Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: My Beautiful Esrog Case

I have a rebbi and rebbitzin in shalom bayis.  They've been married for more decades than the years my oldest grandchild has been in this world.  I walk my rebbi home on Shabbos and he more often than not he tells me how good HaShem has been to him by giving him the best wife in the world.  When we walk in the door, she looks at him like she still can't believe she got the best bachur.  On their Heinz anniversary, I commented to the rebbitzin, "Wow!  57 years and not one fight?"  She answered with a big smile, "That's right. Not one fight!"

I never had an esrog case till last year.  Since our wedding didn't happen according to the usual orthodox sequence of things, we didn't really know about which presents the chasson and kallah are supposed to give each other and at what juncture; and neither of our parents were providing any assistence, for that matter.  It didn't really bother me, but it certainly was on my "nice to have list".  Since I am not close to through my "need to have list", I didn't expect to see one any time soon.  Last year, though, my wife presented me with a beautiful esrog case just before yontif.  "But things are tight... we decided not to get each other presents this year, right?", I said (a little worriedly).  "Yes," she told me, "but I saved up tip money and I asked a friend who was going to Israel to get it for me, and it didn't cost all that much... Do you like it?"  It was stunning, and I told her so; polished wood with silver plate ornamentation -- really stunning.  There was an extra dimension of simcha last year when I bought my esrog, knowing that it was going to spend the week in a much nicer setting than that cardboard box.

My expectations were entirely justified.  So cool to look over my shtender and see that stunning esrog case.  The first two days of Yom Tov anyway.  Then Shabbos; no esrog case, of course.  Then Sunday came.  I was leaving for beis medrash juggling lulav, sefer, coffee cup, car keys, and esrog box while trying to lock the door.  I don't juggle well, but I still managed to drop only one thing.  The esrog box.  Ever see those movies where all of the sudden everything is moving in slow motion?  That's not what this looked like.  I watched my new esrog case hurling at full speed to the concrete porch.  It did exactly what you think; box hit, lid went flying one direction, esrog another.  The esrog was fine.  The esrog case was, mercifully, in only two big pieces; lid and container.  Besides, of course, all the dings and gouges that marred the finish.  Concrete is not friendly to polished wood surfaces.

Davening was a blur that morning.  Driving home a bigger blur.  I had no excuses.  I hadn't even made it through one Sukkos with my new esrog box, received as a surprise gift from my wife who as used her own, off budget money to get me something she thought I deserved.  And I had broken it by not being careful.  This was almost worse that malicious, it seemed to declare, "You are just not important to me."  I was prepared for the worst as I entered the house.

I showed her the esrog box.  She said,"Don't worry about it; accidents happen."  With full sincerity.  In fact, her main concern was for how I felt having a broken esrog box.  There was not the slightest sensation that we were dealing with anything other than a broken esrog box.

Every relationship comes with disagreements.  All the more so a marriage.  Every marriage comes with fights.  There are fights that hurt the participants and fights that break down barriers.  When I fixed the esrog box, I asked my wife if we could leave the dings and gouges as testament to the fights that broke all those barriers to shalom bayis.  She agreed.

You should come by to see my esrog box; it's beautiful beyond description.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…