Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

A Different Kind of Change

Rhona Lewis

The floor of the Neve Menuchas HaZahav old age home shone brightly, as usual. A group of elderly ladies sat crocheting in their designated spot near the drooping palmettos. Brochah watched as pale, gnarled fingers pulled thread over the needles and downwards meticulously but painfully slowly. Sarah nudged her hard and thrust her chin out in the direction of Rav Meyer, a survivor of the horrors ofAuschwitz. His broad shoulders hunched forward over a large tome of Gemara, defying anyone to remove it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

leafSarah’s quick rap on the white door of the private room was answered by a firm voice, “Come in.”

Rebbetzin Weiss, every strand of her chestnut sheitel glued obediently into place, was sitting at a small table covered with covered with books of all sizes. Here and there, the flowered tablecloth peeped tremulously through.

“Take a drink and we will begin,” the Rebbetzin ordered and waited to answer amen to the loud brachos she expected to hear.

“Let’s begin with the first pasuk in the Torah,” she said, pushing a Chumash towards Brochah. “Will you read?”

Brochah read attentively, even though this was the sixth or seventh time that they were studying the pasuk. ‘It’s not her fault that Alzheimer’s has eaten away her memory,’ Brochah’s mother had told her when Brochah had complained.

“Read the Rashi,” Rebbetzin Weiss told Sarah. She corrected a small mistake in a surprisingly gentle voice, then said, “Can you tell me who Rashi was?”

Of course Sarah would answer, Brochah thought with a grimace. She’s been answering that question every week for the past month since we’ve been visiting the ladies in the old age home.

Pasuk followed pasuk. Rebbetzin Weiss expanded on the words that the girls now knew by heart with an avalanche of different commentators and different angles. Some Brochah had heard already three or four times. Others were new.

Suddenly an opaque veil fell over Rebbetzin Weiss’s eyes — she was drifting off. The girls sat awkwardly, unsure of what to do.

After a few minutes of silence, the veil lifted, like the morning mist that dissipates in the rising heat. “It’s time for the laws of tzniyus, girls,” the Rebbetzin said. Now she allowed the girls to open the book randomly so at least they could cover a different topic each week.

Exactly 45 minutes after the girls had walked in, Rebbetzin Weiss looked at her watch. “Oh, my! Time flies by when we learn together, doesn’t it? Don’t forget to review our lesson so that we can move on next week.”


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.

Top-Down Theory
Shoshana Friedman Our true currency, the accomplishments we value most
Strive for What Binds Us
Yonoson Rosenblum The chareidi community represents something of an oasis
Embracing Victimhood
Eytan Kobre Combating the allure of victimhood
The Kids Are Going to Camp, the Parents Are Going Broke
Miriam Klein Adelman Mindy has to feel good; it doesn’t matter that I feel ba...
Work/Life Solutions with Carlos Wigle
Moe Mernick “Rejection is Hashem’s protection” 
How to Create a Simple 900-Page Novel
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman All of us can reset the titles of our own lives
Stand There or Do Something
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP It’s called collaborative care, and it works miracles
I'm Here — Are You Ready?
Riki Goldstein Upbeat and catchy, but still makes listeners think
Back in Time
Riki Goldstein "I wish I could recapture that excitement"
Mixed Messages
Riki Goldstein The unsung craftsmen who give albums their special touch
Go in Peace
Faigy Peritzman Inner peace makes us vessels for blessing
All Work and No Play
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A life only about doing your duties loses all its color
Dying to Believe
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Emunah peshutah is the force behind Jewish continuity