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

With All Your Heart

by Yisca Shimony

Very important guests arrived at the Shimony's home, a newlywed couple, Gitta and Chanan. They were recently married, and, as was expected, they made the necessary visits. The custom of paying relatives a courtesy call was actually called, a vizs'it.

The memory of the wedding still excited the Shimony girls, and they looked bewildered at the tranformation of a bride in pure white, now attired in colorful Shabbos dress.

The wedding of Gitta and Chanan took place on a Friday afternoon. It was celebrated in a school called 'Altshuler,' adjacent to Botei Varsha. At the Shimony home, preparations for this wedding involved much planning and work. Sewing a new dress for each of the girls was a must, as their shabby Shabbos dresses were unsuitable for the occasion. In addition, a Friday afternoon wedding required much work and planning. The ceremony had to end before Shabbos entered, and, as only very close relations were invited to eat at the wedding meal, most guests went directly back home. They all came to the chuppah, but ate in their own homes. Some came back after the meal for birchas hamozon.

Running to the ceremony on a busy Friday afternoon, and later, rushing back home to light Shabbos candles, daven maariv, eat a hasty Shabbos meal and rush back to participate in the Sheva brochohs was quite an ordeal. It involved long walks in the dark, unlit, unpaved roads leading to and from the hall. The dancing and singing took much time, as well. All this rushing back and forth, on a Friday and Shabbos night, was like `running after one's tail.' These Friday afternoon wedding always were an unforgetable affair.

Now, the newlywed couple had come to pay the token expected 'vizs'it.' They lived in Botei Varsha, and it took them a while to walk to the Shimonys. Once they were settled, Gitta kept the tradition, and, as soon as she could, came to visit her relations. They came to the Shimonys, and thanked them for participating in this joyous affair.

Gitta was a friendly person, and she kept the conversation flowing. One of the stories she told them was a moving and heartrending tale.


It was the beginning of the month of Teves, and winter had just settled in Yerushalayim. Rain and hail came pouring down from above. It looked as if the skies were crying, too... Its many residents crowded in the big courtyard of Botei Varsha, crying bitterly. The death of Libbe, the young wife of R' Chaim Cohen, had just been publicized, and the sad news overwhelmed everyone. "So young!" cried Rebbetzin Levine, a close neighbor.

"What will be with little Raisale?" countered Mrs. Lupate, "She is only two years old..."

Libbe, the wife of R' Chaim Cohen, passed away after a very short illness. Poverty-stricken, she had succumbed to the cold winter and the insufficient heating in their home, as well as lack of proper sustenance. Libbe caught pneumonia and died within a few days, leaving behind a mourning, helpless husband, and a little orphan, Raisale, with no one to care for them...

On a cold stormy day, Libbe was carried away. R' Chaim was left alone to tend to the little daughter's needs. Good neighbors helped him, and took turns in hosting both father and daughter. Winter dragged on, cold and wet, mingling with the tears of R' Chaim, and also those of the neighbors.

Finally, Purim arrived. Soon Pesach and spring were upon them. At the end of a year, R' Chaim let it be known that he would soon be married again!

Botei Varsha was in turmoil, "Who is she, the intended bride?' It was soon known to all. Chava was a young orphan. She was willing to raise little Raisale as her own daughter, and soon, a chuppah was raised. R' Chaim and little Raisale no longer wandered from one neighbor to the next... Raisale, the orphan girl, was raised by her amiable stepmother, and after a year, she was blessed with a little sister.

Years went by, and it seemed that things were fine, as three sisters and a brother were born. The family grew, and little Raisale attended school, and extended a helping hand to her stepmother, until... Chava was struck with cancer, and she, too, died...

Raisale was twelve years old at the time, and since R' Chaim had to go to work (he was a melamed), she was in charge of the entire brood. The Cohen children attended school, but Raisale stayed home to do the cooking, cleaning and tending to all the needs of the household.

Neighbors were critical, "Why shouldn't Raisale go to school?" With four kids under her charge, she worked ceaselessly, and she looked pale and unhappy, trying to catch up with so much work. Finally, R' Chaim Cohen realized he must ease the yoke of the work upon Raisale, and sent the three younger daughters to Weingarten's Orphanage. Hershele, who was much too young, was left home and was attended by Raisale, his oldest sister.

Eventually, the Cohen girls grew and married talmidei chachomim. Hershele, too, grew to be a fine young man. R' Chaim Cohen stayed with his daughter Raisale even after her marriage. He lived to see much nachas from all his children and grandchildren. Eventually, Raisale married off her children.

As a head of the family she helped her sisters and her brother as much she could, and as long as she lived, was willing to give a helping hand to her all her family.


The Shimony girls listened enraptured to the sad story. Suddenly, they all realized that the 'vizsi't' had come to an end and that it was time for their guest to go home...


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