The Reward of a Mitzvah

24 Aug

“Need a ride, Pesach?”

It was always nice when the locals offered him rides home from Kosher Galaxy. Though he didn’t mind the walk from work to home, it sure was a mechaya to beat the four o’clock heat.

“Yes, thank you so much.” He answered in the most mentshlekh of manners, quickly clicking himself into the grey leather seat. With a crank of the steering wheel, Mrs. Scheinbaum wedged the purple minivan back into Kings Highway traffic, just missing the yellow light.

“So how is it working at Kosher Galaxy? Are they keeping you busy?”

“I spend most of my time keeping tabs on the inventory and stocking shelves but every now and then I take over for the cashiers on lunch break, so yeah, they keep me pretty busy.”

“My, my what a load. Do you ever ask them to lighten it a little?”

“No, I don’t mind the work. Stocking the shelves in pretty calming actually and the rest isn’t all that bad either. There’s always something new to learn. Working a cash register is definitely not something they teach in yeshiva!” He ended with a chuckle.

“They definitely do not…so what do you do during the year?”

“Learning. In yeshiva.”

Mrs. Scheinbaum’s briefly took her eyes off the road to get a better look at her passenger. Broad shoulders. Brown eyes. Blonde hair.   “Oh? And how many years have you been learning?”

“Well, it’s been three years since I graduated high school so–”

“You’re approaching your fourth year.” She finished with a grin.

“Uhhh yeah.”

“So where are you learning? Mir? Chaim Berlin? Torah Vodaas?

“MTI.”

“Hm, never heard of that, is it on the other side of town or something?”

“No it’s in St. Louis– Missouri Torah Institute.”

Mrs. Scheinbaum slammed on the breaks as she approached the turn onto Avenue N. “St. Louis! Why on earth would you go to yeshiva in St. Louis?”

Subtly placing his black, velvet yarmulke atop his flaxen head of hair, he genially explained: “It’s a smaller yeshiva with a heimish environment, which I really like. I went to New York for high school and it wasn’t really my speed.”

“Only high school? Where are you from?”

“South Bend.” He answered with a smile, but as the silence grew thicker, his smile thinned. “…Indiana.”

“And you’re here in Flatbush?” She remarked. The real question wasn’t why he was in Flatbush, the real question was what took him so long to get here and why wasn’t he staying?

“Yeah, I had nothing to do during keiyitz zman, so I figured I should make a little extra money. I asked my chavrusa if I could stay by him, his parents agreed and I took a job at Kosher Galaxy.”

“Unbelievable.” Mrs. Scheinbaum remarked as she pulled along side the brown brick abode.

“Thanks again for the ride, Mrs. Scheinbaum.” Pesach replied with his ever-present smile.

“My pleasure,” she assured him before he shut the door and disappeared into his friend’s house.

*****************************************************************

“He’s from Indiana!” Mrs. Scheinbaum exclaimed to her Shabbos afternoon coffee clutch. “Who am I supposed to call up in Indiana?”

“He did have rebbeim here from when he went to high school here, Mrs. Klein interjected.

“Right, he went to Chofetz Chaim in Queens.” Mrs. Landau added.

“You know what they say about Chofetz Chaim boys…” Mrs. Davidowitz murmured with a tsk.

“They don’t know how to learn but they have excellent middos.”

“Mrs. Landau, I don’t know if that’s true.”

“Oh it’s just like the girls who don’t have the looks but  have the ‘great personality’. You just don’t settle for that.”

“But he’s such a sweet boy, don’t you all agree?” Mrs. Klein pleaded. “He’s been a mensch to all of us, and just because they take their time learning at Chofetz Chaim doesn’t mean the boys don’t know how to learn.”

“Very true,” Mrs. Scheinbaum agreed, “And my Shaindy isn’t looking for the sharpest of gemorah kups. She wants someone who’s going to be at home at a normal hour; not in the beis until the wee hours of the night .”

“Count me out. Rivka needs a shtark learner. No less than seven years in kollel after marriage. He has to know Shas like the angel never touched his lip,” was Mrs. Landau’s last remark.

“And I can’t see him being shayach for Chani. He does have a bit of a stomach, and she’s an excellent cook. Six months into shana rishona I’ll have to buy him a new wardrobe.” Mrs. Davidowitz folded. “And let’s not forget– he’s an out-of-towner.”

“Yeah, Indiana? Yeshiva in St. Louis? Why has this boy been all over the place?” Mrs. Landau exclaimed.

“His father is a rabbi in South Bend, and has been a rabbi in several other places. You know how it is as a rabbi’s child; they get moved around a lot…so he doesn’t mind it.” Mrs. Klein once again took a stand for the man of the hour.

“Then how do we settle this, Esther?” Mrs. Scheinbaum turned to her ally-turned-opponent. “Whose daughter goes out with Pesach first?”

Several moments of silence passed before the first comment was made.

“Do you really think you’re Aidel will go for an out-of-town boy?” Mrs. Scheinson inquired.

“Aidel loves kiruv. She did Project SEED after 11th grade. How about Shaindy?”

