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A Plea: From A Daughter’s Heart To The Reader’s Heart



Dear Rachel,

I’ve been debating long and hard about submitting this letter to your column. In fact, I started writing it around Chanukah time and kept adding to it (in handwritten notations, believe it or not), wondering whether I would ever bother sending it. With my calendar now letting me know that it’s already Chodesh Adar, I’ve decided to take the plunge before I lose my nerve.

Our communities are, baruch Hashem flourishing, with the mageifa lockdown and restrictions seemingly an almost distant memory. Wonderful chesed organizations, their vibrancy palpable in our midst and beyond, are doing what they do best: heeding the calls of Yiddishe neshamas in pain… round the clock… 24/7… Thank You Hashem!

* * * * *


Does anyone today still possess a landline phone? You know, those klutzy ancient contraptions that come with individual cordless handsets, strategically placed for convenient use? Serious question (intended sarcasm aside). I myself know many who only possess wireless phones (mobile, cell, whatever they are called, depending on country of usage).

How about e-mail access? No-brainer. How can we possibly exist in this world without sending and receiving email? (You’d be surprised.) One thing we might all be in agreement with: the vast majority of us are still receiving postal mail.

Let’s talk about my neighbor “Leeba.” Leeba’s parents, whom society casually refers to as senior citizens, are b’chasdei Hashem, self-sufficient and living comfortably on their own. They do their own shopping, cooking, and even pay their own bills. All the same, Leeba’s mom will not hesitate to ask her daughter (who lives closest to her parents) for help when she needs clarification on something, anything.

Leeba’s parents have also been blessed with a keen instinct to discern, for the most part, when to ignore their ringing landline. Or mobile phone, for that matter. So far so good, right?

How many of you reading this have counted, literally counted, the number of daily email charity, tzedakah solicitations (for one worthy cause after another) crowding your “personal space?” Leeba lost count at a staggering 200-plus over one recent weekend, upon their return from a Shabbos simcha! (E-mail was, intentionally, not logged into from Thursday p.m. till Monday a.m.)

Whenever Leeba and her siblings speak to their parents, either on their landline, or wireless, their animated (or serious) discussion invariably gets sidelined; concentration disrupted, excitement dissipated. These so-called robocalls – with their IDs displaying Yiddish names, such as Moshe Schwartz, David Weiss; or names of cities, familiar or far-flung – do not differentiate appropriate from inappropriate, early morning or late night… you get the picture.

No, Mom is not obsessive or paranoid when she says “let me just see who that is” – she simply does not wish to miss a call from a close friend or relative. Yes, she knows about “call block” and that there are only so many “calls” that can be blocked.

Wait, I haven’t yet gotten to the mail part. The postal kind. No sooner have Leeba’s parents mailed out a check to one of the chesed organizations they’ve proudly supported for decades, than a colorful auction brochure of same is wedged into their mailbox.

Leeba’s mom dutifully sets aside all their tzedakah solicitation mail of any given week, until Thursday afternoon – erev Shabbos Kodesh – when she is forced to make that guilt-inducing decision: to donate or to ignore. Inevitably, many of these luring envelopes are tucked into a “maybe” drawer.

Leeba confided a big family secret to me the other day: She and her siblings plan to kidnap their parents from their home for the entire Purim. Their dad, more the laid-back type who is content with immersing himself in a sefer or scanning the pages of a “kosher” newspaper, won’t be too resistant. Their mom, however, is a different story. She enjoys staying home, puttering with the pretty mishloach manos they receive, and loves doling out the single dollars and shiny coins she prepares for this special day – along with her homemade hamantaschen and banana cake she has individually wrapped, all ready to go from their compact freezer.

Not to fear. “Kidnap” actually means the Royal Treatment. Like, “This time it’s our turn to wine and dine our dear parents … this year you will be our honor guests at our Purim seudah for a change… No worries, you will be enjoying Purim in luxury – no fuss, no mess. It’s on us. And of course you won’t deprive us of this huge mitzvah.”

Foolproof plan? Long as Leeba can intercept this issue of The Jewish Press their parents have subscribed to for countless of years now.

Thank you all, seriously, for listening.


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