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Top Secret

Tamar Hadar

“Wine enters and secrets emerge,” Chazal tell us. So often at a Purim seudah, new facets of people are revealed, surprising facts are shared. Women don’t imbibe, but here, five women open the door and disclose the secrets they tucked deep within.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The pressure… the excuses… the web of mistruths… Is it worth it? Some women keep the most innocuous things a secret — the high school mechaneches who hides the fact that she plays guitar, or the woman who refuses to divulge her recipe for Orange Sponge Cake. Then there are those who are guarding disclosures that spell life or death. What prompts people to hide facts? How healthy or harmful are the realities we refuse to share? Several secret-keepers consented to share their stories — anonymously, of course.   My Son’s World // Chaya, Age 40 You think you know me but you don’t. We don’t live that close to each other, but our husbands daven in the same shul and we share car pool to our girls’ school. So when I meet you in the produce department of the supermarket, I smile and ask how you’re doing as I try to keep Chezky from opening up all the bananas to see if they are ripe. You raise an eyebrow at nine-year-old Chezky’s behavior and answer brightly that you’re fine, and we both move our shopping carts along. We meet again in the treats department, where Chezky is working his way up to a meltdown because I won’t let him buy a non-chalav Yisrael treat. “Please, Ma! It’s the only thing in the whole store that I want!” His voice is rising, and so are my tefillos. Please get me out of here before this meltdown reaches serious proportions. Again, your eyebrow begins its ascent as you point out a new treat you’ve just added to your cart. I nod in appreciation, grab Chezky none too gently by the arm and head for the frozen foods. As luck would have it, you’re in front of me at the checkout line. Again, you rise to the occasion and try to make small talk as Chezky starts fiddling with the cigarette packages displayed. I see your lips flatten into a tight line and read the silent accusation in your eyes: Why can’t she control her child? Where are the basic middos in this family?

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