They sat in a semi-circle on the withering grass watching
their children play in the harsh light of the early
afternoon. The heat was rising around them in unforgiving
swirls of dust. Their words and movements became slower as
they wiped noses, filled sippy cups and mediated sand box
fights. Suddenly, Shiroh looked up at the tired faces around
"Let's play a game." She suggested. Her friends looked up in
"We'll go around in a circle and each of us will say what we
would change if we had the power to change anything we
wanted." A languid sigh escaped from Kayla who reached a hand
up to fix her kerchief.
"That's an easy question for me." Kayla laughed. "I would
change my weight. Take off all the pounds gained from these
kids." She gestured towards her three little ones playing on
the swings. Hendy took a sip from her water bottle and looked
thoughtfully at the still, drooping branches of the tree
"I would change our finances. I wouldn't want to be rich,
just comfortable. Then we could have a car. And a bigger
apartment. And we would never have to worry about the grocery
bill." Hendy's voice tapered off as she noticed her friends'
awkward silence. Had she divulged too much? But then Elisheva
scrunched up her freckled nose the way she did when she was
nervous and lowered her pale, gray eyes.
"I would change Yael's health. Make her into a normal,
healthy child. No more occupational therapy, physical
therapy, speech therapy, harried trips to the doctor and the
pharmacy. I would make it all go away." They all stared for a
moment at Yael, the petite four-year-old who was straining to
pour sand from one bucket into another. She lifted her long,
black eyelashes as she turned towards them under the burden
of their stares. With a sandy, pudgy hand, she waved to her
mother. Elisheva's eyes filled with tears. Why was she so
intent on changing her little girl? Gila broke the tension by
handing an apple to her son and announcing:
"I would resolve Rachel's shidduch problems. I would
have her find her zivug right away." They all thought
for a moment about Gila's youngest sister who had been dating
for three years already. Shiroh rubbed her eyes which were
becoming heavy from the heat.
"You know what I just realized?" She began. "We are all so
wrapped up in our own problems that if given the wish to
change anything in the world none of us would choose
redemption. None of us mentioned Moshiach. Not one of us
wished to change our spiritual growth, to get rid of the
obstacles that keep us far from Him."
"It's true," Kayla agreed. "Look how small-minded we are."
"Maybe," Gila suggested.,"if we could change one thing,
perhaps it should be to change what we want."
With that, a few of the children came running over, clamoring
for juice and snacks. The women descended from their lofty
thoughts and felt themselves being pulled back into the
mundane narrowness of the day. But somewhere inside each of
them, a tiny spark fought to live. Now they each longed to
want redemption. They wanted to climb beyond themselves. And
as a sudden breeze cooled their faces, they fed their
children and realized that each of their wishes did matter.
They were all part of the journey towards the final
redemption. And if they yearned to yearn for more, then at
least they had begun.