Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

18 Sivan 5760 - June 21, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Help! - A Drama in Real Life
by Menucha Levin

At first, I tried to ignore the early warning symptoms - the sluggishness, bad breath, wheezing and steadily rising temperature. But as the summer continued, these symptoms grew worse and I began to suspect the patient was truly ill and clearly needed treatment. I phoned one of the top specialists in the field who still makes house calls. Better yet, he lives in our neighborhood and his son is friends with mine. But even this protekzia didn't help much - there were cases more serious than ours that got priority rights.

Finally, one evening, the specialist arrived, black bag in hand. But why did he have to pick the middle of dinner hour, when the kitchen was at its peak of messiness? Surreptitiously kicking some of the clutter under the table (in lieu of a rug) and sweeping the kids out the kitchen, I welcomed him in and indicated his patient. In typical fashion, he poked, probed and prodded in ominous silence while I anxiously awaited his verdict. My heart sank when he told me the chilling news I had already suspected. The illness was, indeed, serious, possibly terminal.

"I'll do my best, but I don't know if it'll help," he said coolly.

Oy vey! My poor fridge was dying...

Though it was an old appliance, it had served us faithfully for a very long time. I recalled the Shabbos and Yom Tov foods it had sheltered over the years. Even when crammed to the gills so its door barely shut, it had never complained.

Its familiar humming had always kept me company as I worked in the kitchen. More than just an appliance, it was also the family bulletin board, a display center for photos, cartoons, the kids' artwork, perfect tests and the home of my eclectic hobby-collection of fridge magnets. My favorite was, "Don't ever question your wife's judgment. Look who she married!"

Long familiar with our fridge's quirks and pecularities, the thought of acquiring and getting used to a new model, a new heartbeat in the kitchen, was overwhelming. But I had to face reality. It had survived the winter and had seen us safely through another Pesach, but now in the summer heat, it was barely able to keep food cool anymore and the freezer section was totally kaput. We'd already adjusted our diets and omitted frozen foods. Milk was bought daily. Important leftovers were given sanctuary by kindhearted neighbors. Ice cream and parve frozen desserts for Shabbos were just a fond memory and we had to make do with cake alone.

The specialist worked for hours, trying to prolong the life of our ailing appliance. But however successful he may have been, we realize that its days are numbered.


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