“Well,” I responded with conviction, “I’ll have to make sure than that you get a refill. Don’t drag it out further then Shabbos; be’H I’ll get more then.”

Then there was a loud honk from outside, and I ran out the door.


One afternoon a few days later, Duvi’s father called me aside and spoke to me gently. “I know you enjoy giving the kids treats,” he said, “and we all appreciate it a lot. But for chinuch reasons, we have a policy to ask people not to give the children gifts. If you want to give them something, you can ask my wife or me directly, and we decide to give it to them if appropriate. It’s nothing personal,” he assured me. “Just a chinuch decision for several reasons.”

I was crestfallen.

“We want the kids to appreciate you for you, Sari,” he explained kindly. “Not just for your chocolate.”

When I thought that one over, I felt a little better. I’m sure there were other reasons involved, but at least this one made me feel good. Still, I felt deprived of being able to bring something special for these kids. I wasn’t sure I cared why they’d like me. As long as they liked me.


Weeks passed. I didn’t bring anything for the kids. I tried not to mind. I didn’t see much of them anyway, so I didn’t have much opportunity. But one Friday I called the house to check before coming over, and Duvi picked up. We kibitzed a bit and then he informed me, “I still have a tiny piece of chocolate left.”  I bit my lip. How I wished I could bring some when I came over!

“Duvi,” I said, man-to-man, “I sure would love to bring you a refill. But unfortunately, I don’t think the parental committee would approve.”

Duvi got to work brainstorming. “So bring something that they can’t say no to. Something healthy. Like bread. Come by one morning with a loaf of bread, and they won’t be able to say no.”

“Yeah!” I said, warming to the idea. “We gotta start small. First bread, then maybe apples, or tuna… it may take a few years, but eventually we’ll work our way up to chocolate.”

I paused thoughtfully. “Only one problem. I don’t have a way to get there in the morning.”

“I have a bike,” Duvi offered generously. “With a basket.”

“Perfect!” I crowed.  “You can come over here and I’ll send you off with your loaf of bread. The only other alternative,” I explained, “would be for you to come here, and then we’d put you in the basket, and then I’d bike you home…. Hmmm, then how would I get back?”

This enjoyable line of conversation ended as Mother came in and took the phone from Son.

In the end, I drew a three-dimensional six-inch bar of chocolate and presented the paper to Duvi when I arrived. “Make sure to share!” I admonished him.

Well, that is sort of the end of that. No more chocolate. But I wonder…

I wonder if the children really do have a better appreciation for me when I don’t bring them things.

Something inside me yearns to bring treats for small, rosy, faces, to see those faces light with a smile, to feel the warmth of happy conversation and interaction that follows.

I wonder… is that not real…? Is the closeness that results from that… not genuine…?

And mostly, I wonder…  Was Duvi just being his smart-aleck self when he said he was saving the chocolate to think of me? Or was that the soft, sensitive inside of the child…?


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