the Jerusalem hills and Kever Shmuel Hanovi, no one noticed that there was practically no room to turn around in. Coffee, cake, tea, sandwiches and whole meals were happily dispensed and consumed in that bright airy space. Couples and children sat around Friday night after the seuda and latecomers would join them for animated talks.

Now it was time to change homes again. The owners wanted to sell as soon as possible and had already put ads in the papers. Every day another group of apartment hunters would walk through our home. Mostly they counted floor tiles (standard size, with twenty centimeters to each, five to a meter) and some of them actually looked up to check out walls, ceilings and plumbing. This went on for several weeks until the apartment was finally sold. Then the new owners announced that they would take over right away, and could we please hurry up and find a place to move to, the sooner the better.

Now it was our turn to scout around looking for another place to live. Although everyone kept telling me that b'ezrat Hashem we would find a better apartment, I couldn't help feeling that we would have a hard time getting one which suited us so well. I never knew there were so many odd looking apartments around. Some of them seemed to have been built without a thought for human comfort: enormous living rooms and tiny bedrooms, high floors without elevators, tiny kitchens with miniature counters (and I thought my kitchen was small), high windows and rooms without.

I began to appreciate the ones which seemed designed for normal human living. We finally found it! A decent looking flat on the second floor -- normal sized kitchen (bigger than the previous one) with two sinks, decent living room, porches, nice layout, no stunning view but trees in the back and a pleasant street in the front. Of course, it was more expensive and I would have to work overtime to make ends meet (do they ever, I wonder?). But mostly, I was pleased that the rooms could accommodate guests without cramping.

We took it, moved in and now I realize how, in spite of my original misgivings, with Hashem's help everything really turned out for the best. The new apartment suits us better and after several weeks, we are finally starting to feel that we belong here.


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