Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Nissan 5765 - April 20, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Home and Family

The two Malachim
by Risa Rotman

Hashem has many malochim roaming this planet and one or two of them just might be your neighbors.

Let's get to the real story. Morning routines in my house are probably not much different than any large family. There are kids to wake. Sandwiches to spread, little ones to dress, diapers to change, orders to give out (Brush Your Teeth! Make Your Bed! Clean Up That Mess! Eat Your Breakfast! You're Late! Have a nice day!). Sometimes I'm fortunate to have a few minutes of help from my husband but often he's flying out of the house on to his day's activities. In between helping the kids, I try to get in a load of laundry, wipe down the bathrooms and maybe even make my own bed. The pace can be manic but we mostly muddle through and the bulk of the kids are out on time with breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, sandwiches in place, beds almost made and rooms somewhat tidied up.

Then we come to Miri... A delicous four-year-old who: is the first to learn the new gan song, has a great repertoire of made up stories, and the absolutely largest cheeks you ever saw. (I have the pictures to prove it). In other words, the epitome of cuteness, however...she moves sooo slowly. Think molasses.

Miri is a lady of leisure, a princess; she revels in late night heady tete-a-tetes with her vast collection of dollies, an extra drink here or there, reviewing and reviewing her picture books onto all hours; well, you get the idea. Late nights follow through with late mornings to catch up on her beauty sleep, of course. There is only one thing that clashes with this preferred lifestyle and that is me, her impossible mother who insists on Early to Bed and Early to Rise.

By the time all the kids are on their way, I'm ready to tackle Miri. "Miri, time to get up. Let's say Modeh Ani," I start off gently. In a good case, no response will be forthcoming at all. Often it can be a less pleasant affair with kicking and screaming. I continue to conjole her through her morning routine.

"Let's get dressed, Miri. No, I'm afraid I'll need that foot now in order to put on the sock. Yes, you can stay under the blanket. Now we'll do your hair. Yes, I really do have to check your hair. You don't want buggies do you?" So, it goes, the shoes, some breakfast, jacket and backpack. Finally, finally Miri and I've made it to the elevator along with her little brother aged two-and-a-half and baby sister aged six months. Whew!

Now the fun really starts. The walk to gan is honestly a bit long for an average four-year-old. It would take most adults about six minutes at a normal speed. The two-and-a- half year-old loves it. He gets to look at the birdies, the cars, trucks and buses — the wonder of it all. Oh to be two years old! But Miri's beyond all that.

She's been there, seen that already. She is clearly not impresssed and so getting her moving and keeping her moving in her tired state can be quite challenging. "Let's keep walking. Don't sit on the sidewalk. It's time to get to gan," I'll repeat ad nauseum. Even when we finally get to the gan, Miri can sit down right in front and refuse to go in until I physically bring her in. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I'm not always so calm and can even become far more harsh than I would want.

One day, I took a hard look at the situation. True, at times I wonder if my blood pressure at the end of all of this hasn't reached something like 190 over 100. It can't be so pleasant for Miri, either. As I alluded, Miri is somewhere at the bottom middle of a rather large family. If I have this opportunity to spend some time with her every morning, shouldn't I try to utilize it ? I should make an effort to talk to her about the things that interest her, give her that TLC she probably needs. Don't we all? So my mind was set.

I would force myself to remain calm and pleasant and make the most of our time together..

The test was on. To spice things up, it was less than two weeks to Pesach, when my time was even more pressured. Miri was being true to herself, overtired and not overanxious to get to gan. I was beginning to panic and then I remembered my resolution.

I picked her off the sidewalk and held her hand tightly, somewhat dragging her along, and started to ask her what she knew about the seder: "Kadesh, Urchatz..." I began to chant. Miri was clearly not cooperating, but then my malochim came — in the guise of my two neighbors, Mrs. Gold and Mrs. Sand, one who lived to the right of my building and one who lived to the left. They were coming back from their early morning chesed of crossing the neighborhood kids at the busy intersection.

In her quick assessment of the situation, Mrs. Sand offered to help me get the kids to gan. I told her it's too much of a shlep and not to bother. Suddenly, Mrs Gold piped up. Mrs. Gold, aside from almost being old enough to be my mother, is a very proper Brittish matron with protocol and all that.

"Miri", she said sweetly to my daughter, "how about if you go to my house and clean for Pesach and I'll go off to your gan? I would just love to play in gan today." Surprising myself, without missing a beat, I took Mrs. Gold's hand and said "Come Mrs. Gold, let's go off to gan." Not knowing what to make of this, Miri got off the sidewalk and took my hand. Some few minutes later after digesting it all, Miri commented,"Mrs. Gold can't go to gan. She doesn't know Hebrew."

I didn't bother to argue the point. I was too busy being grateful that two malochim came and saved the day.


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