Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Sivan 5766 - May 31, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Gita Gordon

Serializing a new novel.

Chapter 22: Brooklyn, May 2002 — Part 1

Fay and Eli are back in New York City, after months and months in the Amazon jungle. Someone is clearly out to kill them, and they are hiding — but they do not know from whom.


"What have you managed to find out?" said Eli to David who sat opposite him at the simple kitchen table of the apartment. They had been living in Eli's father's old apartment for a month.

They had limited their contacts to the outside world with a call to Maurice, their lawyer, from the public phone box. They were suspicious of everyone, even Maurice. Who else had known the precise moment they would step into their apartment?

However, they both trusted David. Eli had always been astounded that David, by far the cleverest boy in his class at school, had remained in the old neighborhood running his father's clothing store. He had never gone to university. He had never expanded the business. He had continued to run the store and mind his business and go to shul, as if America and all her opportunities for advancement were not there. Now Eli was more than grateful that his old friend was there, his one link to the outside world.

Yet through all the years, they had kept in contact. It was David to whom Eli had gone when he found he could not face breaking up his parent's apartment, sending off the simple furniture and books and kitchenware so that the apartment was bare, empty of all their possessions. It was David who had suggested he continue paying the rent and allow it to be used by those in need. It was David who had supplied them with clothing and taken them to the apartment and then listened carefully to all they had told him, without interrupting.

David had taken Eli to shul and casually introduced him as Eli Levy. Everyone had accepted him as a poor Jew in trouble, making use of the apartment of old Mr. Barchevsky, as so many others had done. They tactfully refrained from asking any questions.

Eli and Fay once again took up the old life they had once led. They appreciated it in a way that was quite new to them. In the old days, as newlyweds when they had taken everything for granted, they had not noticed things.

Now, each time they bought a bottle of kosher wine, they felt a deep thankfulness. They marveled at the beauty of the twisted Havdoloh candle. They treated every book brought to them, whether siddur, or machzor, or Chumash, with awe. What would they not have given for just one such book in those long months in the jungle.


Each time David visited them he asked questions about their ordeal. Today was no different. "When did you hire that new assistant, Fred Smith? When did you first receive an offer for a merger with the other large supermarket chain? Why did you reject it?

"You spoke to me about two men going to Maurice and offering him a piece of paper with your signature for an agreement of the merger. You said to me that Maurice told you about this the first time he spoke to you, while you were still in Brazil. What was the date on the agreement for the takeover that was presented to Maurice? Why didn't he accept it? Why wasn't this refusal challenged in a law court? Had anything ever appeared in the papers?"

It was late at night when David left them. He said, "In my shop we sell to poor people. They clean offices. They work as waiters. They look after other people's children. People forget their presence. They talk in front of them as if they didn't exist. When they buy from me they like to know they are people, not robots just there to serve others. They talk all the time — of what they do, and what people say, and how they feel. Usually I just listen. Now I am going to ask some questions.

"Meanwhile, you must be patient. It is clear that there are those who want to harm you. Stay here in safety until matters become clear."

David started towards the door. Then he turned back. He had noticed that Eli and Fay were observing the traditions they had discarded. Perhaps it was time to once again take up old links, from the days when Eli had been his chavrusa. "How about learning some Torah each day with me, like when we were kids?" he said.

Eli readily agreed. Now, when David came each day after work, Eli learned with David, but not one word about the present situation was discussed. If David was asked he would say, "I am working on it. It is like the jigsaw puzzles we did when we were small. You remember? We got them secondhand, cheap, without the boxes, so we didn't know till they were done what the picture would be. At the moment I have a lot of different pieces of information, but until I am able to put them together I have no idea of what they mean."

"We must participate in doing something to find our son," Eli said one day.

"You come to shul and daven. Fay says Tehillim. That is what is important for you to do. If there is any way that I receive information that needs your expertise I will tell you immediately," was David's reply.

He was reluctant to say that he had discovered that once Thomas received the money for a contract killing he was relentless in his pursuit of the victim. All signs seemed to indicate that Eli and Fay and their son Dean had been the intended targets. David was pushing himself relentlessly to discover what had happened to Dean, so that he could bring the young man to safety, to live temporarily in the small apartment where his parents were, but so far he had met with failure.

It took some time before David was ready to discuss matters with them. However, at last that day arrived. David told them he had managed to find out something about the cause of their problems. They listened as David told them the result to his many hours of inquiry.


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