ivi was feeding Mendy, focused on cutting the pieces of schnitzel small enough so that his son wouldn’t choke, so he didn’t see Malky’s face.

“I can’t go tonight, Kivi, we’ll have to find some other time to do it. I have too much to do.”

“Too much to do, Malky? This is like carrying around a ticking time bomb, all the gedolim say so. It’s not an option to use the phone until it’s done.”

Kivi felt like he was in one of those jokes about husbands trying to assert themselves after years of being stepped on. Now I’ll show you who’s boss. Really, it wasn’t like that. There was little confrontation between Malky and him, very few showdowns over the years. But this was a red line.

“Malk, I’m happy we got those phones, they’re really nice and all that, but we need to go to TAG and install a filter. It’s pashut.”

“I didn’t say we won’t go.” She sounded hurt. “I said I can’t go tonight. I need to call Chevy and talk about chasunah stuff, it’s two weeks away and I promised to help. And I’m not sure I’m ready, of course we’ll do a filter, but I don’t need them judging me. I need Whatsapp because of the family chat, and Instagram is really the only legit way to shop these days. Batsheva Sitman told me she didn’t have Instagram and when the Pesach stuff came in at Fancy Pants, she was left out in the cold, she didn’t have Insta so she didn’t know about anything. I can’t have that.”

“Malky, I assure you that Batsheva Sitman’s children didn’t go to shul for Bircas Kohanim wearing their undershirts,” he said, realizing a moment too late that being sarcastic would hurt his cause, not help it.

“Look,” he held up his hand, “how about this? We’re not the only ones dealing with these questions, we’re bnei Torah, this is a real sh’eilah. Let’s set up an appointment with Reb Dovid, we can go to his house if you don’t want to do the phone. We’ll ask him.”

Malky frowned. “No way, I’m not comfortable telling Reb Dovid all these things, he won’t get the shopping pressure and all that, come on, Kivi.”

“Malky,” Kivi wiped schnitzel crumbs off his son’s mouth and sent him scampering off to play, “Malky. Listen. He’s my rebbi, that’s how it goes. We always used to speak about how important it is to have someone to ask, and l’maiseh, he’s always been normal with us. Remember when you wanted us to come home in middle of the zeman for Goldie’s chasunah, and how happy you were with his advice? Remember he asked to speak to you directly, and he listened and understood. And Malky, he lives in the real world, he gets it, he has tons of talmidim going through these kinds of things. He has kids, too.”

“I hear, Kivi, he’s great, I agree. But I’m not sure that I can look him in the eye and say why I want Instagram, it’s too weird.”

“Malk, if we ask, then we ask everything. We can’t pick and choose.”

“Really?” Mendy had fallen off his little plastic seesaw and was crying, so Malky stood up. “You ask everything, Kivi?”

He caught something in her voice. “Sure, I mean, I don’t ask what to eat for breakfast, like Lapinsky does, but I ask real things. I discussed going to work and being koveia ittim with him just a few weeks ago. Why?”

She turned to face him. “Did you ask if you should miss night seder to watch a basketball game with your friends?”

“Oh, come on,” he felt his face growing hot, “that’s not fair. It was the Cavs. The playoffs. And we didn’t go watch it, you make it sound like we took a night off and sat eating wings and watching basketball. Dubnitz was able to get the game on the computer in his office, so me and Wagner went for the last few minutes. They lost anyhow. Please, Malky. Don’t overblow things.”

He put the plate into the sink and turned to face her again. “And anyhow, that wasn’t about sports, that was like nostalgia, old friends, whatever.”

“Yeah, tell Reb Dovid why it’s okay,” Malky said and she left the room to help Mendy back on to his little seesaw.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 717)