The fantastic life of twins, triplets, and more!
Pesach is a Yom Tov of numbers. Four cups of wine, four sons, Ten Makkos, and of course, six babies born at once. Imagine having so many siblings who are your age! Well, some people out there don’t need to imagine what it would be like. They were born with a friend and playmate — or two, or three, or four!
Double the Fun
Who hasn’t dreamed of having a twin sister or brother? Of always having someone to play with, or talk to? Not a bossy older sister or an annoying younger brother — just someone who is your age. But what’s it really like to actually have a twin? Is it really as great as it seems? Let’s see what some twins have to say about their real-life experiences as twins.
Shaina and Tzipporah Hecht — Identical twin girls
Once, in high school, the principal called one of the twins into her office and gave her a really important job. You might expect her twin to be totally jealous, but she wasn’t! She was just happy for her sister. (Shaina and Tzipporah are pretty sure the principal didn’t really know the difference between the two sisters, and just picked one of the two at random!)
When they were babies, they rolled over for the first time on the same day, they crawled on the same day, and they even took their first steps on the same day!
As they grew up, their mother wanted to make sure that they each developed their own identity, so she sent them to different schools. This meant that for years they lost out on the opportunity to cash in on the twins thing — at least in school. Of course, had they thought of it, they could have switched schools….
There are all sorts of perks to having a twin, like having someone to go to camp with every summer. Tzipporah was always the more outgoing twin, while Shaina was always pretty quiet. Shaina had a blast in camp, though, because if you come with a guaranteed friend, it doesn’t really matter if you’re quiet.
Once, Shaina was talking to a friend who asked her, “If you had to be someone else, who would you want to be?”
Shaina replied, “Like who? Tzipporah?”
“No. You and Tzipporah are like the same person. Someone else.”
Umm… really? They’re the same person? But that’s how people who don’t know them relate to them.
Moishy and Shiffy Silver — What happens if the twins are a boy and girl?
Some people ask these twins the funniest questions. Sometimes, Shiffy will mention that she has a twin who is a boy. A common reaction is “Are you identical?” Do you see why that’s a funny question? Identical means everything about them is exactly the same; a boy and a girl can never be identical! So now you know not to make that mistake….
The best part of being a twin would probably be the birthday parties. After all, if you’re making a party for two, you’re going to make it that much bigger. And what could be cuter than two little faces so proud that it is their birthday?
As a baby, Shiffy found being a twin to be a huge advantage. After all, if her pacifier got lost, she always had a spare — in her twin’s mouth!
When one twin is a boy and one twin is a girl, things are bound to be different. But these twins think the differences make it better! While twins who are of the same gender have a natural competition between them, twins who are not can just have the closeness. They have a built-in friend but automatically have their own identity as well. All friendship, no fighting. How about that!
Most people think that there are two kinds of twins — identical and non-identical, also known as fraternal. Did you know there is another kind as well? Semi-identical. These are twins who share the same genes from their mother, but got different genes from their father. Twins who are semi-identical are so rare that there are only two known cases in history.
Have you ever heard of mirror twins? That’s when identical twins are mirror images of each other. If one has a freckle on her right cheek, the other will have it on her left. And if one is right-handed, the other may be left-handed.
A number of years ago, there were twin boys who became bar mitzvah a month apart and the younger one’s bar mitzvah was first. How? Well, the boys were born in Adar, on a leap year. The older brother was born on the last day of the first Adar, while his younger brother was born a short time later, after the sun had already set, making it the first day of the second Adar. Since their bar mitzvah fell out on a year with only one Adar, the younger twin had his bar mitzvah on the first day of Adar, while his older twin brother had to wait until the last day of Adar!
Triple the Trouble
Sara, Tammy, and Yitzchok Cohen
Two’s company, three’s a crowd, or so they say. But does that apply to triplets too?
If you thought twins turned heads — just picture triplets! Come on — three cute little babies lined up in a stroller one next to the other. (Even if that stroller looks like a truck and barely fits down the block.) Did you ever wonder what it’s like to be a triplet? Well, don’t ask the Cohen trio. You see, they have no idea what it feels like not to be a triplet!
