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The Master Plan: Scripted To Perfection

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Please do not tell my husband – but even he is not perfect. He certainly has many wonderful qualities. He is a well-liked, sought-after and highly respected rabbi and educator. And he’s definitely a mensch. Our youngest son even refers to him as “awesome.” But perfect? To the best of my knowledge, there is only One who is perfect. And, frankly, we mere humans need not apply.

The area in which my husband’s lack of perfection is most apparent is his faulty memory. This is not a case of memory lapses or senior moments associated with approaching middle age. In his case, it is part and parcel of his persona. Sometimes I find it frustrating, even exasperating. Other times, I think it is amusing – if not downright hysterical.

As I have written repeatedly, I consider myself very fortunate to live in the Holy Land. To compound my good fortune I reside in a lovely neighborhood, where my family and I feel very much at home. And to further illustrate my mazel, I am blessed with numerous opportunities to hear shiurim and participate in enriching activities throughout the community.

I am privileged to attend a Rosh Chodesh shiur, hosted by a neighbor, that takes place practically next door to me. Unless I have a family simcha or an unbreakable commitment elsewhere, I happily attend that shiur every month.

Our highly motivated and organized hostess devotes much time and effort toward the recruitment of excellent speakers, and a respectable number of women attend each class.

Every few months, my neighbor asks my husband to present the lecture. She generally makes her request by e-mailing me as to my husband’s availability on one of two evenings, and what the shiur’s topic will be. After receiving an affirmative reply, she prepares a flyer containing the pertinent details and e-mails it to all potential participants.

After a few false starts, she asks my better half to deliver a Tuesday or Wednesday evening Rosh Chodesh Nissan shiur. Predictably, my husband agrees and is fine with either night. But after reminding him that he steadily delivers a shiur in his shul on Tuesday nights, he chooses Wednesday, offering a topic related to the Four Sons of Haggadah fame. I e-mail the information to my friend, who sends her thanks and casually informs me that she will be away on vacation over the next few days.

In the course of a conversation shortly after this exchange, my husband mentions that he has a very critical meeting in Yerushalayim scheduled for the following Wednesday. Alarm bells begin to sound in my head. “Would that, by any chance, be the same Wednesday that you promised to give the women’s shiur?” I inquire in as even a tone as I can muster. He taps himself gently on the side of his face and starts muttering something about why this always seems to happen to him.

We decide that Tuesday is preferable after all, and he will simply have to juggle back-to-back shiurim. At least that scenario is more feasible than delivering a shiur when he is attending a meeting many miles from home.

I frantically try to contact my neighbor, but she is vacationing in England with her family and thus cannot be reached. So I send an urgent e-mail and pray that she receives it before it is too late.

As expected, while I am hyperventilating and wringing my hands, my husband is his usual unruffled self. And a day or two later, he decides to change the topic of his shiur. At that point smoke is rising from my ears and under my sheitel, but I dutifully try to reach my neighbor again. By now, she has returned from her brief trip abroad and I am able to catch her in her office. She reassures me that she has received my update and has already printed and e-mailed the flyers.

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