18 Adar A 5779 / Saturday, February 23, 2019 | Torah Reading: Ki Tisa
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Girlfriend or Foe    

Girlfriend or Foe

The more you blab, the more the angels ruin your life. Don’t ask me where I read that, but it’s true, especially when you blab to someone you thought was your best girlfriend…


Anyone who knew what a wild teenager I was would not be surprised that I ran away to Brooklyn and jumped off the deep end, into a marriage that ended badly. Miri, my neighbor, would hear the shocking saga of my pending divorce for hours on end. One night she cut the phone call short. “My husband came. Gotta hang up, Sis.”


I flew off the handle. Here she was, married to a nice husband, and her kids were angels. Their tzitzit never got lost, dirty, or tangled. But I didn’t have a husband, my kids were going nuts, and she wouldn’t even listen to me?


And then she got mad. “Go talk to G-d,” she said. “He’s not too busy.” Click.


I sat on the floor and cried, not too loud because the kids were sleeping. Then I started talking.


The funny thing was, everything worked out fine with the divorce, and then out of the blue I met Nathan.


He was exactly the man I had in mind when I had spoken to G-d. Wow. I mean, he was beautiful, and real; he had a job, and a farm, and tzitzit and tefillin, and he was even a Teitelbaum, a seventh-generation grandson of the holy Yismach Moshe, and a cousin of the Satmar Rebbe.


Another neighbor, Fruma, said there had to be something wrong with this match. It was too good to be true. This stepfather was going to ruin my kids, especially since we were moving out of Brooklyn to set up house on his farm upstate.


Did we have a Torah teacher?




Did we have frum neighbors?




Did he give a diamond ring?




Fruma advised me to back out. I doubted myself but went ahead and married him anyway.


After a year, she kept at it.


You’re pregnant again?




And all the kids are home?




And you homeschool all of them?




And you’re living on bread and vegetables?




She advised me to leave.


I thought about that. If I felt happy with such a crummy life, maybe I was an idiot.


“Call me when you want to, and I’ll come and get you.” Click.


My middle son liked things as they were and advised me to stop blabbing.


I didn’t stop, though. I loved when people gave me attention. Maybe this was because I didn’t believe in myself. Maybe my neighbor knew better. After all, she was frum from birth.


But blabbing creates destructive angels. The more you blab, the more the angels ruin your life. Don’t ask me where I read that, but it’s true. Something horrible happened. The Friday before Chanukah, I asked Nathan to buy me some seaweed. He said it was too expensive. I could just hear my next conversation with Fruma, and I flew off the handle. When Nathan left, I called my neighbor and said, “Come and get me.”


She arrived in a van. I packed up and got in with the kids. She gave me a notebook and pen to write down all my complaints. I wrote a long list, and she dropped us off at separate homes in Boro Park, where we stayed for Shabbat.


The following night, officers arrived at the homes where my children had been guests and took my kids in their pajamas to the police station for questioning, sparked by my very own list of complaints.


No one could tell me how to get them back.


I went completely nuts. It was crazy; unbelievable; a nightmare. My new life had been a heavenly miracle created from prayers. When I said “Fruma, you’re right. This is too good to be true”, the miracle blew up in my face.


Rabbi Shalom Arush says in his book The Garden of Gratitude: “The Choice is ours—emuna or no emuna, Heaven or purgatory.”


At lightning speed, I called Nathan, who hadn’t known where I was. “Nathan,” I said, “please forgive me.” I told him what happened. I thanked G-d for bringing me back to my senses.


It was like my father of blessed memory used to say: “stop crying or I’ll give you what to cry about.”


It works the other way around too. Thank Daddy Universe even when you get nothing, and He’ll give you something to thank Him for.


On the eve of the following Shabbat, right before the eighth candle of Chanukah, we got the kids back.


Now get this: what is Chanukah about, anyway?


--thanking G-d for the miracles.


G-d had done something fantastic for me. All I had to do was say thank you.


And when Fruma calls, I tell her, “Go talk to G-d. He’s not too busy.” Click.



* * *

Alizah Teitelbaum's stories have appeared in Hamodia, Ami, Mishpacha, the Voice of Lakewood, The Jewish Press, and other places. She serves as fiction and poetry editor for https://sassonmag.com/ and blogs at http://alizahteitelbaum.weebly.com/blog . She lives on a mirage in the Negev Desert.

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