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wo more weeks and my fate will be determined by an Israeli high court judge. I’m scared. My parents are supportive as always, but even they’re worried and tense. It’s hard to think about anything else. Since the day that registered letter came, our family’s been living under a shroud of sorrow.

Yesterday my parents’ lawyer came to speak to me about the upcoming trial. He says I’m mature enough that the judge will take into account my preference for staying with Ima and Abba, but he’s pretty sure that the court will grant my biological father visiting rights. That probably means I’ll have to spend alternative weekends with him in his village.

How can this be happening? It is beyond belief! I go through the motions of my regular life, but it’s a kind of a charade. My natural inclination to ignore things I don’t like is totally useless this time. This court session is looming and there’s just no place to hide.

Shimmy walks back and forth to cheder with me and Chaim. As unlikely as it sounds, we’ve become a threesome. My father says that Hashem prepares the cure before He sends the illness, so maybe Gutman will take my place in Chaim’s life when I’m gone?

I can’t help worrying: What will people think when they see my biological father visiting me? I’m so ashamed.

The tension of waiting, just not knowing, is terrible. Ima finishes sefer Tehillim every day. Even Yael takes a bentscher and pretends to daven, swaying back and forth. When I look at her pretty little face I wonder about her future. Will she ever have to go through something like this?

Tonight, I can’t sleep; thoughts are racing through my head. I hear my father’s footsteps in the hall, coming closer to my room.

“Meir? Why aren’t you sleeping?”

I shrug. I’m singularly unsuccessful at returning his smile.

Abba sits on my bed and massages the tension from my shoulders. After a few minutes I roll away. “You always say that everything Hashem does is good,” I say, and I’m angry. “Why is He letting this happen to us? Why?”

“It’s a nisayon, Meir,” my father replies.

I don’t want to hear that. I want to know why bad things happen to good people. My parents don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve this. I want an answer to my question!

My father ruffles my hair. “You know there’s no answer in this world,” he says thoughtfully.

I wonder how he is so calm. My mother is heartbroken; I see new lines in Abba’s face, but he is composed.

“First of all,” he speaks softly, “so far, nothing bad has happened. Maybe, like the incident with the spies in the Midbar, we are worrying for no reason? Hashem controls the world and everything in it. Obviously that includes the judge who must rule on the suit your biological father filed. They will hear your side, and it seems clear enough to me that your right to continue living in a loving Jewish family is more valid than a stranger’s claim to paternity.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 717)