Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Shared Space: Chapter 5

Dov Haller

“Wow. That’s pretty nasty. Whatever, I’m very excited about your father’s plan; sorry you can’t see my enthusiasm” It was quiet, then

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


agner calls the guys who live here ‘sports jackets,’ ” Kivi said, looking out the window at the Summit sign and snorting.

“I don’t get it.” Malky looked genuinely perplexed.

“You know, they’re all like, so excited about going to work, all briefcases and cool jackets and ‘Should my work name be Kevin or something cool, like Jared?’ and ‘Look at me, I’m so balabatish.’ You know what I mean?”

“No, I really don’t.” Malky stood up. She wasn’t generally one for confrontation, but Kivi could see a storm brewing.

“I need to ask you something, Kivi,” she said. “You came home last night and seemed so optimistic. Aryeh will help you find your footing, it was all so exciting. You were going to do your own thing, and have my family’s backing, right? So what happened? Why are you all negative now?”

Kivi hesitated, unsure if he should tell her what he’d explained to Wagner.

He’d told Wagner about Uncle Nochum, Benjy Halb’s younger brother.

Kivi knew that his father-in-law had started in real estate with Zeidy’s help. Zeidy Halb had bought a small building in the garment district years earlier, and when Benjy joined his father’s textile business, he’d seen more opportunity in the property than in polyester pants and zip-up sweaters.

Benjy had persuaded his father to allow him to develop the space, tearing down walls, adding floors, bringing in new tenants, and never looking back. Uncle Nochum had joined the business a few years later. Unlike Benjy, he’d never really gotten the hang of real estate and wished they were still manufacturing dry goods, maintaining that polyester was coming back in style any day now.

The clothing business had long since closed and Zeidy had happily retired to a life of daf yomi and l’chayim after Shacharis and chess and the shuffle up and down the block he called exercise. Uncle Nochum told his children he was a full partner in Halb, but Kivi caught the tightness in his father-in-law’s face when the topic came up.

He remembered returning to his in-laws’ home after Nochum’s daughter’s chasunah, and listening to them discuss the elaborate wedding.

“I mean, we didn’t even serve lamb chops at Malky’s wedding, and he feels it’s appropriate?” Benjy Halb said.

“Ha,” Naomi said, “of course he does. He’s been telling the shadchanim and mechutanim and anyone else who will listen that he’s your partner, so he has to. You don’t.”

Benjy had given her a look that meant some conversations were better conducted in private and they’d left the living room.

Kivi had described the scene to Wagner and said, “Look, I don’t want to be that guy in the family, waiting for handouts and my share of a pie that was made somewhere else. Aryeh has married kids, Shimmy has married kids, they’re all going to be around soon and then I’ll be Uncle Nochum. I wanted my shver to make me part of the action, not to give me a tutor and a few dollars.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 710)

Related Stories

Shared Space: Chapter 4

Dov Haller

“Motty is going crazy. Just crazy. He has five homes and a son who is proud of the way he can chop a...

Niggun for Broken Hearts

Shimon Breitkopf

He sat in the women’s gallery of the neighborhood shul from morning to night, writing his chiddushim...

Cut ’n Paste: Tying Down the Inspiration

Elya Krolik

By this point your voice is gone, but that doesn’t stop you from yelling at your chavrusa, insisting...

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.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"