| A Promise Kept |

Just in Time

Ayala, I try reasoning with myself. You have two options. You can either get to work making phone calls or you can cry

It’s seven days after the birth of my beautiful boy. He’ll be having a bris tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., but I notice the baby seems a bit yellow.

I immediately call a nurse who checks for jaundice. “His numbers are high, but not too high to delay the bris. We just need to make sure they don’t go higher or else you won’t be able to have the bris tomorrow morning.”

Upon hearing that, I panic. I think of the hall, the caterer, the photographer, and the many guests who are planning on coming. Most of all, I think of my grandfather who has flown in to Israel from the US for three days to be sandek. My husband looks at my face. “It’s no use stressing, all we can do is daven and hope,” he tells me.

I get a sefer Tehillim, open it, stare at the letters, and then, unable to focus, close it. This is no use, I think, and put it back on the shelf.

Near the Tehillim, I notice the silver tzedakah box. I eye it for a moment and then decide I’m going to give tzedakah in the zechus that the bris will be on time.

Sleep doesn’t come that night. Prince Charming’s color seems to be changing by the moment — and not for good. At 6:00 a.m. I look at the big black circles under my eyes and thank the person who invented under-eye concealer.

At 6:30 a.m., the nurse comes to check the baby. At 6:33 a.m. the bris is officially postponed.

Ayala, I try reasoning with myself. You have two options. You can either get to work making phone calls or you can cry.


I opt for the second option. After a few minutes, red eyes and all, I start making phone calls and sending out WhatsApp messages and e-mails.

The nurse instructs us to have the baby checked again at 3:00 p.m. to see where his numbers are holding. After a very stressful morning, she returns, checks him, looks up, and smiles widely.

“His numbers are just fine! You can have the bris today!” I stare back at her, not quite sure what I want at this point. The first thing we do is call the mohel, who says, “Great! It’s 3:15 now. Since shkiah is at 4:30, we can have the bris in exactly an hour!”

My husband hangs up, and we both stare at each other, not quite believing we have but one hour to pull a bris together. I quickly call the hall, caterer, and photographer, who all apologize and say they’re booked for simchahs that evening.

I hang up and consider crying again but realize there’s no time for that. I call a fleishig takeout store and ask them to send over everything they’d made fresh that day. Next, I look around at my dining room which had hosted a shalom zachar 48 hours before and looked, well, like it had hosted a shalom zachar.

Somehow I manage to get the house looking presentable, the table set, and to apply some much- needed makeup to my pale face. At 3:50 p.m. I look at the clock and realize the older kids are still in school and need to be picked up.

I don’t remember to whom I owe the thanks for picking them up, but they somehow get home and even into Shabbos clothing by 4:15. This is despite the fact that my son came home from school running a fever, and that we forgot to buy rolls or bread to wash on and need to run to the makolet to buy simple lachmaniot.

It’s a beautiful simchah. People keep on coming until late at night to wish us mazel tov and take home some of the leftover schnitzel and chicken sitting on my counter in a huge pile. (Note: Never tell a takeout store to send everything they have, you might get stuck with leftovers until the baby’s bar mitzvah).

At around 10:00 p.m., I close the front door, look at my brother and his friends who are stacking chairs and doing dishes, at my husband doing sponja, and sink down on the couch, utterly exhausted. My husband looks up. “Why don’t you go to bed?”

I nod, blissfully thinking of my pillow. I start heading down the hallway when something catches my eye: a few coins and a bill. I’d forgotten to act on my promise!

I drop the money in the tzedakah box next to my Tehillim before I stumble back down the hallway and off to sleep.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 688)

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