Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Shevat 5766 - February 15, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Gita Gordon

Serializing a new novel.

Chapter 13: Mir Yeshiva (April 2001)

Dean-Daniel has been accepted by Rav Dov into the Mir Yeshiva if he agrees to learn with a young man who needs a supportive chavrusa. He has made remarkable progress while living with Rav Dov's brother-in-law who suffered a stroke.

Part 2

In this way Daniel entered Mir. His chavrusa was a young man who did everything at a slow relaxed pace. He very rarely came up with original thoughts or striking insights. However, he had a vast knowledge of the Chumash that he could quote from unerringly, at just the right moment. He had a beautiful reading voice. When he read out the piece they were about to study that day it sounded like poetry.

Daniel found that they complemented each other. When he found something original to say he had an attentive and admiring listener. On the other hand, the great gaps in his knowledge were quietly filled in for him, in a manner that was helpful and without a hint of condescension.

The only problem that arose was one he hadn't anticipated. While he had worked with the old man in Bnei Brak his days had been long and tiring, filled with the physical activity that is a part of caring for someone ill and not totally mobile. When nightfall came he slept soundly and then woke early, and immediately went to see if he was needed. Not only had he slept well, but also his days were too busy to find time to think and wonder about the future.

His worries about his parents had communicated themselves to the man he had cared for and his troubles were immediately shared. One morning they went together to a small shul, quite a distance from where he was based. When questioned about this he had been told, "We are going to a special man, a great man. You will tell him about your worries."

The result of the meeting had been that now each day, after davening, he had begun to say special Tehillim suggested by the famous rabbi. Saying them calmed him. The rabbi had assured him they would safeguard his parents. His calm demeanor had discounted fears that it was too late for such actions. In Bnei Brak everything had seemed possible. Now, in a strange new environment, doubts and fears once more crept into his mind.

He found he didn't sleep well at night. So late, after learning, he would go for a long walk around Meah Shearim. Yet still his sleep was restless and disturbed. He would wake in the early morning when the sky was still dark and think once more of that day when he had fled from New York.

One morning he woke early, just as the sun was rising, when a soft gray light overtook the night blackness. Instead of tossing and turning in his bed, he got up and peered out. In the street below a few figures made their way purposefully down the street. Dressing quickly he went outside and followed and so began to daven with an early minyan. It was too early to return to yeshiva, so he walked around the cool gray streets, enjoying the fresh early morning air.

This became his daily routine. It was on one of these walks that he saw an old man open his grocery shop and begin to drag in the heavy deliveries outside the shop. "Wait. Let me do that for you," Daniel said, matching action to words he pulled the deliveries into the shop.

"Young man, why are you doing this? I can't pay you. I only just make a living here."

Daniel laughed. "Once, long ago, I used to go to a health club and lift weights. It kept me fit. I guess this is as good a way as any of keeping fit. See? You are doing me a favor. You don't even charge me for it like the health club used to!"

The old man gave a wry laugh, but he found that after that morning Daniel always arrived to help him.

In this way Daniel kept himself busy from early in the morning until late at night. In this way he was able to put aside the uncertainty and terror that had dogged him since that morning in New York, when he had feared for his life.

Daniel was afraid to make calls to people in New York, not knowing who was friend and who was foe, and if the call would be used to trace him. At regular intervals Rav Dov made discreet inquiries through acquaintances in New York, but no news of Daniel's parents surfaced.


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