Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Av 5760 - August 9, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family

Many years ago, the FAMILY section inaugurated a column of occasional stories depicting the positive, upbeat, inspirational side of life in Yerushalayim, which was -- and still is -- called "Urei Betuv Yerusholayim." We would like to extend this idea to include another aspect of seeing the good -- seeing the good in the so-called simple folk, those proverbial `pomegranate seeds' with which our people's Family Tree is filled.

In this season of promoting ahavas chinom, an overriding love for our fellow Jew of every stripe, an affinity for our own brethren, we hope that the love will spill over and draw them closer to the true Torah way of life, through the reflection of love from heart to heart.

Here are the first two submissions. We hope that they will evoke a strong response of similar type stories, of wholesomeness, purity, pintele Yid, temimus, even from children -- and stir up a genuine love that will encompass us all and rise all the way to the Heavenly Throne to evoke the Ultimate love for Klal Yisroel.


SHE SAT DOWN NEXT TO ME on the bus, a familiar face, even though I only saw her once a month.

"So when is your Rosh Chodesh sale this month? Rosh Chodesh is two days, you know." Boy, did we know. Rosh Chodesh at Beged Yad Leyad was a free-for-all, market day, when even the poorest of the poor came with a few coins and knew exactly how many items they could buy -- since EVERYTHING was for a shekel on Rosh Chodesh.

This brainstorm came directly from Heaven. It was like a purge for the clothing gemach, since we knew that (almost) anything that was left after a shekel sale, would not sell for two or three shekels afterwards. And so we cleared away lots of detritus, read: junk, from the shelves, racks and floors! after Rosh Chodesh and began again, discovering in the process why some of the items we had thought should sell, didn't. They invariably had a stain we hadn't noticed, a broken zipper or a rip somewhere etc.

Temima, we will call my seatmate, settled down, and beamed at me. She had a bronzed, good-natured face that always beamed, but now she pointed to her two- piece outfit and raised her eyebrows significantly. "Very nice!" I complimented her. "It's from a recent Rosh Chodesh sale," she announced proudly. "Everything I wear, and what most of my children and grandchildren get, is from your Rosh Chodesh sales!" Well, this was news. I knew that many people eliminated clothing costs from their budget because they found it, at some time or other, at some gemach at negligible prices. But that they could make it from Rosh Chodesh sales alone was good news!

"It's not that we are very poor," she continued. Temima, a woman in her sixties, had always worked hard, even as a child, when she had immigrated with her family. Circumstances had not allowed her to get an education and she remained virtually illiterate. "But I do know the value of money and have always worked. Even now, I still go three times a week to do cleaning. And do you know what I do with the money?"

I shook my head. "Over the years I have saved up enough to buy a sefer Torah! All by myself!"

A woman who doesn't know an alef from a tof -- but knows the value of every letter, for which she scrimped and saved, each one, to acquire her share in Toras Moshe! If letters deserved crowns, she certainly did, too! I couldn't help thinking. Mindboggling...

Epilogue: She showed up on Rosh Chodesh, sure enough, but an hour late. "I volunteer in geriatrics in Shaarei Zedek, and I wouldn't miss out on that. But I went early, fed my people, and here I am..."

Like I said, full of POMEGRANATE SEEDS.


And another Pomegranate Seed story. I imagine you could come up with many involving cab drivers.

Three sisters, one visiting from the U.S., went by cab to Har Hamenuchos to pay their respects to their parents buried there. As they rode, they caught up on family news in English. When they reached their destination, the cabbie quoted an outrageous price.

"Nothing doing," said one sister. "I live here and come to the cemetery frequently. I know how much it costs and that's what I'm paying." And she did.

A few minutes later, she suddenly discovered that she had left her purse behind in the cab. She rushed down in the hope of still finding the cab driver and, luckily, she met him panting his way up the hill with the purse, looking for her.

Very grateful, she took out some money -- a sum she figured to be halfway between what she had paid and what he had asked her. He refused to accept it.

"Geveret, business is business; sometimes I win, sometimes not. But returning lost property is a MITZVA, and you're not going to take my MITZVA away from me!"

A secular cabbie, without a kipa, but with a good Jewish heart!

It's your turn, now, readers. We meant it when we said we don't mind handwritten submissions if they are legible. Address: Weinbach, Panim Meirot 1, Jerusalem. FAX 02-538- 7998.


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