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“Why would Hashem want me to suffer so much humiliation from being with my sister-in-law all Yom Tov? I mean, you know how small I feel next to her, Shmu—she’s an impossible act to follow!”
“Crazy! Who ever heard of a chassidishe meidel arranging things with a shadchan by herself? Her parents know nothing — she just goes ahead and meets a boy? And to a what? A moderne lawyer who wears a pink shirt, probably! You can forget it, Rikki. You — can — for — get — it!”
“I’m so happy for you that you had a boy. I’m sure you know my mother gives $10,000 to every grandson named after her father.”
At thirty he could no longer get into a kollel in America. The time for a move would be over. When he had married Tzivi, his in-laws had provided an apartment. Stuck in Yerushalayim. He felt a red shame creep up his face. You sheigetz! This is Yerushalayim.
“And I see that there’s not even a kippah on your head, Hashem yerachem, a sheigetz you’ve become, one of those shkutzim on the streets and maybe are you taking ich veis those types of cigarettes that have chemicals, those drugs…”
Once you passed a certain age, he maintained, learning was an indulgence to be reserved for the early hours of the morning, and a little more at night — before, or after, one worked up a sweat to earn one’s daily bread. How could I argue with that? He had given me all I had.