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ook, it was definitely weird, it wasn’t what I expected, but I think I’m cool with that.” Kivi realized that he was talking a lot, perhaps because he himself wasn’t sure what he was feeling.

Malky misunderstood his confusion as a complaint against her father, and she got defensive.

“Come on Kivi, he’s doing the best he can. He just can’t have another guy around the office, it’s too much for him and then it’s not good for you either, he feels that it won’t let you shine, you know?”

“Yeah, Malk, I chap.” Kivi was wondering why when you ate in expensive restaurants you always felt hungry two hours later. “That’s what he said.”

He did a perfect imitation of his father-in-law: leaning forward slightly, shoulders squared, making eye contact with his wife.

“Kivi, we love you and think you’re a very capable young man. But you’ve been to the office, you see the situation, we have lots of people coming and going. Aryeh is there, Moshe Dovid is there, Shimmy’s there, and Dovi’s there, I don’t want you to sit around and feel unproductive. Ephraim went to law school because of that, and look how successful he is.”

Malky laughed despite herself.

“Okay Kivi, funny, but what’s l’maaseh?”

Kivi sat up straight, and pushed his glasses down his nose, still not done with the imitation.

“So listen, Akiva, Kivi,” Kivi coughed lightly, exactly like his father-in-law. “I was speaking with my friends, lots of us at this stage are in similar situations, the business is running baruch Hashem, there isn’t that much to do.”

Malky was laughing again. “I can just hear it,” she said.

Benjy had actually been far blunter than Kivi was letting on. “You know something, Kivi,” he’d dropped his voice, “I’ll be honest with you, you know my chavrusa in the bungalow, Motty Herman, right? He’s got that paper company, you know, it’s a big business. And his youngest son, maybe you’ve met him, Shmuly, joined the business, and there was nothing for him to do. Motty was like, ‘Big deal, he’ll keep busy,’ but the boy wanted real work, not just double-checking the company cell phone bills and renegotiating a better price with the water-cooler guy. He complained, but Motty figured it was nothing, Shmuly was taking a nice paycheck, he had a comfortable office, the car lease was paid, whatever. And then one day Shmuly says ‘Thanks Ta, I’m out, it’s been nice,’ and a month later, he opened a salad bar in the Five Towns, he says that’s really always been his dream. He wants to have a restaurant, and he lives it, he goes to the market early each morning and picks his vegetables and works with his hands, and Motty is going crazy. Just crazy. He has five homes and a son who is proud of the way he can chop a scallion!”

Benjy had completed the horror story and grimaced. “So I get that too, Kivi. Young people don’t just want a parnassah, they want to do stuff. They need to be part of it. And that’s really what I want to talk about, not just how you and Malky can be provided for, but also how you can feel fulfilled, like your talents are being used.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 709)