Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mikvah Mortification

Why do these things always happen to me? I'll explain shortly.

Well, I didn't make it to the Bloggers convention last night for various reasons.

1) I was sporting a serious case of Cankles. For some reason, my feet just ballooned yesterday to the point where my ankles were sore to the touch and I could hardly stand. I just couldn't be seen in that condition, and sitting with my feet down would have been really, really painful.

2) I accidentally left my cell phone off for 24 hours and never got the call from my friend Slightly Mad who was supposed to be my event "wingwoman." I don't know why I didn't reach for the phone to call her myself, I guess I just assumed since I hadn't heard from her that she was blowing off the convention so I figured I could do the same. I finally realized my cell was off around 9:30 p.m. last night and, when I turned it back on, there were two messages from her. I think she's, well, Slightly Mad at me now for not showing and I feel awful that I missed her calls. Hopefully she'll forgive me sooner rather than later.

3) I saw that they added a political speaker to the program and I was not pleased. Not that I couldn't listen to Bibi Netanyahu speak, yet again, but was this really the appropriate forum for him? This blog tends to avoid all Israeli politics - and sometimes the American ones - for a reason. I just think there's a time and a place for political speeches. Seeing him on the program just completely turned me off. I would have much rather they turned to a "high profile" international blogger as a VIP speaker than an Israeli politician.

4) I was exhausted. My Dr. finally got back from vacation this morning and, upon reviewing my blood test results, called at 8:30 a.m. to let me know that my red blood cells are very low. So, she wrote me a prescription for iron pills and told me that I should perk up in no time at all. I'm hoping, cause this constant state of exhaustion is not fun! Anyway, I was just so tired I couldn't rally to get myself together for the conference.

I also haven't heard much feedback yet about the conference, and I really curious to know if people enjoyed it. Hopefully Slightly Mad will get back to me and let me know!

Well, yesterday was pretty busy. I did some more thesis writing, had a great conversation with my business partner about the future of two new business ventures we're pursuing and washed the crap load of dishes that were hanging out in the sink. Once Pidgeon got back home from his work day, we drove over to his Aunt and Uncle's house in Rechavia to go through boxes of books they are trying to give away.

I was not impressed with their literature tastes at all. But, I did manage to find a book by William Faulkner and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I also took all the cookbooks she wanted to get rid of, even though one of them is literally all about pork which is curious since they currently and have always kept kosher. I think that one might have to be tossed into the garbage. Oh, and I managed to save a copy of the Dr. Spock baby book. I always wanted to read that one!

Afterwards, we drove over to the Katamon Shtiebel and Mikvah to toyvel some of the things in the apartment that were in desperate need of toyveling. In particular, I had a new stainless steel set of pots and pans that I haven't been using. In fact, they've been sitting on the floor in the living room just collecting dust. Since Pidgeon's other Aunt lives nearby the Mikvah and they just returned for a month long family vacation, we thought it would be nice to stop by and welcome them home. We had a hard time finding parking arounf the Shtiebel since there is literally a Minyan there every 15 minutes and so lots of cars. But, we finally found a spot and Pidgeon and I walked the stuff over.

Now, in order to get to the area where you toyvel your pots and pans and utensils, you have to walk by the front of the Shtiebel. As we were walking through we saw a man sitting at a table with a cup in front of him. He asked me in Hebrew: 

"Efshar LaAzor?" which translated literally means Can help?

Now, depending on the speakers inflection, that's how you know if he/she is asking you if he can help YOU or if you can help THEM. 

I, of course, misread the inflection and asked him if I could go and use the Mikvah to Toyvel. I didn't realize that he was asking us for money. The man looked at me funny and then said basically, sure, go ahead and use it.

As we walked towards the Mikvah, Gaby laughed and pointed out my mistake. I was a little embarressed and felt really bad, so I told him that I would give the guy money on our way out.

We toyveled everything pretty quickly and I took out 5 shekel for the man and 10 shekel for the Mikvah. We started to head out and there were a ton of men in the courtyard. I think a Minyan was just letting out and one was just starting. We kept walking and Pidgeon spied the Shul's Gabbai. Recently, when we went to visit Pidgeon's teacher from Yeshiva,  he asked us to send his regards to this man if we should ever see him. Since Pidgeon is just such a great guy, he decided to stop the Gabbai and send his regards. While they were speaking, I walked over to the table where the man was sitting and tossed my 5 shekel into his cup. I walked back to Pidgeon and the Gabbai turned to me and said:

What you did was wrong and a bad thing. You should never give someone asking for Tzedakah. You did nothing good right now. Don't ever do it again.

At first, I thought he was kidding. But then, I realized that he was dead freaking serious. 

I was mortified. 

All these men were looking at me, I was just so embarressed.

And then I got pissed.

How DARE he embaress me like that? What is WRONG with that man? Who the hell is he to tell me how I can or cannot spend my money? 

I fought back the tears as we walked to the car and vented the whole way to Pidgeon, while spewing out a slew of curse words at the Gabbai for making me feel so terrible in public.

I tried to think back to my Michlalah days and, for the life of me, I could have sworned I learned once that it's more of a Mitzvah to give a person asking for money than to send a check to an organization. The very reason being that it's shameful to personally ask someone for money - face to face - and that you don't want to cause additional embarressment to the person asking for money.

I also remember learning that age old Jewish adage about public embarressment of an individual is worse than spilling blood.

During our visit with Pidgeon's Aunt, Uncle and family, I felt awful and just fumed. We stayed for a little over an hour and caught up and then we drove back home. I was so upset that I asked Pidgeon to just order in dinner, I had no strength to cook. We called Joy Express and got hamburgers for dinner and then we just vegged out in front of the TV. I was still aggravated when I went to bed that, at 1:30 a.m., I called my parents to talk about the situation. 

My Mom was great, she calmed me down and basically agreed that the Gabbai should have been ashamed of himself for embarressing a pregnant woman in public like that. And, that I should never feel bad about giving Tzedakah - ever. After a few minutes, I was finally ready to get to sleep, and I was able to crawl into bed and sleep the rest of the night.

Today has been busy but also relaxing. I managed to get up with Pidgeon around 8:00 a.m. and, on my own, called in the fruit and vegetable order at Gil's on Derech Beit Lechem. I was so proud of myself! Granted, I called Pidgeon first to ask him for Hebrew names of some of the fruits I didn't know, but I did the whole call in Hebrew and that made me feel pretty impressed with myself. After a quick breakfast, I relaxed in front of the TV and somehow fell back to sleep! I woke up an hour later and decided that I better keep moving otherwise I would fall back to sleep again.

I was dressed and had all the dishes washed by the time Pidgeon got back from his course in Tel Aviv. The fruits and vegee delivery arrived about 30 minutes later and I cooked us up a quick dinner. Now, we're basically just waiting for the HOT technicians to come and then we're off to do our grocery shopping. Tonight, we have a movie date, which means I'm going to have to do all the Shabbos cooking tomorrow. Fortunately, the days are still long so I should be able to get everything done in time. We're going to be laying low this weekend, which will be nice, since we could just use a relaxing weekend together.

Yom Tov from Baka!


Not Mad! said...

Honey- I'm not mad!!! I just missed you...but I knew lots of people there, and I wrote a post-post about the conference, if you want to read it...

Shabbes x

arnie draiman said...

a) if you want to feel real good about giving tzedakah....try:

and read about mitzvah heroes there and at:

b) how can you veg out eating hamburgers???? i think that this is an oxymoron!

arnie draiman