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Succos Story Supplement: Out of Bounds

Mishpacha Contributors

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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Twist and Turns

Faygie Gut

Thump.

My gym bag lands on the bed with a soft thud. I walk over to the window, and look out. The warm sun feels good on my face.

I sigh, feeling like a popped balloon; I don’t have that “high” that I usually come home with on Sunday.

Knock, knock.

“Hi, Ma.” I say.

“Hi, Sarah!” Ma comes in, holding Yisroel. “How was gym?”

“Okay,” I say, sitting down on the furry seat.

My mother looks at me closely. I’m usually breathless when I come home from gymnastics club, dancing and singing and showing off anything I can.

“Everything okay?” Ma asks. I shrug.

“How was it with Rivka Leah?”

“Okay.”

Ma pauses. I know what’s coming next.

“Sweetie, do you want to talk?”

I shake my head.

“Okay, if you want to talk, I’m always here, ’kay?”

I nod mutely, and Ma leaves with Yisroel to prepare supper.

I swallow. What would I tell Ma — that I don’t want my cousin to come to gymastics with me because she’s better than me?

The clock reads 12:40. Oh no! I sit up with a jolt. At 1:30 Shani will be here. I had to be showered, lunched, and ready to face my English tutor by then. It’s not fair!

I start to cry. Rivka Leah just pranced into gymnastics, my domain for three years, and everyone liked her right away. She was really good at gym, and was even able to do a round-off halfway through, and it was only her first time.

Rivka Leah didn’t have to go home to a tutor.

I work so hard every single day just to keep up with my class, and Rivka Leah doesn’t have to think twice about it. I sweat through every day in school. Sunday gymnastics is my special time — I don’t need a tutor or a different classroom, I keep up with my class, and I’m even more advanced than most of the girls. Everyone likes me… it’s my time!

Why did Rivka Leah have to come and take that away? How could I have thought it would be fun? It’s not fair!

Now I’m angry. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 728)

 

 

Babysitting Blues

Bracha Rosman

“So basically, Tatty and I will be away for one week,” Mrs. Leman said.

“You mean a week, as in seven days?” Leah asked.

Her mother grinned. “Last time I checked, a week was seven days.”

Leah sighed. “But Ma, I hate babysitting, you know that.”

“I know sweetie, but we wouldn’t go unless it was important.”

“But why do you have to go for so long?”

“Traveling to Eretz Yisrael for the chasunah would be a very long trip to make for just two or three days.”

“But the nights are so hard and scary.”

“That’s why I asked Chani to sleep here when we’re gone. She’ll come every night after she finishes work and leave after the kids go to school. This way you’ll have company at night and you won’t have all the responsibility on you.”

Leah thought about spending the week with her older cousin. She still didn’t want to babysit, but having Chani would make it easier. “Okay,” she said. “I guess I have no choice.”

Mrs. Leman smiled. “I’ll cook all your favorite suppers and freeze them. All you’ll have to do is pop the pans into the oven. You’ll see, it will be a cinch. You’re going to have so much fun while we’re gone, you’ll probably wish Tatty and I stayed in Eretz Yisrael for another full week.”

 

*******

 

Leah yanked opened her locker and threw her backpack inside.

“What’s up?” Mindy asked. “You seem stressed.”

“I seem stressed because I am stressed.”

“I guess the babysitting isn’t going so great,” Baila said.

“It’s impossible,” Leah complained to her two best friends. “Sunday was crazy. The kids were bawling when my parents left. I had to scream and threaten them just to quiet everyone down. Yesterday was even worse! Dinner was a catastrophe. My little sister found an onion in her mashed potatoes and freaked out. And forget about bedtime, it was a disaster. I literally ran around the house chasing the twins. On top of that, I have no more ironed uniform shirts, and the house is a mess. It’s only been four days, and I’m losing it.” She slammed her locker shut. “I don’t know how I’ll make it to Sunday.”

“Wasn’t your cousin Chani there to help out?”

“Yes, but she isn’t feeling well, so she goes to bed really early, and sleeps late in the morning. I have to do everything myself.”

“That’s terrible,” Mindy said. “But look at the bright side, I’m sure your parents are going to bring you home something really amazing from Eretz Yisrael.”

Leah crossed her arms. “I can’t imagine any present being worth a week of babysitting.”

“I wish I could come over tonight to help out,” Baila said, “but I have chesed.”

“Me, too,” Mindy said.

“I guess I’m on my own then.” Leah grimaced. “Thanks for letting me vent, though.”

“Hey, that’s what friends are for.” Mindy and Baila looped arms with her and they headed down the hall to their classroom. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 728)

 

 

The Secret Succah

By Chaim Finkelstein

It was late at night. Rav Shlomo Zalman Horowitz, the Potoker Rav, walked silently through the Ukranian forest. The young Rav breathed in deeply as he walked, enjoying the fresh forest air. After spending all day underground hiding from the German soldiers, breathing fresh air was a special treat.

Suddenly, he stopped. There was something unusual about this spot in the forest. “Look at this,” he whispered to a man nearby, “right here, where I am standing, there is a space with no trees.”

