Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

13 Teves 5763 - December 18, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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











Home and Family

The Pintele Yid
by A. Reader

"Daddy, why can't we go to shul? Please, Daddy, please, why don't we go to shul like Sandra's Dad? Pleeese..."

"Why don't you stop sucking your thumb, Lisa?" answered her father irritably.

"If I stop sucking my thumb for a whole week, will you take me to shul on Friday night, as we learned in Hebrew school?" begged Lisa.

"O.K. Poppet," her father agreed grudgingly, "but you can't even suck for one minute, for a whole week."

To her father's chagrin, ten-year-old Lisa was still sucking her thumb day and night. He was embarrassed when they took her out to dinner or to friends, but she claimed she couldn't stop, so he felt quite safe with the deal they had made.

The first night, Lisa could not fall asleep, and the first day following that night, she could hardly concentrate on anything she was doing because she had to keep her thumb from straying into its accustomed place. The next day was even more difficult and she asked her mother to stick a thick bandaid round the offending digit. That evening when Lisa was in bed, her mother remarked to her husband, "She means it, you know, Eddie. She is deadly serious about this shul business."

"She'll never see it through. Look at all the things I've offered her to make her stop. She couldn't even stop for a trip to Disneyland. I'm quite safe." But one day followed the next, and Lisa made it to Friday. She announced jubilantly after school, "We're going! We're going to shul. I told all my friends I would be there."

Eddie put on his best suit and hastily slipped a yarmulka into his pocket. Lisa trotted along beside him in great excitement. Meanwhile, Mother lit the Shabbos candles, as she always did. It was one of the few shreds of tradition which still had a place in their home, yet they had both agreed that Lisa had to attend Hebrew classes every Sunday morning.

While they were gone, Mother decided to set the table and make it a really festive occasion. She put the finishing touches onto the good meal she had cooked, and dressed herself up a bit to suit the occasion.

"Mommy, this is just like a Shabbos table, exactly like a Shabbos table! Isn't it lovely, Daddy?" babbled Lisa, as the two of them walked in. Eddie smiled wryly but the three of them enjoyed that meal more than any they had eaten for a long time. Somehow, they felt closer to each other in their small family unit that Friday evening.

On Shabbos morning while Eddie was at work, Lisa confided to her mother that she was going to make the same deal for the following week. Mother was quite pleased. She stemmed from a traditional home, and she secretly planned to dig out their old kiddush cup. When Eddie came home, he was not as antagonistic to another visit to the shul as he thought he would be. After all, it was achieving a very important purpose. Lisa would soon be cured of thumb sucking.

"Mind," he warned his delighted daughter. "Not even one surreptitious little suck." Lisa understood all about fair play and cheating, and would never tell a lie, so that he trusted her implicitly.

The following Friday night, father and daughter paid a visit to the shul again. This time, many of Lisa's friends were there. The yamulka was not whipped off Eddie's head as soon as they came home from shul. In fact, he decided to wear it till he got home. Lisa read through the kiddush laboriously, while Eddie decided to brush up on his Hebrew reading. He was sure he had not forgotten everything. After all, he had been his Rebbi's star pupil before his Bar Mitzva. In fact, he suddenly remembered with nostalgia, that he had thought all this religion thing quite cool when he was a kid.

To cut a long story short, they went to shul each week, this father and his only daughter, and the three of them added another small token of religion into their home each week.

Lisa went to a seminary when she finished school, instead of going to university as had been planned, and in due course, she married a kollel yungerman. Their three small sons suck their thumbs vigorously in gan and cheder in Yerusholayim, and delight their Bubby and Zeidy with their sharp wit and ready knowledge of all the details of things pertaining to Judaism, on their frequent visits to Jerusalem. As a matter of fact, Eddie has retired now, and the two of them are planning to sell up in England and move to a small place in Jerusalem, just to be near their beloved daughter and son-in-law, not to mention the delightful grandchildren.


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