It was a wonderful, almost surreal, occasion; our baby, now twenty-two, baruch Hashem, just had a baby of her own! Today was her delectable little prince’s bris, and b’ezrat Hashem, in three weeks time, we would celebrate his pidyon haben!
Baruch Hashem the mohel was a very pleasant and calming presence, and far more importantly, an expert in the art of milah. Everything went smoothly, and although it was an erev Shabbos, we had the foresight to hire a caterer, so the set-up, service, and clean-up were practically stress-free.
In fact, virtually the only thing that marred an almost perfectly simchadik and nachasdik experience, was a jarring experience that I could never have foreseen.
While I was chatting with our guests, some of whom were close relatives who had propitiously arrived for a visit from the United States just in time for the simcha, I noticed a big black spider out of the corner of my left eye!
And, as if that wasn’t bad (and creepy!) enough, that awful spider was dangling right in front of my eye, seemingly suspended on my sheitel! Horrified and incredibly embarrassed, not to mention majorly grossed-out, I hastily excused myself and ran off to find the nearest mirror.
I stood peering intently into the large mirror in the washing station just outside the bathroom, but to my utter shock and despite my best efforts, I could not catch sight of a spider crawling in my wig. After searching for a few frenzied moments with no luck in locating it, I ultimately gave up and returned to my guests.
However, almost immediately after resuming our conversation, I once again spied the frightening-looking eight-legged arthropod, ostensibly dangling from the bangs above my left eye again.
I excused myself once more, and again scurried off to the mirror to catch the nasty creature red-handed. And again it disappeared as quickly as it had materialized. I was both mortified and utterly confused.
By then my visiting relatives had grabbed a quick bite for the road and set off to maximize their limited time in the Holy Land. I felt awkward and disappointed that I had wasted my brief window of time with them by dashing off repeatedly, and I was still quite perplexed and not one iota closer to solving the mystery.
But then I shuffled off to my married kids’ tables to pay some belated attention to them and my grandchildren. This time when the irksome spider unceremoniously reappeared, however, I was less embarrassed and more determined to get to the bottom of it.
“Does anyone notice a spider hanging from my sheitel?” I cried. No one did. But a couple of my daughters-in-law quickly put two and two together. They quizzed me regarding what exactly I was seeing, and immediately concluded that the apparition was not actually in front of my eye as I perceived it, but rather inside my eye itself!
In fact, one of my young daughters-in-law is a certified optometrist, so she likewise was able to weigh in, armed with professional clinical knowledge, instead of merely hearsay or anecdotal information. And while their collective chorus calmed my fears about an eight-legged creature residing and performing calisthenics in my hair, the thought of an age-related issue with my eye was none too appealing either.
“It’s perfectly normal,” my resident optometrist assured me, “But I suggest that you schedule a visit to the eye doctor next week to have it checked out.”
After the bris, my husband and I, plus the young couple and their eight-day-old newly-minted card-carrying member of the tribe, hurried home to our apartment, and I had not a moment to spare for thoughts of spiders and eye doctors, in my mad dash to finish the Shabbos preparations in time.
But bright and early Sunday morning, I followed my daughter-in-law’s directives and contacted the nearest eye clinic. Remarkably, my husband had just discovered this particular medical office quite by ‘accident’ a few days earlier, when he scheduled a private visit to a podiatrist in that building. Not only was the eye clinic situated right up the block from my home, it was also blessedly 100% covered by my kupat cholim national insurance!
As I sat in the spacious, nicely-appointed waiting room awaiting my turn with the ophthalmologist, first for the initial consultation and later to wait out the pupil dilation process, I marveled at my unexpected good fortune.
The doctor gave me a thorough eye examination, and concluded that baruch Hashem my vision is quite good, and like my daughters-in-law had diagnosed, the spider (or perhaps spider’s web) I had seen was indeed caused by age-related changes, common in those age fifty and above, that occur when the vitreous (jelly-like substance) inside the eye becomes more liquid. The good news and the bad news.
In retrospect, or more appropriately ‘hindsight,’ which unlike me is twenty-twenty, HaKadosh Baruch Hu had orchestrated events to save me from virtually any anguish and worry whatsoever, but I foolishly blew it big time.
I only realized later, after speaking to my daughters-in-law at the end of the bris and then the eye doctors the following week, that had I only spoken of my puzzling experience to my relatives from the U.S. at the beginning of the bris, instead of repeatedly fleeing in horror, I would have known immediately what was amiss.
That very wonderful brother-in-law, who had fortuitously arrived in Israel just in time for our simcha, is a highly-respected and sought-after specialist in the field of ophthalmology and eye surgery, in practice for decades! Had I mentioned my ‘spider sighting’ to him, he could have allayed my fears from the get-go and allowed me to enjoy the simcha sans anxiety and concern.