Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Sivan 5763 - June 25, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

"And For Your Daily Miracles"
by Anni Rephun Fruchter

Moshe and I were married in December 1946 and lived in Newark, New Jersey. Several years earlier, he had bought a chazoka [franchise] for shechita in a chicken market from a shochet who was retiring.

He worked in the market from 4:30 a.m. until 2:30 in the afternoon, only interrupting himself twice. For shacharis, he went to the shul of an elderly widowed rebbetzin for whom he donated his services as baal tefila and baal korei, which he did on Shabbos as well, after which he would eat the breakfast he took from home -- a thermos of coffee, sandwiches, and fruit. And shortly after noon, he would arrive home for a light lunch.

After he left the market at 2:30, he worked on-call as a sofer, repairing sifrei Torah and inspecting tefillin and mezuzos. In the evening, he studied. My husband was a man with a clearly structured day.

A time came where there was some concern that the chicken market might have to close down. Aside from the potential lost steady income, we faced the loss of our initial $2,000 investment in purchasing the franchise. This added to other financial worries: several shuls were behind in their payments for repairs on their scrolls and we had an unpaid bill at the corner grocery. There were only a few dollars in the house.

It was one morning at this worrisome time that the only food left in the house for Moshe's lunch were two rolls and two eggs.

There was a knock on the back door. I opened it and found a short, shabbily dressed man wearing a sky-blue yarmulka who said in Yiddish, "I'm a Jew and I'm hungry."

I asked him to come in and sit down. I quickly toasted the rolls and prepared scrambled eggs and coffee. He washed, said hamotzi loudly and clearly, and ate. I wondered: did he live in this middle class neighborhood? If so, why was no one helping him? He quickly finished eating, benched, and murmuring some words, left. I glanced at the kitchen clock. It was almost twelve o'clock and Moshe was due for lunch in 15 minutes. I had to go down to the grocery for more food, stretching our credit even further. Running down the back stairs and seeing my neighbor hanging out her laundry, I asked her, "Do you know the man who just came down the stairs?" She said, "I've been here for at least twenty minutes, and nobody has gone up or come down." I found this somewhat unnerving.

As I left the building, a strong breeze blew a $5 bill towards me and I easily caught it. I looked around for its owner, but there was no one on this usually busy street.

Now I could pay for a grocery order. In 1947, $5 could buy a lot of groceries. As I returned to our appartment, I looked at the kitchen clock again and saw that I had apparently misread the clock the first time: it was only 11:15, allowing me plenty of time to make soup and prepare a substantial lunch.

When Moshe came in and expressed surprise at a table set more generously than usual, I told him about the guest and the subsequent gift that the wind had brought. Then he told me that the owners of the market had decided that even though many Jews were leaving Newark, there would still be enough business to keep the market open.

There was more good news: the gabbai of the shul had dropped by the chicken market and paid Moshe in full for the repair that he had done for their scrolls.

I called my parents and the story circulated among relatives and friends. Only Mutti could offer a possible explanation: "It was Eliyohu Hanovi who came to your door."

"Oh, no," I said. "He had no beard and looked very plain."

She replied, "He disguised himself."

Upon reflection, a lifetime later, I honestly don't know if we were so important as to merit a visit from Eliyohu himself. Rather, what comes to mind are the words in modim from the shemone esrei -- "V'al nisseicho... -- For Your daily miracles."


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