Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chapter 25: Before Shavuos

There was a kit for sale. Cheese, cookie crumbs, topping, all wrapped up neatly in a plastic tub, instructions included. It was tempting.

She already had a cheesecake recipe, waiting at home, torn out from this week's Mishpacha. The ingredients she needed were listed on the back of the envelope, tucked in the purse somewhere, if only she could find it.

The recipe had looked good, when she'd read it. But the half-the-work -done-for-you kit would be less work, less of a bother. It was double the price the ingredients would cost stand alone though. And it wouldn't come out as good. Besides, she made a cheesecake every year for Shavuos, she loved baking. What had gotten into her?

She wondered what would happen if she went home, without the ingredients? What would happen if she didn't make a cheesecake? What would happen if she stayed home, and didn't go to Shul? Could she pretend it wasn't Yom Tov? Could she ignore the date, and wait for it to be over?

Shavuos was the spiritual start of the year. Shavuos was the day when Hashem decided how much help with Torah he'd give you the next year, the same way that on Rosh Hashana he decided on the material stuff. But Brachy still wished it was over. How had she ever had the energy, for the Shiurim and the Mussar books, the praying and the learning?

Brachy used to worry that she wasn't really religious. Did she really believe in God? How could she know if she did? She read books, written specially for teenagers, about faith, and belief. She read books about the truth of the Torah, and proofs of the existence of God. She wanted to believe. But she didn't know how she felt deep inside. She couldn't tell. What would happen, if she was tested?

So it had been a relief, in a way. Going through the worst, and seeing that she did believe in him.

God had been there with her then, with them all. One week, spent by a hospital bed. One week, in the hospital's Intensive care. Brachy had felt him then. If she shut her eyes and blocked out the world, she could still remember. It was the hardest week of her life, but God had been there, he'd wrapped himself around her, and comforted her, and made her strong.

Now it was over, and she was on her own again. Daddy was gone, God was gone, she was left to cope. Year after year, Shavuos following Pesach. Would the cycle of festivities never end? She tried to bring back the feelings of faith, of assurance, that she'd had in the year of mourning, but the emptiness, hollowness, stayed.

Trust Sara Leah to call for a chat when Brachy was surrounded on all sides by impatient shoppers. She managed to hold the phone with one hand, and push the cart with the other.

"Where will you be for Yom Tov?"

"At home."

They always asked her that question. It started when Daddy died. They expected her to go away for Yom Tov, go somewhere where there was a man at the head of the table. As if now her family was no longer a family, her home no longer a home.
She was creating a traffic jam in the drinks aisle. "I'll talk to you later Sara Leah, OK?"

The Yahrzeit candles, she mustn't forget them. What aisle were they in?

This time the phone gave only a short beep; it was a text message, not a phone call. Avner had started texting her in between classes. He wanted her to see a new movie with him tomorrow night, when Yom Tov was out. Didn't he realize that she didn't watch movies? She couldn't do a thing like that of course.

Brachy dropped a handful of Yahrzheit candles into the cart. Enough for them all to light tonight.

In front of the fridges, Brachy reached out and took a cheesecake kit. It would be easier.

Disclaimer: I have a messy room. It took me two hours to tidy it today. While I was hanging up clothes I thought about this scene, and tried to bring it to life. Why am I telling you all this? Because, flattering as it is when my story sounds real, this is NOT a true story, and Brachy is NOT me. Glad we cleared that up..
Happy Shavuos everyone!


  1. You, my dear, are truly gifted. Please let us know when your book comes out.

  2. When did Brachy give Avner her number? I think he gave his number to her. Did she call him or something?

  3. "God was gone"?

    Hester panim . . .

  4. You are a very good writer and I am not even Jewish :)

  5. Tesyaa- Gosh you're right. In my head I'd fast forwarded a few weeks, but guess that deserves a chapter!

  6. From the descriptions at the start of the chapter, it sounds like Brachy is running a house, not a single girl