What was a bottle of nail polish doing on the table at the
clothing gemach in Kiryat Mattersdorf?
Screenplay: N = narrator, M = Mohr, V = volunteer, Time:
Right before Rosh Hashonah
N: She flitted in like a sweet-young-thing-butterfly, long
skirt flowing around her, and immediately made herself at
V1: Hello, looks like your first time here, right?
M: Hi! I'm Mohr; this is my first time here. I'm a fresh
baalas tshuvah studying nearby. I have nothing to
wear, that is, nothing suitable except this skirt they lent
me, so they told me to come to your gemach.
What a nice place you have here. I didn't expect it to be so
. . . so organized!
N: She gazes around, wide-eyed, kicks off her shoes, and
starts trying on clothing, shoes, accessories. Looks like
she's having a great time.
M: looking down: I love these shoes, but my mother hates
them. I can see her point, actually, because they really are
all scuffed in the front, but they're soooo comfy. I guess it
would be kibud eim to buy myself a new, I mean,
another, pair. You have some selection here!
N: She plops down on the ground and begins trying a few
pairs, gets restless, and goes into the other room to the
mirror, still in her stockinged-feet, to try on a jumper.
A volunteer in the other room: But, Mohr! That jumper is much
too short! And the waist is high. It was meant for someone
much smaller and shorter than you.
M: Oh, you don't know? The layered look is back in fashion.
You wear a skirt underneath and this becomes like . . . oh
V2: Hmmm! You're right. Looking at it that way, with your
skirt underneath, it does look rather cute on you.
N: Mohr spends the next hour absorbing the pleasant
atmosphere of our gemach. Rebbetzin Kahane comes in,
all ninety years of her, accompanied by her daughter, to fold
shirts. Who at our busy establishment has time to button them
down and fold them as lovingly as this sweet lady does whose
eyesight is weak, and hearing perhaps even weaker, and who
loves to keep busy and useful even at her age.
V1: shouting: Good morning, Rebbetzin. What a lovely way to
end the year, with mitzvos! We have lots of work for
V1 (to the general public): Last night, a bunch of yeshiva
boys came in and made a mess of the shirts, bless them,
looking for the right size. But ever since the Rebbetzin
began coming to volunteer, we don't mind a bit. It makes her
M: Wow! She's a volunteer, too? This sure says a lot
for the chareidi public. They told me you people do a
tremendous amount of chessed.
V1: You know, Mohr, tomorrow we have our Rosh Chodesh sale
and everything will be going for one and two shekels. Maybe
you should wait until then before a major purchase?
M: You've got a point, there. But there are some things I
don't want to miss out on. O.K. so now I've got to get my act
together. I'll take this jumper and that skirt and... Hey,
where are my shoes?
V3: What shoes?
M. The ones I came in with. Didn't you see them? They were
burgundy flats and very comfortable.
V3: Not that I remember. Let's look by the shoes.
N: Soon half a dozen people are looking for Mohr's shoes! A
`Rabbi Binyomin segulah' said very painstakingly for
Mohr's benefit and education does not come up with the
V3: Look, if you can't find them, you can take any other pair
here; you can even have a pair from the new ones that came in
M: These aren't bad. I'm sure my mother would be thrilled if
I got new-new shoes. Listen, I'll take these, but I still
want my old scuffed ones. I have a personal attachment to
them, you know.
V3: Look, I'll put up a sign for the next shift. If they find
them, they'll put them aside in the closet for you. Now give
me an exact description:
N: Volunteer 3 begins writing on a clean sheet of paper:
LOST, A PAIR OF . . .
What did they look like, again, Mohr?
M: They were burgundy flats, size 38, and very scuffed in the
front . . .
V3: Ooops! I do believe I threw them out. They did look
pretty awful and we wouldn't have put them out for our
customers for sale. Let's see if the garbage is still
N: Sure enough, she fishes out a pair of very scuffed but
wearable burgundy flats.
V3: I can see why your mother wanted you to get rid of them,
Mohr. But maybe there's something we can do for them. Let's
see. We only have black shoepolish here.
Hey! What's this? Nail polish? What in the world is that
doing here? Well, why don't we give it a try. Here, I'll
apply a drop with the brush.
M: Looks real neat.
N: Volunteer spills some polish from the bottle onto the
shoe, takes an odd sock out of the garbage, wets it a little,
and begins smearing the polish all over the shoe. Then she
goes to the other one.
V3: How's that! Better than new, I say! I'm sure your mother
will be thrilled.
M: Well, I'm overwhelmed. Here I am, leaving the
gemach with an old-new pair of shoes and a new-new
pair, too. I'll pay for these, at least, now that I've found
my own. And I've also gained a mitzvah to make my
mother happy! And, yes, what was it you said, to find them?
It worked! Let me write it down.
N: Volunteer 3 writes down the words of the R' Binyomin
segulah, hands it to Mohr and adds:
V: And you've got a great story of Hashgochah Pratis
to tell at the seminary in the bargain! But you'll be back
tomorrow, won't you?
M: You can be sure of that!
V: Anyway, have a good year, Mohr. All the best! May your way
to tshuvah be strewn with roses and myrrh [mohr].
M: Thanks so much. I'm so grateful!
V3: And may you marry a future Ad-Mor in the coming year!