Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Off the Derech.

Yaakov is very close with a certain chossid in our shul. This man's teenage daughter - in the sad humor of yiddish - is "frei." She's chosen not to be religious. I don't know her too well, but I see her self-destruction and I can relate.

Yesterday, after a children's rally in shul, I took my kids for pizza. I saw her walking down the street, wearing tight jeans (and a tighter halter top). I drove around the block to catch up with her. I rolled down the window. "Chaya Mushka? Is that you?" She smiled hesitantly and nodded. "I'm Mrs. Maven, remember me?" She nodded again.

"Do you know it's gimmel tammuz?" She shook her head no. "Well it is, it's the Rebbe's yahrzeit." I could tell she wanted to get away, but I plowed on. "You know, the Rebbe said that all we need is more goodness and kindness for Moshiach to come," She just stood there. "Do you want to come for pizza with us?" I blurted out. I didn't care how crazy it would be to shlep this hottie into the pizza place. She shook her head no. "I'm sorry, I just ate," she said, "and I'm going to the mall. I'm meeting people." I watched her go.

Maybe it's for the best that she didn't come. How would I explain her to my kids? And not just my kids, but to the other moms and kids we were meeting there? How would they feel? It would be awkward, without question.

A mashpia once told me, "You're full of chesed, but you don't have the keilim." In other words, I'm kind - but I don't have the tools to actualize the kindness. I want to help her, but I'm not sure how. And I'm not sure I have the ability to, either.


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