Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Bending Rules

Esty Heller

My mother smiled lightly. “How much is it?” The question sounded nonchalant, but only almost. I heard the catch in her throat, and my stomach sank

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

 Mishpacha image

Photo: Shutterstock

I ’d been engaged for all of 43 hours when I learned the 11th Commandment: A kallah has to look good.

It was my mother’s idea to shop for a new dress for my vort. Frankly, I was shocked. I’d made peace with wearing my green chiffon dress from my cousin Blimi’s wedding, but hey, if my mother was offering, I definitely wouldn’t protest.

And if we were doing this, we weren’t going to Fashionista.

“They’re like five years behind the times,” I whined. They were also five times cheaper than Rachel Greene, but come on. Mimi Margolis would faint if I told her we were going to Fashionista. Besides, Naftali’s sisters were real Rachel Greene type of people. I knew my mother understood. But go convince my father. Men…

In the end we agreed to “just go look around.”

Rachel “got me” immediately, especially when my mother told her I was engaged to the Pfeiffer boy. I was astounded by the way she nixed one dress another, without me saying a word, asserting that they were “not my type.” Was she psychic or what? Finally, she whistled. “Waaaaait… I have something perfect for you.”

We waited in suspense, and what can I say? Rachel Greene was Rachel Greene. There was no question; this dress was it.

“A dress is like a shidduch,” Rachel said happily. “When you find the right one, you feel it in your blood.”

I thought about Naftali. He was “it,” and sure, I felt it in my blood, right? I stared at my reflection, at the brilliant medley of silvers and blues that was all elegance and sophistication. It was perfect. Everything was perfect.

The doorbell chimed and Rachel, beaming as though she’d just sealed a shidduch, fumbled with the buzzer hanging from her neck. A minute later a group of walking perfume advertisements — hoity-toity middle-aged mom and her two married daughters — appeared in the basement shop. Rachel smiled broadly. “Hey, Pessy! How are you? Shopping for Mendy’s bar mitzvah?”

Mimi had told me there were first-name-basis customers that got preferential treatment at Rachel Greene’s. I squirmed.


Pessy trained her eyes on me. “Gooorgeous,” she remarked, shaking her head like an authentic maven. That’s how boutiques worked.

Rachel plunked down a five-inch thick catalog. “Start looking. I’ll be with you as soon as we’re done with this lovely kallah.”

Rachel turned back to my gooorgeous reflection in the mirror.

“So?” Dazzling smile. “It’s a shidduch, isn’t it?”

I glowed.

“Do you like it, Faigy?” my mother asked.

“I love it.”

My mother smiled lightly, then turned to Rachel. “How much is it?” The question sounded nonchalant, but only almost. I heard the catch in her throat, and my stomach sank.

“Two,” Rachel said smoothly.


As though, perhaps, you meant two hundred? My stomach was a goner.

“Two thousand, but I offer a five percent discount for kallos. Just, you know, my soft spot.” Sugary smile, soft chuckle. “So it’ll be nineteen hundred for you.”

The dress hung loosely on my suddenly cold body.

Related Stories

House of Mirrors: Chapter 10

Rachael Lavon

Sarah tells Laylee that they’re changing Elmway in a way that’s not wanted by the many residents who...

The Great Gown Debate

Brocha Miller

So here is the question: Do we wear gowns to the wedding? It seems simple enough, right? But the app...

Lifetakes: Frenzy of Joy

Esther Malka Goldschmidt

An overwhelming emotion filled me. It almost washed me away, a joy so pure I began to laugh. I could...

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!"