Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Meron Child

Chany Rosengarten

We’ve been here.” Esther gestured at the swarms of people climbing Mount Meron. “Hashem has helped us. He’s here for us again.” “Yes.” She bleated it like a lost sheep in the night, to the backs of purposeful men and woman clutching prayer books and shawls. “Pray,” he urged her. His face squeezed with longing, with the intensity of his request. “I will.” But her voice was a dejected whisper, her shoulders a frail armor. “Then we didn’t think we’d ever have Shimon.”

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

child“Hashem will answer our prayers. Shimon is a Meron child. Reb Shimon will intercede.” She felt that lump again, but Eli rewarded her with a rare, relieved grin, and she smiled back, and looked up at the hill. The world was streaming with light, music, people dressed in black, people dressed in white, singing, dancing, praying.

“Let’s go.”

They were divided and swallowed on the steep incline, between others rushing to grab Lag B’Omer for themselves.

Esther looked around. She remembered the place vaguely, having been here so many long years ago. Her soft soles padded the gravel and she rushed upward, until she had a place, until she was one with the other women waiting, waiting for the Yom Tov to start.

While she waited she stood and cried the words in her siddur. Her siddur was frayed, its words her constant servants. A slow song wound its way from the center of the congregating nation, out toward its swaying border. The Boyaner Rebbe made his way up a platform to the fire, domed streimel crowning his head. Men rushed to add oil, cotton, and kindling for the fire. All the while, the song took hold, and she listened.

The song yearned, and Esther did too. “Vihi noam Hashem …” The words filtered over the mountain like a mist of clouds and the tune strangled her with want. “May the favor of Hashem rest on us; establish the work of our hands…”

She thought of her Shimon, his once-pure countenance now crowded with hard lines. His once-fluid eyes now jelled into anger, glazed with indifference. And her mother’s heart could no longer bear the squeeze of disappointment. She gave herself up to the sobs.

What had she done wrong? Hadn’t she swathed in him in soft white when he was born, given him a holy name, nursed him in the night? Hadn’t she pointed out butterflies and flowers as they walked together? Hadn’t she slid brown rice, peas, and chicken into his developing little self? Did she not send him to a cheder where they noticed him, taught him, loved him? Did she not play puzzles, read books, review his homework with him?

She threw him a bar mitzvah like a wedding, one befitting the only child born to waiting, doting parents. She sent him to yeshivah, baked his favorite nut bars when he came home, listened to his concerns of friends and fiends and those boys who fell into the gray between. What did she not do? What did she do wrong? Why had Hashem not blessed the work of her hands, the source of her preoccupation for so many years? What had happened to the gift she received one Lag B’Omer day, 19 years ago?


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

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.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you