“We have relatives in Denver and she loves staying by them. She could handle living out of town for a few years.”

“But what if he doesn’t plan on living out-of-town for a few years? What if he decides to go pulpit and is sent out to Yahupittsville?”

Mrs. Scheinbaum stopped and stroked her mouth, pensively considering her next move. “…I’m not sure how Shaindy would feel about that. Let Aidel go out with him first and then we’ll see.”

“Alright then, my Aidel has a date!” Mrs. Landau celebrated with a clasp of her hands. “I can’t make plans yet, but you know what I have to do after Shabbos…”

“Make phone calls,” They all recited with a drone.

Mrs. Scheinbaum took their glasses and the empty nosh bowl. If only Oh! Nuts knew how integral a part their chocolate covered peanuts were at these meetings. Otherwise, she’d end up devouring her own hand. “So which bochur are we offering rides to next week?”

“The one who works the back desk at Eichler’s looks like a mensch. I see him walk from the store to minyan every day at 7.” Mrs. Klein suggested.

“Ah, Levi! A little on the short side but who isn’t these days? I get to take him on Sunday,” Mrs. Landau announced, “My Rivka has been out of seminary the longest.”

“I call Tuesday,” said Mrs. Davidowitz. “I have to take Yanky to a dentist appointment on Coney Island. It would work really well for me.”

“Wednesday it is for me,” claimed Mrs. Scheinbaum, “so if things don’t work for Aidel and Pesach, Thursday is yours, Esther.”

“Incredible,” Mrs. Landau concluded, “may our miztvos result in many simchas!”

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9 Responses to “The Reward of a Mitzvah”

  1. SternGrad August 25, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    Great story!! 🙂 I enjoyed reading it.

  2. Bluestocking August 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Is this based on actual events?

    One thing that gets me nervous about this sort of scenario is the obvious desperation of the girls’ mothers, while the boys seem unconcerned with marriage at all.

    In the old days, a girl was pursued, and she called the shots. I’m not saying this has to be a given, but the idea of a bunch of heimish women sitting around and fighting over the same scrap of fellow doesn’t quite sound right.

    Heimish women, for one thing, play everything close to the chest and don’t let anyone know their daughters’ dating itinerary, unless after the fact by quite a few years. Unless these women were more American in background, in which case I cannot make any judgments due to lack of anthropological knowledge.

    • coralcap August 26, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

      Sterngrad– Thank you for the compliment! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Bluestocking– The spirit of the post was inspired by true events, however 99% is purely fictional.

      One thing that gets me nervous about this sort of scenario is the obvious desperation of the girls’ mothers, while the boys seem unconcerned with marriage at all.

      Yes! Exactly! Isn’t it amazing how these clearly eligible young men have no qualms, while the females go mishugane over them. Clearly it’s an exaggeration, at least, that’s what I presumed when I wrote this post. In the real world, if you get a good tip on a shidduch, you are right, people will keep it to themselves. What happened to the days when women were pursued? Unfortunately, times have changed and with them so have the ways of courting (do people even consider dating the same as courting anymore?).These women are definitely of American background. Brooklyn, New York– you don’t get much more American than that!

  3. aminspiration August 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    i for one found that very entertaining and very funny..shkoyach coral cap!

  4. Bluestocking August 27, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    Maybe the problem is that girls have lost the ability to be alluring. The come hither glance, the peeking through the eyelashes – a thing of the past. The body language is all off. We no longer hold ourselves like confident, attractive females – we’re desperate and insecure, and everyone knows it. Plus, high school turned us into plodders, not sashayers.

    Girls! We’re gorgeous! Own it!

    That will be my current theory for the dearth of male interest in females. It’s a world gone mad, that’s for sure.

    • coralcap August 27, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

      You tell it like it is, sister!

      The only place I’ve seen the come hither glance and the peeking through the eyelashes documented is in Jane Austen novels. But each girl has her own style. Many start out insecure and oblivious to their feminine potency but as time goes on they learn how to wield it, each in their own individual way.

      The key to be perceived a certain way is to act it. If you act confident, you’ll be perceived as confident. If you act pretty, you’ll be perceived as pretty. If you act desirable, you will be perceived as desirable. This doesn’t require flaunting your looks or personality; being tzniut in both categories can be synonymous with mystique, which isn’t a bad thing. 🙂

  5. Bluestocking August 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    The only explanation why years of typical male behavior has seemingly vaporized is that females have become less attractive. Or, guys have become incredibly insecure, and are terrified of rejection, so they act all blase and unattainable, an aura women should adopt.

    • coralcap August 31, 2010 at 11:27 am #

      Actually I read an article on SiBW’s blog that women are becoming more attractive (the more beautiful a woman is, the more children she will have which subsequently means she’ll have more daughters so overa span of several generations…the beautiful will dominate the world! Hahahahaha!!).

      I think we’re all terrified of rejection to some degree and deal with it in different ways but I definitely don’t suggest that a woman become blase and unattainable to get a man’s attention. I think it would require some therapy to undo.

  6. nmf #7 September 29, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    Found this entertaining- thanks!

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