Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Nisan 5766 - April 4, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Tables Turned
by Leah Gottlieb

"How do people make Pesach?"

"Nissim — miracles."

"What do you mean by that? For Pesach, you need matzos, wine, money. You can't eat `nissim'!"

"O.K. I'll be more specific. I'll tell you a true story that happened to us last Pesach . . . "

Nison — the months of `nissim'

Tables Turned

by Leah Gottlieb

It was two weeks before Pesach and my in-laws were due to arrive from the States to join us for the first days of Yom Tov. I had just begun a new job and was working long hours, racing towards my first two major deadlines the following morning, when there was an ominous knock at the door. I was almost expecting to hear, "Open up! KGB!" Even worse, it was the demolition crew hired by our building committee to rip up our floors to repair a leaky pipe of the building's central heating system.

This was the second time this winter that they would be doing so in our rented apartment and they had done it twice during the past winter. I must admit it's never a good time to have your floors ripped up, but of all bad times, this just had to be the worst. I am not one of the world's most organized people, and my super efficient mother-in-law and her husband would be joining us all too shortly in this wreck.

The plan was for our in-laws to occupy our bedroom, while we would take over the children's room. They in turn, would camp out in our cozy living room. Our tiny table, which hardly accommodated us, was promptly sent off to the manufacturer to repair the collapsed leaves. Our modest, almost three-room apartment would rise to the occasion and we would have a wonderful Pesach together; hopefully. But now it was a nightmare.

Those few days seemed like an eternity. The workers arrived promptly each day at 7 and banged and drilled till I nearly had a hole in my head. Through this, I worked at my computer till the wee hours of night to meet my deadline. I left for the office, thinking it couldn't possibly be worse. I returned to discover that it could be. They had ripped up the hall and the walk-in gemach closet, so that there were car seats in the kitchen, high chairs in the children's room and carriages and cribs in the master bedroom.

Then, at last, hope arose again, as our table was delivered with two open leaves!

"Don't close the leaves," the carpenter warned, adding, "and no guarantees; it's the best we could do." They plunked it down in the only intact floor space in the house so that now we had a whole table at least. But where would the kids sleep?

It was a heatwave, really bad (and now they needed to repair the heating pipes?). There was a family simcha that night and I had to get the boys dressed Shabbosdik in this house blanketed in dust. I leaped over ditches in my living room and kept reminding the children, "Stay clean." Funny . . . but they seemed to be enjoying the noise, dust and smoke!

They're busy all day, With their tractors they play. While I make futile attempts with a shovel and broom, they bring out their " steamshovel" — a sandbox, smack in the living room!

When we came home in the wee hours of the morning, I tried to figure out a way to open four beds, with a table in the way (there was nowhere else to put the table nor any other floor to put kids to sleep on). I would barely get a few hours of sleep before I had to rise at dawn to prepare my son for his yearly class trip to the Galil.

Next morning, I scrounged around amidst the rubble for a hat, canteen and some food and sent him off with lots of love to make up for the makeshift lunch.

Back to sleep? No way! The workers have begun their work for the day!

The mess, the noise and other inconveniences I can't mention . . . Why couldn't they behave like menschen?

Now they were digging up the bedroom too. I tried to remain calm through the drilling and noise, when my boss called to say there was a problem with my work. The text wasn't long enough. Could I whip up something extra, real quick? Then my mother-in-law called from the USA, "Could my brother come too, with his fiance?" " Sure," I said, "Why not?" Too late, I realized; here thickens the plot.

That year, Shabbos Hagodol was also Erev Pesach, meaning a two-day yom tov for us and three days for our guests — all four of them! Since we had no other room to spare, I began to call neighbors and knock on doors. We couldn't possibly have them sleep on the floors which we didn't even have!

Well, at least we had a table.That was worth something, but then the leaves plotzed, and so did I: no place to eat, nowhere to sleep, not even a floor under our feet, and Pesach, with all our guests, fast approaching.

Oh, I forgot to tell you my brother was coming too, from Boro Park, into this zoo! To stay with us for a week or two.

When the workers went home and the noise died down, I finally broke down and began to cry. If only we had a table to host our many guests, then I think be"H I'd be able to deal with the rest.

Perhaps our Rov could help? Could we borrow money from a gemach for this? Could he suggest a good eitzah? I hesitated outside his door. Was it too late to knock? Perhaps I should go to a friend to cry my heart out — but that wouldn't be fair, either.

As I stepped out of the building, I was stunned by the sight: the very two friends whom I had wished to turn to were exiting a car, together. I ran to them and cried my heart out; I told of the workers, the mess, and the very worst — no table for guests.

"Well, I can help you with that one. We have an extra one, just waiting for you."

I thought to myself, "Hashem, that was easy for You, so maybe You also have a 3-in-1 couch-bed for us, too?" Sure enough, days later, when my brother arrived, a bed was `delivered' from heaven — 3 beds with a storage drawer. Then there was a case of grape juice delivered to our door, and a carton of chickens from some organization. What more could we ask for?

We saw many great miracles that Pesach eve. Hashem saw to every last detail, not a thing did He leave.

Sem girls showed up, out of the blue; we also got help from a bochur or two. We were ready in time, with whole floors and fresh painted walls (Mom and Dad might not appreciate the children's scrawls). Somehow, food there was plenty, with help from a sem girl or was it twenty? They showed up in pairs, with a baalebuste flair, don't ask from where — from Heaven it's clear.

They wiped and they covered, they cooked and they baked, so when Dad arrived, he had Pesachdik cake!

When we discovered that we were unable to cover our new table, we were unfazed and waited to be amazed. We took down the Pesach things with a huff and puff, and there it was, sure enough! A spanking new white tablecloth still in the package, and the perfect size. Surprise! Large and oval, just like our new table with the leaf. We stood there speechless — this was beyond belief!

And every since, combined with our Pesach preparations is a must — a whopping measure of emunah and trust!


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