T he day had begun so nicely.

Itzik had slept over at Faigy’s house, and in the middle of the night Ari had driven over Itzik’s little Smart Fortwo, and in it, his tefillin, laptop, and a change of clothing. In the morning a lovely breakfast was waiting for him on the kitchen table, including a toasted cheese sandwich, eggs, and vegetables. There was even frothed milk for his coffee.

So how did that whole dustup get started? Which idiot had mentioned the word “occupation”?

As he sped along the road in a blind rage, Itzik couldn’t recall how the altercation began. Maybe Ari was reading out headlines from the paper? Maybe Faigy said something about an article she was working on?

It didn’t really matter anymore. What mattered is that Faigy and Ari had said there was no occupation. They said the Arabs were murderers, and there was no way that Israel could let them have a state of their own.

“So you’re telling me why you think we need an occupation. You’re not proving that there’s no occupation,” Itzik tried to reason.

Both of them had started talking at once, loudly and vehemently. Now, as he drove furiously down Sderot Eshkol, Itzik had to admit that he’d known it would make their blood boil, but he’d been determined to shout them down. Something small and mean within had egged him on.

“But I was right,” he said to his car.

That’s great, Itzik, the car silently rejoined. What good does it do to be right, if you end up alone again, with no one to talk to?

“You just get a kick out of making people upset,” was Faigy’s diagnosis as she washed the frying pan. “You can’t really believe all that liberal nonsense.”

“And you just enjoy hiding your head in the sand so you won’t learn any facts to rock your babyish worldview,” Itzik had shot back.

“Itzik, please show some respect for my wife, and remember that you’re a guest in her house,” said Ari. It was two — and so very much a pair — against one.

“Because I stayed overnight in your house, now I have to agree with all your misguided opinions?”

“No, you don’t have to agree,” said Faigy, “but you don’t have to be nasty to me.” He could hear that she was insulted.

Ari was quick to add, “You really need to learn how to communicate with people. For your own good. Unless you want to be single forever.”

Ouch. Ari had hit his most sensitive spot. And Faigy had just stood by nodding. Rage was simmering inside him, but he tried to maintain his dignity. With a show of calm, he pushed back his chair and stood up. Quickly, he collected his things, went to the front door, and swung it open. Just before he could slam it behind him, his sister took hold of the handle.

“You know, I haven’t written a word since you called me yesterday,” she said quietly. “I’ve been in touch with a journalist friend of mine yet again, just for you and your reputation.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 690)