“C ake?” I offer, glad that the cappuccino cheesecake that I tried for this year’s shalach manos has come out just right. Kiki, sitting opposite me in her lace-front sheitel and diamond kallah bracelet, doesn’t seem the kokosh type. Years ago, I felt accomplished by always having a heimishe babka in the freezer; nowadays, I triumph in producing something trendy, on demand.

Always, I pride myself on having my finger on the pulse of today’s generation.

Kiki is very much today’s generation. She texted me just a few hours ago asking if she could come speak tonight. Urgent, she wrote. Now, the night before Taanis Esther is not exactly the most convenient time, and I don’t even know Kiki all that well — she attended a few of my classes when she was a newlywed, and once the babies started coming, that was the end. But I have always made myself available to the young kollel wives in the neighborhood, convenient or not.

“Out of this world!” Kiki gushes, as she downs the generous slice I gave her. “Yum, I love cheesecake!”

I wait politely, wondering what the burning issue is. She does not look like she’s in a state of emergency right now, but you never know. One thing I’ve learned from my years of counseling is that people can be complex.

She wipes her mouth, checks an incoming text on her phone, and is finally ready to begin. (Excerpted from Calligraphy, Issue 704)