They might have different personalities, but Sara, Tammy and Yitzchok are a great team. As toddlers they’d use each one’s strengths to pack a super trouble punch. One would plan, another would execute, and the third would come along for the ride!
Telepathy? Definitely! The triplets know what each other is thinking all the time, although they would say it’s just because they know each other so well and have so many shared experiences.
Yehudis, Chayala, and Toby Goldberg
Triplets are pretty rare. There are about one set of triplets in every 4,000 babies born! But Yehudis, Chayala, and Toby are not just triplets — they are identical, and that’s even rarer. In fact, a set of identical triplets is so rare that they are probably one of the only sets of frum identical triplets in the world! (If you know of another set, let us know!) They look so alike that even their own babies cannot tell them apart!
When they were babies, their mother would be pushing a double carriage and someone would stop and ask, “Twins?” Nope, she would answer — gesturing to her husband, who was pushing the third. Both parents would turn around to watch the person’s reaction. “No way — triplets?!” It worked every time.
The triplets wore matching clothes until fourth grade. People would stop their cars to look!
When they were younger, Yehudis, Chayala, and Toby would often be lumped together as if they were one person. For example, some friends gave them one mishloach manos for the three of them to share. How can three girls share a lollipop?
Ironically, Yehudis is married to an identical twin named Nachum. When Chayala met Nachum’s twin and started a conversation, she warned him, “I’m Chayala, not Yehudis,” to which he responded, “That’s okay, I’m Shalom, not Nachum!”
If this sounds confusing, read it again slowly.
Oftentimes one of the triplets will bump into a stranger who is her sister’s friend. There’s quite a lot of explaining to do when that “friend” feels hurt because her good friend (who is really not her good friend — it is her friend’s identical triplet) just ignored her….
Yehudis, Chayala and Toby have a great sense of fun. In camp they switched bunks for a whole day, two years in a row, only telling some close friends who could tell them apart. Were their counselors surprised when they told them who they really were at the end of the day!
Esti, Ahron, Rachel, and Sara Feldman
If you are a multiple, don’t make the same mistake Sara and Tammy did. For an activity in day camp, they dressed up as Siamese twins. It may have been funny for the rest of the camp, but Tammy and Sara ended up in a huge fight. They were just way too close for comfort!
When Sara and Tammy let friends know that they are a part of triplets, most people think it’s really cool. Yitzchok’s friends, on the other hand, move on pretty quickly. Apparently, boys aren’t really fazed by these things.
Even if they don’t look alike, having three siblings who are the same age can lead to all sorts of mix-ups. When Sara got a new passport, she found her brother’s social security number on it. And when, as a baby, one of the triplets was sick, their mother gave the medicine to the wrong twin. I wonder how that worked out….
Guess what? Being a quad is exactly what you imagined it to be. Four friends who live in your house, sleepovers every night, someone to save you when no one laughs at your not-funny joke. Even Ahron, the only boy, rarely needed to invite friends over on Shabbos when they were young because he had his sisters!
Of course, living with your best friends all the time has its downsides. When the quads were about ten, they fought so much that their mother needed to tape lines in their closets so they wouldn’t invade each other’s space. Their mother davened really hard that they would get along and learned seforim on shalom with them. It looks like it worked….
A set of quads is a lot of kids. Half the size of an average family! But even though there are so many of them, being a quad still makes them closer to each other than regular siblings are. They go through everything together, and are at the same age and stage during each event. So even though they’re not identical, their experiences are pretty similar!
When they went away with their family, the three girls really stuck together, but in school they had their own friends. Of course, some friends would overlap and that could get sticky. What if your friend was way better friends with your sister? Would you be insulted if she invited your sister to play and left you out? For the Feldman quads, this happened all the time. But for the most part they had their own friends and learned not to get insulted.
Seminary was a really big challenge for the Feldman quads. They each went to different seminaries since they are each very different. For the first time in their lives, they were really apart. So even though they saw each other once a week and spoke on the phone, they had a really hard time. And then there was the fact that wherever they went, friends of friends wanted to meet the famous quads….
To be born with a friend… ahhh. After hearing from all these multiples, I think everyone would agree — if you could choose it, you would be born a multiple too. Now if only we could ask the Yidden in Mitzrayim how that worked for them….
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 854)
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