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The Eternal Optimist

“My sister’s coworker knows a boy. He’s single.” “That’s exactly what Nechama’s looking for!” says Tatty

DISCLAIMER: The family featured in this article insists they’re fictional.

The phone rings. Tatty picks up.

“I hear you have an older single daughter,” says the stranger.

“Nechama’s 25,” corrects Tatty.

“Exactly!” says the lady. “My sister’s coworker knows a boy. He’s single.”

“That’s exactly what Nechama’s looking for!” says Tatty.

“I heard he’s nice,” says the shadchan.

“Incredible!” says Tatty. “Sounds like a perfect shidduch!”

“Great,” says the shadchan. “Send me her résumé. I’ll redt it.”


The phone rings. It’s the shadchan. “He said yes!”

Mommy groans. “More busywork.”

Nechama groans. “More disappointment.”

Leah Hadassah groans. “More cleaning.”

Tatty whoops, “Nechama’s getting engaged!”

Mommy grudgingly prints out the résumé. Nechama schleps out to buy a new pair of flats. Leah Hadassah vows this is the last time she’ll help clean the house before a date. Tatty informs all his siblings about the upcoming simchah.


Two days pass.

“How’s the research coming along?” Tatty wants to know. “Have you made any calls? He sounded like such a great guy!”

“Fine,” says Mommy, digging up the résumé from her well-chosen hiding spot. “I’ll make the calls.”

She disappears with the phone and a notebook. When she reappears, she has a grumpy look on her face.

Tatty grabs the notebook and skims the information.

“He sounds way off the mark,” says Mommy.

“He sounds perfect!” says Tatty.

“Ummm,” says Nechama.

“So you’ll go out, right?” asks Tatty.

Mommy sighs. Nechama sighs. Leah Hadassah sighs.

Tatty dances a jig.

The big day comes.

Nechama leaves work early to primp and preen. Mommy and Leah Hadassah spend hours cleaning up the house. Tatty calls home to say that according to the GPS, he should arrive before the boy this time, instead of the usual five minutes after — a sure sign that this shidduch is bashert.

At 6:23 p.m., there’s a knock at the door.

Mommy freaks out; Tatty isn’t home yet! Nechama freaks out; she hasn’t finished curling her hair! Leah Hadassah freaks out; there are still shoes on the living room floor, in full view of anyone who enters the foyer!

Someone sticks his head in the doorway and hollers, “Helllllooooo!”

It’s Uncle Mord, whose date radar is uncanny.

“Out! Out! Out!” hisses Mommy, but Uncle Mord has already spotted the rugelach on the table. He dashes to the laundry room cackling, and settles down for the show.

There’s another knock — another panicked frenzy. Tatty’s in the doorway, humming “Od Yishama.”

“In! In! In!” hisses Mommy. Tatty enters and sets his copy of Sheva Brachos Show-Off: 10-Digit Gematrias to Wow the Crowd on the pristine dining room table.

“Code Red!” calls Leah Hadassah. A sleek blue Civic is in the driveway.

It’s time.


The date is a dud. Nechama says no.

“Thank goodness this didn’t schlep out,” says Mommy.

“Thank goodness I don’t have to take off more work,” says Nechama.

“Thank goodness I don’t have to help clean anymore,” says Leah Hadassah.

“What?” cries Tatty. “But he was a nice boy!”

“He was definitely nice…” agrees Nechama.

“Were you bored?” asks Tatty. “What if he took you bowling? Painting? Boating?”

“It’s not the venue,” protests Nechama. “I do not like him, Sam-I-Am!”

But Tatty is adamant. Date Two is scheduled.


Nechama does all she can to subtly sabotage the shidduch. The bochur is five foot seven. She holds the Havdalah candle six feet in the air. The bochur was redt on the 35th day of Nechama’s kichel crumb segulah. On day 40, Nechama “forgets” to scatter the kichel crumbs at chatzos. The bochur’s mother is named Devorah. Nechama starts introducing herself as Devorah.

Tatty is having none of it. He pauses Havdalah and lowers Nechama’s hand until the candle is exactly her date’s height. He informs everyone that his eldest’s first name hasn’t changed — though her last name will be changing soon. He texts a minute after chatzos on day 40 to say he scattered kichel crumbs just in case she forgot.

The second date approaches.

Mommy kvetches and bakes rugelach. Nechama kvetches and shops. Leah Hadassah kvetches and cleans. Tatty drinks a l’chayim.

The second date is a dud. The boy says no.

Mommy says it’s bashert.

Nechama returns to sprinkling kichel crumbs.

Leah Hadassah kicks off her shoes and sits down with a good book.

Tatty pouts, then perks up. “Well, there’s always next time.”

Three Months Later

The phone rings. It’s a shadchan.

“Nechama got a yes! I heard he’s a nice boy.”

Mommy groans.

Nechama groans.

Leah Hadassah groans.

Tatty whoops.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 793)

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