Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Double Take: Wheel of Fortune

Shaina King

Now I understand that he only earned commission, but all I knew then was that sometimes there was money, and sometimes there wasn’t. Usually there wasn’t

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

 Mishpacha image



Life is not only about getting married. It’s about staying married.

Mrs. Muller

Life is not about money. Don’t lose this opportunity.

I remember my mother’s money-voice. The words varied, but it was always the same tone. “I need to buy diapers,” she would say, or, “Can I do the grocery shopping yet?” She would look at my father, he would turn away. And we kids would run away, to another room, so we wouldn’t have to hear what came next.

I told my friends the official version — my father was “in sales.” Now I understand that he only earned commission, but then all I knew was that sometimes there was money, and sometimes there wasn’t. Usually there wasn’t.

In eighth grade I got a job helping a sheitelmacher in the evenings. By tenth grade I was the one who did my friends’ hair for simchahs. I did haircuts on the side, too, $10 each. I could earn $50 in two hours on a Sunday.

My high school principal helped me piece together grants and scholarships so I could go to seminary. Seminary is basically a place where you spend a year talking about the kind of person you want to marry. The teachers all talked about histapkus b’muat, sacrificing for Torah, and I wanted it so badly. But I knew something my friends didn’t.

I knew what it’s like to have a child crying with a fever, and to wait, and wait, and wait, and not take them to the doctor, because you don’t have cash for the co-pay or the antibiotics, and maybe it’s just an ear infection that might be viral anyway.

I knew what it’s like to have a car parked in front of your house, in decent working order, but you have to walk everywhere because you have no money to buy gas.

I knew what it’s like to stand by the window and watch the whole neighborhood play in the snow. Snow is free, but there are only two pairs of boots, and the smaller ones don’t fit you anymore, and your older brother needs the bigger ones to wear to school. Besides, who wants to wear boys’ boots?

I knew what it’s like to borrow a little money from your uncle, just for a few days — it’s the 25th and you get paid on the 30th — and then borrow a little more from your cousin, on the 15th.

I knew that marriage takes a lot of compromise and goodwill and good middos, and that all those things are in short supply when you can’t provide for your basic needs and you’re always thinking about your debts.

At the end of the year in Israel there were a few presentations from different degree programs. My roommate immediately chose a speech therapy program.

“What exactly do speech therapists do?” I asked her.

She shrugged. “Um, I don’t know, fix people’s lisps, maybe? The point is that it’s the shortest program.”

There was this enormous pressure to get a degree as fast as you can and start earning a huge salary immediately. For shidduchim, you know.

I didn’t go for a degree. I didn’t want my children to have the same childhood I had. I didn’t want to have the same marriage my parents had. Paying back student loans as a married woman working part-time on a speech therapist’s salary was not going to work. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 706)

Related Stories

Washington Wrap: Trump Unlikes Putin

Omri Nahmias

Trump finally stands up to Putin in barrage of missiles over Syria

Face to Face with Roni Alsheich

Eliezer Shulman

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich explains the deluge of high-profile corruption investigations in I...

Normal Like Me: Chapter 40

Ruti Kepler

“If I don’t complete my hours here in Jerusalem, none of these courses I took will count toward my n...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah