Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

16 Tammuz 5766 - July 12, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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











Home and Family

If I Could Change Something . . .

by Sara Gutfreund

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 her.

"Let's play a game." She suggested. Her friends looked up in surprise.

"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 above them.

"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.


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