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Theme Section: Journeys

Journeys take us places, but sometimes they do more than that; they build us — even change us

Monday, October 02, 2017

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H ot Ticket
Chaim Finkelstein 

Levi Lewin was curious. Something important was going on in his house, but he couldn’t figure out what it was. Five minutes before, his mother had gotten a phone call. He didn’t know who it was, but when she hung up the phone, his mother had looked very excited. She immediately ran into his father’s office to talk about the phone call. Levi was very curious. Suddenly, the office door opened. His father motioned for Levi to enter.

“Have a seat, Levi,” Rabbi Lewin said, pointing to a chair.

A nervous Levi took a seat.

Rabbi Lewin cleared his throat.

“Levi,” began Rabbi Lewin. “you’re not going to believe what your mother and I are about to tell you.”

Levi didn’t know what to say. He just nodded his head.

“Your uncle Yanky just called. His company was supposed to send him and one of his coworkers to Eretz Yisrael for a few weeks, to do business there.”

Levi nodded his head. He knew that his uncle had traveled to Eretz Yisrael many times.

“Well,” continued Rabbi Lewin. “Your uncle Yanky’s friend just got sick and will unable to go with him. Uncle Yanky now has an extra ticket. He called to invite you to go along with him, and spend Succos in Eretz Yisrael. Would you like to go?” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 680) 

Rina Dina’s High Hopes
By Yael Mermelstein 

I don’t like going to sleep.

As soon as my eyelids begin to droop and my body starts giving me that “you are tired” message, I start fighting. It’s not an easy fight, trust me. I do it every night. It’s tiring. Which doesn’t help matters, of course.

“Rina Dina,” my mother says, “it’s already eight thirty. You desperately need sleep.”

I never understood how adults could know how much sleep I do or don’t need. Do they have a sleep thermometer that measures these things, like; you need 103 more minutes of sleep in order to be functional?

“But I don’t want to go to sleep!” I say.

My mother sighs.

“Rina Dina, do we have to go through the same exact thing every single night?”

I could try to vary things. I could say, “I prefer not to go to sleep,” or “sleep doesn’t seem like a very good option right now,” but I suspect that’s not what my mother means.

“It’s just that as soon as I get into bed, my mind starts racing and I toss and turn and it feels dark and boring,” I say.

My mother sighs again. “I understand. Sometimes that happens to me, too. But you have to figure out how to fall asleep anyway.” She taps the side of her head, something she does when she’s thinking. I believe the tapping moves the energy in her brain and helps her come up with ideas.

“Let’s make a deal,” she says. “How about if you make sure to get into bed by eight thirty every night. You can read for 15 minutes and then try to sleep, without getting out of bed. I’ll bet after doing that for six weeks, you’ll get used to it and you won’t have trouble anymore. At the end of six weeks, I’ll take you on a very special trip! Somewhere you’ve been asking to go… I’ll give you a hint, it has to do with delicious cheese.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 680)

Midnight Intruder
Tzipie Wolner 

“Cell phone?”




“Air pump?”


Yossi jumped on his bike. Avi waved good-bye to his parents and siblings.

“Have fun!” Mr. Schwartz waved.

“Boys, are you sure you don’t want to come with us?” Mrs. Schwartz asked for the hundredth time.

“Nah, we don’t enjoy spending a whole day with Tante Golda and her seven girls!” Yossi laughed. “We’ll see you later!”

They pedaled quickly until they reached the bike trail.

“How far do you think we can bike?”

Avi glanced at his watch. “We have at least seven hours until we need to be back. Let’s try to reach Fairmount.”

“Oooh, that’s a long way.”

Avi smiled. “We’ve done longer. C’mon, let’s do it!”

“Okay, then!” Yossi agreed. “Let’s start this journey!”

They rode off.

The trail was at times smooth and sometimes full of sand and stones. There weren’t too many other riders out on this hot day. When they were about halfway through, Yossi hit his brakes.

“Hey, what’s that?”

“No way! A succah?!” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 680)

Step by Step
Avigail Sharer 

“Every step is another step closer,” Abba told me, as we passed Motza and began the steep climb toward Yerushalayim.

Easy for him to say. It was a long time since he was a kid and just wanted to get somewhere fast. Now. Maybe even yesterday. I mean, how long could all this take us until we finally saw the Beis Hamikdash?

Answer: longer than you realize. The animals we were taking up for korbanos kept getting thirsty, and we had to stop to water and feed them. Then the little kids got hungry. Ima had to get out of the wagon, open a bag of flour, knead it with some salt, oil, and water, and shape it into little rolls. Meanwhile, Abba built a little fire, covered it in a layer of stones, and that’s how we cooked the rolls. And then, of course, we had to stop for something else, and then something else.

It took us ten whole days to get to Yerushalayim.

Soon enough, we reached a huge square that was packed — and I mean packed. Of course, it wasn’t just packed with people. There were all the animals that were being brought for korbanos, and some wagons, too, and almost all the people there seemed to be carrying a bundle of sorts. I looked around, bewildered. Everyone was gathered in the square to match up with people who would host them.

Where were we going to stay? Suddenly, I felt someone grabbing my arm. What now?

It was my big brother, Pinchas. “We’ve got somewhere to stay,” he said. “Come on, let’s go.”

Seemed like our journey was continuing. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 680)

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