Dei'ah Vedibur - Information &

A Window into the Chareidi World

27 Kislev 5766 - December 28, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Home and Family

Happy Birthday, Happy Chanuka
a story by Tzipie Wolner

I leaned forward. "Will he be frum?"

Yael shrugged. "Doesn't really matter."

"Fine, but when you're miserable, don't you dare come to me with your complaints. I won't be interested." I was fuming.

Yael caught onto my fury until she herself was piping hot. She yelled that she would not come to my house and that all I did was tell her how to live her life and she had enough of that. And on and on and on it went.

By the end of the night, she left in a huff and I shut the door behind her with a thud.

All those hours and days and years of nonstop encouragement, of listening and helping work her issues through. All the hours that I stole from my husband and children so that I could comfort her and hold her hand. All the heartache that I experienced when times were tough to her . . . I let those tears come out and didn't even want them to stop. Finally, I wiped my eyes and stood up. I stood limply by the couch, and I whispered, "I failed."

I sat down there all night and cried my heart out.

The next morning, I dialed Yael's number. She didn't answer. I left her a message. She didn't return my call. Over the next weeks, I tried calling her every day, yet never received an answer.

Succos came. I thought maybe Yael would stop by to wish me a gut Yom Tov. She didn't. Routine set in. Chanukah was around the corner. I remembered the Chanukah birthday parties I used to make for Yael.

Chanukah arrived, with the peace and beauty that the lit candles stirred anew every year. I watched the dancing lights and felt the tears sting my eyes. I quickly turned away and headed for the kitchen.

I peeled potatoes for a batch of latkes. I was cracking the eggs when I heard a knock on the door. My husband opened the door. I heard his hearty greeting, then with a smile he came to call me. I was stunned to see Yael standing awkwardly by the door. She smiled, then came to hug me.

"Come, let's sit on the couch," I invited her, suddenly realizing how much I missed talking to her. We sat and spoke for hours. The Chanukah spell was still effective, I noticed. She was so open and positive. When we both yawned, I walked her to the door.

We stood by the open door for a few minutes, the cold air chilling our bodies but not getting into our hearts.

"Ahh, I almost forgot, happy birthday!"

She laughed then revealed. "I came today because I missed you. I also came to tell you that I am engaged."

I tensed up.

Yael saw my expression. She poked me in the ribs and said, "I won't tell you who he is. I'll bring him over tomorrow."

That night was probably the most nerve wracking night in my history.

Yael came over before candle lighting. The latkes were already fried up and the table was set. She walked in with her fiance. All the tension and pain of the past few months melted away. He was frum; my goodness, he was really frum!

I learned one very important lesson from Yael. One can never know the effects of one's words and actions. I had tried to do the most I could and Hashem made the rest fall into place. Even when I believed that I had failed.


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