Simchas Torah. Men swaying as they finish davening
maariv and then... they begin to bring out the Sifrei
Torah. Each one more exquisite than the next. Each crowned
with delicate swirls of dark yellow gold. Four clad in blue
velvet with ruby gems, four with deep burdundy trappings with
fine silver fringes. Now my husband is being given my
favorite, the smallest, a singular pure white Sefer Torah
with intricate gold leaves in a graceful circle around the
center of its robe. Sparkling emeralds leave me feeling in
awe of its perfection. I could look at it all day! I can't
wait for my husband to come close enough to the women's
section so that my little boy and I can steal a kiss and I
can feel its silky smooth softness.
Before the dancing even begins, I notice a rather unpleasant
odor arising from my toddler standing next to me. I moan,
quickly head towards the exit, then home to take care of this
little fellow of mine. But I long to stay...
An hour later, I come back with a clean, well-fed child.
They're up to the last hakofa. I settle myself down
with Benny and look anxiously for `my' Sefer Torah. There it
is, in all its splendor! So beautiful. So lovely. The dancing
is about to begin, again.
"Mommy, my ear hurts." I look down at my five-year- old
Sorele. Her cheeks are flushed. Her eyes are glazed. "I want
to go home, Mommy." I gaze once more at the satiny white
treasure in the center of the dancing. "I didn't get to kiss
it," I think to myself resentfully. "And I'll never have the
z'chus to hold a Sefer Torah." A pang of jealousy
sweeps through my innards. Why do I have to be responsible
for the constant baby care? The continuous "Mommy! I want..."
"Mommy! Give me..." Hardly a moment to myself. Even when I
try to daven minimally, I get interrupted
Sorele's pulling on my hand. Minutes later, I inch my way
homeward with Benny pulling on my skirt and Sorele sniffling
by my side. I sigh. The singing, the dancing, the Sifrei
Torah, all vanish behind me. Soon Eli and Shmuel join us,
sand in their hair and shoes. At home, I give Sorele Tylenol
and lay her in her bed with her favorite doll. I go into the
kitchen and make the boys pekelach. They run out, back
to shul. Or is it back to the sandbox?
Benny and I are now left alone. I would love to go back to
shul, but hakofos are definitely over. Anyway, I can't
leave Sorele alone. I can see why women are exempt from most
of the mitzvos revolving around the shul.
I watch Benny as he sits on the floor looking at his
tzaddikim album. Such a lovely child. I lean over to
caress his silky peach-soft skin. I gaze lovingly, reverently
at his china-white complexion set off by deep green eyes like
sparkling gems. His small head crowned with blonde ringlets --
delicate swirls of gold topped with blue velvet. The smallest
in the family, and in some ways, my favorite. It amazes me
how Hashem creates such perfection, such promise, in these
beautiful miniature people. I could look at him all day!
I think of the exquisite white Sefer Torah that I so longed
to touch, just half an hour before, and I lift my baby, my
very own living Jewish treasure, and I hold him and kiss him.
All the resentment seems to have vanished behind me. I sway
gently with Benny encompassed closely in my arms and I