Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Elul 5765 - September 28, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

The Accident

by Yisca Shimony

Ima Shimony woke up very early. It was her habit to make the most use of the daylight, so early to bed and early to rise were integral parts of her days. Now, as she woke up, she breathed the fresh air and looked through the open window at the twirling fog that danced up in the air. She couldn't afford to linger long; much work awaited her. She rushed into the little kitchen to light the primus, a noisy kerosene burner, and boil up some water for a cup of Turkish ground coffee.

It was Elul. The sounds of slichos mingled with the blasts of the shofar, coming from all directions. In these Days of Awe, which were felt very pronouncedly in their neighborhood, Ima was kept busy getting reading for the coming yomim tovim. She examined the family's clothes and tried to fix them for continued use during the crowded holiday season.

That year there was a special sewing project. It included a new dress for each daughter. Directly after the holidays, Aunt Elka was to be married. This event required something special and it being so close, already, these dresses could be of great use to enrich the wardrobe for the double purpose.

This very special project had to be calculated carefully. It involved purchasing material, choosing styles and hiring a seamstress. Everything was carefully deliberated and planned so that the styles and the material would create an elegant impression with the minimum use of fabric.

At that time, the `in' style was pleats, which meant using a lot of material. Ima and the seamstress decided that the skirts would have only several pleats which would utilize only a little extra cloth and still give a stylish effect. The busy seamstress set a date for the Shimony family and now it was time to go shopping for material. The best, while still the least expensive, material could be purchased at the home of Eidel.

Eidel lived in the Beis Yisroel neighborhood. The distance from Mekor Boruch where the Shimony family lived to Beis Yisroel was quite long. There were no buses, which was a good thing, since fares were much too expensive, in any case.

To reach Eidel's home was like going on an out-of-town hike. Most roads were unpaved and in order to reach Beis Yisroel, one had to climb over boulders and walk on gravel. As this mission was important, the Shimony girls walked eagerly. They were happy that the roads were downhill. Finally, they reached Eidel's home.

Choosing the material was no problem since the selection was small to begin with. It was Eidel's task to measure and calculate the exact length of the needed cloth. She figured the sum and marked it in her book, to be paid after the Yomim Tovim. The way home, however, was much more difficult since it was all uphill.

At home, a surprise awaited them. Aunt Chaya had come to visit, bringing along a reminder of the beloved Carmel mountains, arousing fresh memories of the recent vacation they had spent in the little moshava. Aunt Chaya had brought along a loaf of bread and a hunk of cheese, the handiwork of Bobbe Faiga. The entire crowd of Shimony girls greeted her exuberantly and danced around her joyfully. Aunt Chaya was the same age as Chedva, so they immediately began gossiping, oblivious of everything else.

Ima was busy preparing supper. The additional bread and cheese came in very handy. It took a little longer than usual since she had to take into account extra sandwiches for Chedva for tomorrow. Chedva would be accompanying a class of girls not much younger than her on an outing to the woods in Atarot, outside Jerusalem. As an older child in the family, Chedva, only nine, was already very mature and responsible, and had been invited by the teacher to come along and lend a helping hand. But since she would have to devote her entire attention to the group of lively little girls, she would not be allowed to have Aunt Chaya accompany her.


Early the following morning, Chedva left and Aunt Chaya stayed home to help Ima by watching over Tzila and Yisca. She kept them entertained by telling them tales about the farm, but they soon got bored and decided to go over to the schoolyard and play with the other girls.

Aunt Chaya held Yisca's hand and Tzila followed close behind. They joined a group of girls waiting for their sisters to return from their outing and soon were preoccupied in a game of tag.

Ima emerged some time later to check up on the girls. From afar, she saw them running and playing noisily. Then, to her horror, she saw a motorcycle speedily heading their way and a few seconds later, she saw Yisca collapse to the ground. Within seconds, she was surrounded by a crowd of children.

Ima's knees buckled under her. She felt the world turning and spinning. In a daze, she found herself propelled forward, her eyes focusing on the spot where Yisca lay, her mind spouting questions, "Is she alive? Is it too late? Can something still be done?" Breathless and almost fainting, she reached it.

Yisca moaned. "Where is she hurt?" Ima blurted in a weak voice, afraid to look down. But she did, and saw Yisca's face covered with blood. Blood was oozing rapidly from an open cut. As if in a trance, she picked her up and headed towards the nearest pharmacy.

The elderly attendant was standing by the door. He moved aside quickly and made Ima sit down. Then he picked up Yisca and placed her on the glass-topped counter. Relieved of her burden, Ima began coming to her wits and cried out, "Fetch a doctor!"

"Here I am!" said the doctor, who lived nearby and had been alerted by the children. He examined Yisca and said in a serious voice, "I will do my best to stop the bleeding, but she will need stitches and a tetanus shot. You had better take her to Shaare Zedek Hospital." [Ed. The `old' Shaarei Zedek is in the center of modern-day Jerusalem, situated between the Machane Yehuda shuk and the Central Bus Station. In those days, it was way out, with no public transportation to it.]

Ima sat there woodenly. Someone brought her a glass of water. "The fastest way to get to Shaare Zedek is by foot," she thought aloud. She was too weak to do it herself, as it was some distance. But then, again, whom could she ask? Taking a deep breath, she stood up, picked up Yisca and began carrying her towards the hospital.

She kept glancing down at her child as she walked, murmuring, "You're going to be alright, b'ezras Hashem, aren't you? Oh, please, Hashem! Help me!"

A young man walking by assessed the situation and took Yisca into his arms and began rushing towards the hospital, Ima following fast on his heels. Once they arrived, everything went smoothly, and with a local anesthetic, Yisca was soon fit to be taken home. By this time, Abba Shimony had arrived and carried her back home.

Yisca was bedridden throughout Succos but enjoyed being the center of attention. She was waited on by a doting Chedva, and even received a doll with a real china head. On Succos, when Aunt Elka paid a visit with her chosson, Yisca's bed was placed facing the door of the succa so she wouldn't feel left out.

The only drawback to this idyllic period was the excruciating changing of the dressings. When the bandage was finally removed, a long ugly red scar remained, which faded somewhat with time and was hidden by a different hairstyle.

Eventually, Yisca found a fine husband. Her matchmaker — Aunt Elka.


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