The man had been living in the forest for a long time. “Yes, Rabbi,” he answered, “this is what we call a ‘bald spot.’ ”

The Potoker Rav looked up. Instead of leaves and branches, he saw the sky. He hadn’t seen the sky in a long time. It was a beautiful sky, lit up with many sparkling stars.

As he stood there, looking up at this wondrous sight, the Rav’s eyes lit up like the stars. He had an idea.

In two weeks, it would be Succos. He longed to sit in a succah on Yom Tov and make the brachah leishev ba’succah. Until now, he had thought it would be impossible to have a succah in the forest. If one sits in a succah under the branches of a tree, he does not get the mitzvah. But here was a place with no branches overhead. It would be the perfect place to make a succah.

The Potoker Rav looked around. There were many other Jews hiding with him in the forest. He was sure they would be just as excited as he was. He quickly gathered some men around him and told them his plan.

He was deeply disappointed with their reaction.

“Rabbi,” they said, “it’s impossible. If you make a succah, the German soldiers will surely spot it. They know what a succah is. When they see it, they will know that there are Jews hiding nearby. They will not stop looking until they find us. All of our lives will be in danger.”

The Rav weighed their words. They did have a good point.

A few hundred feet from where he was standing was a huge bunker, an underground hiding place, made of many hidden rooms. Four hundred families lived there. Most of the rooms had been dug deep into the ground. The entrances to these rooms were covered by huge logs to keep them hidden. No one walking past the logs would ever guess that hundreds of people lived beneath them.

Rav Horowitz and his young son Shmiel had been living in one of these rooms.

Building a succah did sound dangerous, but the Potoker Rav was sure it would be worth the risk.

 He turned to the people around him.

“Listen to me,” he began. “In the Succos machzor, it says that the mitzvah of succah is equal to all the other mitzvos of the Torah. If we keep the mitzvah of succah it will be like we kept all the other mitzvos. This zechus will save us from any harm. We must not be afraid to make a succah.”

Unfortunately, none of the others would listen to the Rav. “It’s simply too dangerous,” they all told him.

Rav Horowitz made up his mind. If the others wouldn’t join him, he would do the mitzvah himself, secretly. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 728)


 

The Slime King

Leeba Leichtman

“Aaah! Urgh! Yuck! Who left this gross stuff on my seat?”

Betzalel got up. The green goo attached to his pants stretched along with him, making it hard for me not to laugh — but as poker-faced and quiet as I stayed, all eyes turned to me anyway. Silence reigned while I studiously observed the dotted floor tiles (y’know, in case one needed to be replaced or something). Then the shouting began.

“Slimenthal!”

“Betzalel, you look like you sat on a frog!”

“No slime in the classroom, remember? You’re gonna be in big trouble, Slimenthal.”

Just for the record, that’s not my real name. I’m Ezzi. Ezra Dovid Seinenthal, to be exact — but everyone just calls me Slimenthal. Yep, as in “slime.” I know what you’re thinking, but no worries, folks: there’s no bullying going on here. Actually, the name’s kind of a badge of pride for me, because I’m the king of slime and everybody knows it. Anyway, the nickname supports my chocolate fund (the secret, life-sustaining stash hidden under my bed), because it reminds everyone to buy their slime from me. Usually, the kids throw that name around jokingly, even with a touch of respect; after all, nobody makes slime like I do. Now, though, it was downright incriminating.

I tilted my head, steeled myself, and looked Betzalel straight in the eye. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I was playing with it at recess and I accidentally left it on your seat when I went to get my binder.”

“You can’t just forget it on my seat! Seriously! Ugh, you put too much water in this batch — it’s really sticky. I am not buying this stuff from you again, Slimenthal.”

“I get that, Betzalel. Honestly, I’m sorry. I messed up. I’ll go get some paper towels and if I’m late, that’ll be my punishment. It was a mistake. I’m really sorry.”

I was late (duh, this whole thing happened about 20 seconds before the bell rang). Still, the next day, two more guys bought slime from me, so I guess all was forgiven.

But now you know the story of my life, pretty much: Me and my slime. We’re tight. Luckily, Daddy understands that and he helped me set up my own slime workshop in the garage. Nobody ever parks the car there, so even though I have to share it with some bikes, the old green lawnmower, and a bunch of random rakes and rollerblades, I pretty much have it to myself. I mean, with my laundry detergent, glue, shaving cream, contact lens solution, food coloring, and bead bowls spread out on the table, the place practically has my name written all over it. Actually, I even made a sign that said, “Slimenthal’s Slime Shop: The Gooiest Place on Earth,” but I never hung it up.

Ma doesn’t really love my slime business (she says it looks like colored cream cheese), but she lets me do it. I know she wishes I’d play outside more, though. Take yesterday, for example.

“Ez, it’s 65 degrees and sunny. Go shoot some hoops or ride your bike!”

“But, Ma! I told Asher and Tzvi that I’m bringing them my new orange fluff slime tomorrow!”

“Perfect, so you’ll make that tonight and the fresh breeze will help you think up some great new slime variations. Or maybe even some other, non-gooey thoughts, for a change.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 728)

 

 

 

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