T

he dust had finally begun to settle. The initial buzz that accompanies the publishing of a new book had abated.

Now it was time for my family and me to sit on the couch Friday night after the seudah and slowly and scrupulously peruse and savor every word of my newly published book, Shul with a View.

It was my wife (who else?) who first perceived the omission. Her alert mind first took notice not of what the book contained but rather of what it omitted.

I had promised my family that all my children would be mentioned in the book. Some would have only cameo appearances, and some would be featured attractions. One way or other, all their names, I claimed, would appear in my book.

As we analyzed every word, it soon became apparent that my promise had been too hastily made. Some pieces had been edited out of the original manuscript I submitted.

After Shabbos I immediately called my good friend and confidant, Rabbi Gedaliah Zlotowitz, head of the first-rate publishing house, ArtScroll.

Rabbi Zlotowitz was entirely receptive to my words. He patiently explained the accepted practice with all of their books, which are edited to present the most creative, literary, and engaging books possible. He gently reminded me that I had been presented with the last draft, which would go to print, and I had approved it.

He was absolutely right.

Unfortunately, due to my wife’s hurting her arm, I had quickly thumbed through the final version without bothering to take the time to read every word.

As is true in most cases, the only place to actually find fault was in the face of the person who stares back at me from the mirror.

My friend Reb Gedaliah guided me to the realization that their editing enhanced the manuscript, to make a final product that is a work of beauty, and to ensure that no two pieces in the book teach identical lessons. Removing these pieces genuinely improved the final product and transformed the final printed version into a stunning work of literary achievement. Rabbi Zlotowitz patiently explained that this was the greatness and creative editing talent of ArtScroll publications, and properly readjusted my entire perspective.

As I concluded the phone call, my emotional state soared from being initially disgruntled, to now being reassured and ecstatic.

I now understood why the pieces had been taken out. Yet I still wondered, as I looked at the six articles that didn’t make it in — what would become of them? Would they be relegated to the trash bin of literary history?

It was my wife, of course — my ezer k’negdo — whose perfect words had the effect of a medicinal balm. They set my mind entirely at ease and at peace.

She simply said, “Baruch Hashem, now you already have six great pieces for your next book!”

As the wisest of all men said, “A wise woman builds her home…”

Shlomo HaMelech certainly had my wife in mind.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Issue 735)