O

ne more week. It’s so difficult to wait. With nothing concrete to do, I pace back and forth in my room. My new suit is hanging where I can see it. It’s meant to encourage me to imagine us celebrating my bar mitzvah together in a few more months, after all this is behind us.

I run my hand over the smooth fabric, wondering if I will ever wear it. My fertile imagination comes up with every possible scenario, most of them undesirable. Abba pointed out that I must be careful not to fall into this trap of the yetzer hara. “Don’t worry. You’re not alone. We’ll deal with each part of this as it unfolds,” he promised. I see his logic. What is the point of suffering from imaginary fears and worries in addition to the real events in life?

But what can I do if that sneaky yetzer hara is always waiting for the moment I lower my guard? He doesn’t miss a chance to send me visions of being torn from my home in Rova Zayin and set down in an Arab village among strangers!

I talked about these thoughts with my mother. She recommended to just stop thinking them. Ima explained that the human brain can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Theoretically, at least, if I choose to think a different thought, then it will override the ones I don’t want in my head. I have to admit her idea does work, until I lose my concentration. The minute my thoughts wander, the fears are back with a vengeance.

I wrote the letter to Shimmy’s mother for him. He didn’t want me to put in any details about why he wants to come in the first place; it just says that he would like to come visit. I hope I haven’t opened up a can of worms. I was only trying to help.

We mailed it from the post office in the city but then I realized that his mother’s answering letter will come to his home address. His father and stepmother are going to wonder why she’s contacting him out of the blue when it’s not even his birthday.

I have no idea why Shimmy lives with his father instead of his mother. Maybe she’s unable to raise him because she’s sick or has psychological issues? But his little sister lives with her, so surely she wouldn’t have been awarded custody of her little girl if she wasn’t competent.

I also don’t know how Pinchas Gutman is going to react. He seems to be so easygoing. Will he agree for his son to leave him, just like that? I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I wish Shimmy would tell his father about Tzion, or else let me tell my father. No, it’s better not to add to Abba’s problems right now. He has more than enough to deal with!

“Meir? Supper is ready.” I hear Ima’s voice and promptly head for the kitchen. Right after that registered letter came I could hardly swallow a bite, but after a few days my appetite reappeared. Hearing my mother’s summons, I realize that I’m starving.

Abba shares some interesting news. “Reb Zelig spoke with me today,” he mentions to my mother. “The Zaltz family is moving to England.”

“What happened? Why should they do that?” Ima and I are both surprised by this unexpected announcement. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 718)