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
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
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-