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Teen Fiction: A Matter of Mindset

Bassi Goldhirsch

I was only able to catch two words: Yaffa Gluck. But those words were enough. They were sufficient to dash my hopes

Monday, April 23, 2018

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I would never have dreamed I could mess up so badly. Maybe if I hadn’t overheard, I wouldn’t have gotten myself into such a predicament. But teenagers are curious. It’s our nature to be inquisitive and interested. And when Tuli started walking around looking goofy, smiling at the four blank walls, I had reason to suspect that something was up.

I found myself standing behind the French doors of the dining room, listening in as Tuli animatedly regaled my parents with stories about his latest date. His eyes were dancing fireflies. He spoke confidently, quickly, and breathlessly, like the fizz of a soda can ready to burst.

My ears never betray me, they’re generally well behaved. But this time I was only able to catch two words: Yaffa Gluck. But those words were enough. They were sufficient to dash my hopes even before I was able to savor the excitement.

You see, I know Yaffa. And she’s not my taste. Now, don’t jump to conclusions and start labeling me as cruel and insensitive. Trust me, I’m not. It’s just that I really want what’s good for Tuli, and Yaffa Gluck just doesn’t fit the bill.

Yaffa is great, I’m sure she’ll make a very good wife. She’s just regular and ordinary. Her life seems so humdrum and boring. She was never G.O., Shabbaton head, or Chesed head. No, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like Tuli’s kallah was supposed to have any major high school job, but Tuli deserves better. Tuli deserves a girl who knows what’s in, who’s modest yet fashionable, who’s popular and charismatic.

He needs more than mediocre. Tuli’s kallah needs to be exceptional and unique. I can’t even imagine the embarrassment in front of my friends when they find out that Tuli is engaged to Yaffa. I mean, if Tuli had told me that he’s going out with a girl from my school, I would have helped him out. I could’ve given him a whole list of names. He could’ve gone out with Blimi Schiff or Chaiky Berger or Baila Fuchs. But Yaffa? What did Tuli see in her? I’m not the type to meddle into other people’s business, but this called for significant measures. I couldn’t just stand by as my big brother made life-altering decisions.


I corner Tuli at the landing of the steps. He is sheepishly smiling to himself and humming something under his breath. I can’t be certain, but I think I recognize the tune as “Siman Tov U’Mazel Tov.”

“Hi, Tuli,” I venture. “How’s it going?”

“Great, great, my snoopy little sister,” he booms.

I hate being called “little sister,” especially if I’m only three years his junior, but I decide to let it pass. There’s a different issue that’s much more important right now.

“Great?” I repeat. “Great as in, you think she’s the right one? Is the feeling that great?”

“No. It’s more than great. It’s fabulous! It’s super! But why the long face? Don’t I look happy?”

“Uh, yeah, you look very happy,” I say. I mean, how am I going to start telling him that the girl that he’s about to get engaged to is a mistake? That she’s just not with-it? That he can do so much better? That I just can’t imagine being her sister-in-law?

I know my face is as red as a ripe tomato, but I take a deep breath and continue, “Tuli, you might not like what I’m about to say, but I know Yaffa, and she’s not for you.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 707)

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