Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight


A Window into the Charedi World | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly

















Home and Family
Chanuka cast was so full that this article `fell out'. But its message is always timely, we're sure you'll agree.
The Empyting Cart
by Rifca Goldberg, Tzefas

The supermarket is more crowded than usual today, the Thursday right before Shabbos Chanuka. I jostle with the others trying to get down the aisles, trying to reach each item I need. My shopping cart is getting more and more weighted down. "Yes, I'll get two packages of cornflakes, what with all of the kids home from gan or coming home early." A can of apple juice vies with a can of pineapple in the cramped shopping cart. "Where am I going to put these bags of rice and flour?" Things are being balanced too precariously on this cart. "So very full. Just like my life, baruch Hashem!" I muse to myself. "I better get another cart."

As I wend my way down another aisle, I pass the diapers and I stop. Diapers. The last few weeks have been difficult, but rewarding. My baby, two and eleven months, is now completely toilet trained. And now, is it possible? I don't need to buy diapers this week!

The woman behind me taps me with her cart. "Sorry," I mutter as I continue down the aisle, get a new cart and head towards the vegetables. The heady smell of fresh clementinas and pomellas floats around me. "I need eggplants, carrots, onions, and of course, potatoes for the latkes." This cart, too, is rapidly filling up. I hear a squeak behind me and turn to see a carriage with a newborn baby inside. She's so tiny. So beautiful. I look at her and just want to pick her up. My back aches just thinking of picking up another baby, but my heart aches just thinking of not.

I push my cart to the meat section. "I've paid my dues," I think to myself wryly, as I try to find the turkey shnitzel. Seven kids, one mentally retarded, including twins. My back will never be the same. Neither will my waistline! All the sleepless nights. All the intense hopes, worries and prayers over each child. But still... I didn't buy diapers this week.

Last month, my younger sister came to visit from America. "Here," she said frantically, plopping her five-month- old into my arms. "Hold him for a few minutes, please?" Then she went running to help her one-and-a-half- year-old get untangled from the phone cord and then calm her wailing two- and-a-half-year-old who had tripped over one of the bags of pampers my sister had brought. I felt so thankful that I didn't have that scenario in my life right now. Then a tiny finger wriggled in my hand and I lifted up this small wonderful person, this whole world. With intelligent eyes. I held him close to me - hard. He gasped and then giggled and pulled on my ears. He smelled of dewy softness and gentleness and purity. I didn't mind giving him back to his mother, though. I enjoyed and let go. This seems to be the new focus in my life these days. Knowing that I've enjoyed and knowing that I have to let go.

The rush of people in the store is making me feel claustrophobic. I barely manage to reach a couple of bottles of wine and wedge them in with my groceries. As I head towards the checkout line, I brush against the kipa clips on a stand. Should I buy them? I wonder, touching them gingerly, listening to the metallic clinking through the cellophane wrapper. Maybe I have enough to last four more weeks until his upsherren. On the other hand, these clips get lost so quickly, as if they were disposable. I put the package into my cart. Until now, he's been my baby. Even when he stopped drinking his bottle, he still had his long curls. My baby. Although the diapers are gone, the curls remain. But one more month, only one more month, and the curls will be put in envelopes to send to the grandparents in America. "Don't be melodramatic!" I scold myself. "He'll be just as cuddly and sweet the day after his first haircut as he was the day before it." But it won't be the same. I finally reach the black conveyer belt and begin to relieve my carts of their strained cargo. But one question keeps tugging at my conscious. Why? Why do my overflowing shopping carts seem so empty. Just because I didn't buy diapers this week?


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