4 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 22, 2020 | Torah Reading: Noach
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The Fainting Neighbor    

The Fainting Neighbor

Two of my kids had just headed out the door, and suddenly, my oldest one runs back in, screaming, “Ima! A lady fell down in the parking lot!”


Thank G-d the three weeks are over. Some of you are probably like, “What three weeks?” You know, the three weeks of summer when the kids are home and there’s no camp and nothing to do and it’s too hot to go outside and everyone’s fighting in the house and demanding food at all hours of the day and I’m going to lose my miiiiiinnnnnddddd!!!! Okay, so it wasn’t all true. They were still in school half a day. But it was the three weeks between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, which are historically very terrible, inauspicious, and horrible times in Jewish history.


The last nine days are when you’ve got to pray for extra spiritual protection, because it is a time of severe spiritual judgment. I know. You’re thinking, “Why couldn’t she tell us before?” Yeah, I would be angry too, if I didn’t know. Think of it as a heads-up for next year. But hopefully we won’t have this issue next year, because the Moshiach will be here and there will be no more weeks of mourning.


Speaking of mourning, let me tell you what happened the other morning. I was getting the kids’ lunches ready for their last day of school, which, incidentally, everyone woke up early for. Two of my kids had just headed out the door, and suddenly, my oldest one runs back in, screaming, “Ima! A lady fell down in the parking lot!”. I dropped what I was doing, and David and I ran out to the parking lot, with me still wearing my pajamas and throwaway kitchen gloves. Good thing my hair was covered.


We saw a sight that horrified us. My neighbor, a beautiful woman in her early ‘40’s, was semi-conscious, laying on the ground, with her face turned sideways on the wheel of a bike that was on the floor. Her entire body suddenly gave out and she apparently fainted. I called her name and tried to move her, but I couldn’t tell if she was totally here or not. She seemed to be passing in and out of consciousness. I ran to get the phone and once outside again, dialed the ambulance.


Then her husband came upstairs and told me I could hang up. I quickly gathered that this was something they knew about. The next thing I knew, he was dragging her into my house, because we’re on street level. We lay her down on my reclining couch to recover. Except recovery wasn’t so quick. She squirmed around, not really aware, but in pain, crying, wanting to throw up, and in just plain agony.


I watched helplessly, frustrated that I couldn’t help her, frustrated that I didn’t know what was wrong with her, and feeling so sorry for her and her family. This is such a beautiful family, a real model of what it means to be well-rounded, educated, strongly Torah-observant Israeli Jews. My family is a circus in comparison, complete with monkeys swinging from the ceiling fixtures and the car that endless clowns keep coming out of.


My question isn’t why Hashem is letting this happen. I will never know. That’s not the point of this article. The point is related to what happened the Shabbat, the week, and the many, many months before. It seems that this past summer, with my oldest one turning into an impossible almost-teenager, and the school days being almost nonexistent, plus all of the extra work I’ve taken on, have added up to a lot of pressure.


And a lot of pressure means a lot of stress. Which means a lot of complaining. A lot. It’s too hard, I can’t take it anymore, why are these kids so impossible, why can’t my husband help me more, why do I have to clean up and do dishes 50 times a day, why, why, whyyyy????


Continued in Rude Awakening...




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