Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

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










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











Home and Family

In the Face of Hurt
by Risa Rotman

Rosh Chodesh Iyar

Gila Reuben sat on her kitchen stool, peeling vegetables for the daily soup, contemplating the recent big news. Rabbi Wasser, a former rebbe of her husband's, had asked Gila's husband to join the staff of his newly-formed seminary for high school girls. The seminary was finishing up its first year on a successful note and Rabbi Wasser needed to increase his staff. He had turned to Boruch Reuben, a responsible, capable avreich, in his opinion. After discussing the proposition, Boruch and Gila agreed that this was the opportunity that Boruch had been waiting for.

Not many of Gila's neighbors or acquaintances were aware of the new development in the Reubens' lives. Even when it did get mentioned, Gila made little note of it. September First found Boruch in his new position, but little changed in Gila's life. She was a true akeres habbayis, most comfortable in her own home surroundings.

Not surprisinglly, Gila's daughters took after their mother. Good students, modest by nature, they tended to stay away from some of their boisterous classmates. The girls usually played together by themselves or with one or two girls of similar personality. Gila didn't think much about it while the girls were young. It seemed natural to her own quiet, sensitive nature.

Problems had started as the girls got a bit older. The differences between them and some of their peers became more noticeable. Gila saw the hurt look on her daughters' faces as they came in the house after a day of school. "Or rather, a day of teasing," Gila thought to herself, angrily. "Don't they teach anything about good middos?" Gila worked on herself to judge favorably. She knew that she and her girls did have more sensitive natures, but still....


Leah was in a panic. Her first daughter was in the eighth grade. Thoughts about getting her daughter into seminary loomed over her day and night. She tried to make contact with the right people, make appointments with the school, and pray with all her heart, yet somehow nothing seemed to move. Having made aliya only a few years earlier, Leah's connections were limited. It seemed outrageous to her, but if nothing happened fast, her greatest nightmare might manifest itself: her daughter might be stuck without a high school.


Word had gotten out. Gila Reuben's husband was connected to Rabbi Wasser's new seminary. Gila's phone rang day and night. To say that Gila was overwhelmed by all the attention was an understatement. In their small Jerusalem neighborhood, where everyone knew everyone else, it was bound to happen. Desperate mothers were asking Gila to mention their daughters to her husband. Gila was totally uncomfortable with the situation and didn't quite know where to put herself. Always shy, she suffered from all the attention. In addition to this difficulty, there was another part of the picture that made things especially unpleasant for her...


Leah had also heard that Gila's husband was involved with the new seminary. Leah, the mother of a large household, didn't have much time for socializing. Leah liked Gila with all her quiet ways. With daughters in the same class, they'd often meet at school events or occasionally on a park bench. They would enjoy a relaxing shmooze before it was time to usher their offsprings on to the dinner/bedtime routine. Even so, Leah hesitated to bother Gila. Somehow, it seemed so artificial, so fake to be calling Gila at this point. As time went by and the situation didn't seem to be resolving itself, Leah picked up the phone and took the plunge.


Riiiing..."Oh, the phone again," Gila thought tiredly. Bracing herself from her racing emotions, Gila picked up the receiver. She smiled after she heard Leah's voice. "Yes, Leah," Gila said pleasantly, thinking she knew what it was about. "What can I do for you?"

"Oh Gila," Leah started hesitantly, "I'm so sorry for bothering you. I know you've been getting a lot of these phone calls."

"It's okay, that's life," Gila said nonchalantly.

"Well, you know my Sari who's in class with your own Malkie, well..." Leah didn't seem to know what to say. "We've been having a very hard time getting her into a seminary. She is our oldest daughter and since neither my husband or I grew up here, our connections have been limited. I'm sorry for asking this of you. I hope it doesn't come across as too pushy, but do you think you could mention to your husband that we would appreciate his help?" Leah finished nervously.

Gila sat quietly in thought for a moment or two, which made Leah even more nervous.

"Gila, is everything OK?" Leah asked, unsure if she'd said something wrong.

"No, not exactly, " Gila answered slowly. "I think I can tell you this. Your girls were always nice to my girls. They'd include them in their games and occasionally they'd do homework together. But not all the girls have been so nice. They'd tease my girls for being quiet or sensitive. Maybe those girls didn't think my girls wore the right kind of clothes. Do I know? I'd see the hurt looks on my girls' faces when they came home from school. When I tried to ask questions, the girls would just shrug it off. Slowly, over time, in a small neighborhood like ours, I got to know who were the culprits. Sometimes I witnessed things with my own eyes." Gila said sadly. Leah listened quietly not making a comment.

"Don't worry, Leah" Gila brightened, "I'll be happy to mention a lovely girl like your Sari to my husband." Gila hesitated and then she added, "B'ezras Hashem, all of Jerusalem's girls should find a place to grow to be true B'nos Yisroel."


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