Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Making Ends Meet

Esther Gilbert

“Don’t shoot the messenger,” she shrugged. “I have no idea what Mrs. Hersch wants you for.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock.

“So, does anyone have any questions about perek yud-alef?” Mrs. Klein, our Navi teacher, asked. 

Just then, the principal’s secretary, Miriam, opened the door. All eyes turned toward the door. “Leah, the principal has a message for you,” she said, in all seriousness. 

The class stared. Finally, Malka Bluma blurted, “Leah?” 

Everyone nodded in agreement. Mrs. Klein looked shocked herself. 

Sara Baila shot me a sympathetic, equally confused look. Oy, nebach, everyone’s eyes were screaming. 

“Me?” I asked. 

“Don’t shoot the messenger,” she shrugged. “I have no idea what Mrs. Hersch wants you for.” 

I took a deep breath. Hashem, I try to be good. What could Mrs. Hersch possibly want from me? 

I said a perek of Tehillim in my head as I followed Miriam to the second floor. I self-consciously checked things off in my head — had I had any remotely chutzpahdig encounters with teachers? No! Was my uniform shirt tucked in? Check. Homework all handed in? Check. 

I grew more and more nervous. Something niggled in the back of my consciousness, and I was growing more and more agitated by the moment. The curiosity was killing me. 

Finally, I knocked on the door. I heard, “Come in,” and opened the door. 

“Hello,” Mrs. Hersch greeted warmly. 

“Uh, hi,” I stammered, my hands clammy. 

She patted the seat across from her. “Have a seat, Leah.” 

I took a seat. 

“You must be wondering why you’re here.” Mrs. Hersch said, her eyes on me. 

“Yes, Mrs. Hersch,” I said respectfully. 

“Well, you father called. He had some very joyous news.” 

I hated the suspense. 

“You have a new baby brother. Mazel tov, Leah!” 

A smile slowly spread across my face. My eyes widened. “Mazel tov! Thank you!” 

“You’re a great girl, Leah. A true gem,” she said, looking me in the eye. “Your teachers say great things about you. I’m so happy for you.” 

I blushed scarlet red. “Thank you,” I managed. “Go back to class. I know you have plenty to learn. And mazel tov again.” I bounded out of the room.

Photo: Shutterstock

“And she complimented you?” Chaya Sarah yelled. 

“I know!” 

“Mazel tov,” Sara Baila said. “So you’re visiting your mother and the baby after school?” 

“Yeah,” I gushed. “And he’s eight pounds!” 

Kaila laughed. “Lucky duck. So cute! I have six older brothers.” 

I shrugged dreamily. “What’s his name gonna be?” 

“Who knows?” Sara Baila asked. 

By the end of the day, it felt like the whole school had wished me mazel tov. 

As I talked about it on the way home from school, Sara Baila interrupted my dreaming and scheming for the outfit I would wear for the bris. 

“It’s kind of getting old,” Sara Baila admitted. 

“Old?” I joked. But I was beyond hurt. When she had a new baby sister, I let her rage on for days…even weeks! “But he’s only a few hours old!”

Related Stories

You’ve Got Money!

Riva Pomerantz

It’s always sad when a relative passes away — and even sadder when that person’s hard-earned cash is...

The ABC's of Money Smarts

Michal Eisikowitz

When the government is sunk in debt, can we expect families to do better? Yes, according to rabbis a...

First Impressions at the Wall

C. B. Lieber

In the midst of the broiling summer heat, we have the long fast day of Shivah Asar B’Tammuz. Why are...

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.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"