| Fiction |

What Really Counts

“He’s not one of those guys who opens the cream cheese container but leaves the plastic wrap half attached on top, is he? Because that’s bad middos”


Trrring… Brrring…

“Hi, Dena? It’s Rivky Klein from the bungalow colony.”

“Rivky, so nice to hear from you! How are you?”

“Baruch Hashem, doing great. I’m actually calling because I was talking to my sister and we thought of a wonderful boy for your daughter!”

“You did? How nice! Before you say anything else though, I have a few quick questions.”

“Okay, but Dena, I haven’t even told you his name yet!”

“Right. Speaking of names, does the boy have one of those names that are difficult to pronounce? You know like Bafreuendlisch or Hachoofsky? Because I don’t want my daughter and my future grandchildren (poo, poo, poo), to spend the rest of their lives repeating their last names and hearing people say gesundheit.”

“Oh no, it’s an easy name: Katz.”

“Katz, one syllable. That’s perfect. They don’t spell it funny like with a Q or a TS at the end, do they? Because if there’s one thing I hate it’s ‘unique spelling.’ ”

“No, I’m pretty sure it’s K-A-T-Z.”

“Great! Well, I’m glad that’s out of the way.”

“Me too! So, can I tell you a little about him?”

“Certainly! Does he eat gebrochts?”


“Yes, because my daughter is very fond of jelly on her matzah.”

“I don’t really know. I guess I could find out…”

“Okay, and while you’re asking that, ask about support. Okay?”


“Yes, if they don’t eat gebrochts, my daughter’s gonna need some support. Is the mother-in-law willing to do the Pesach baking? We shouldn’t be the only ones who have to accommodate, you know.”

“I suppose I could ask….”

“Right. And is he one of those who always shakes his leg under the table?”

“I don’t think so….”

“Good! Because my daughter is. And two people like that together, can you imagine? It would be like a mini earthquake every Shabbos seudah!”


“I knew you’d understand. Now, about his middos.”

“Definitely! I’d love to talk about his middos….”

“He’s not one of those guys who opens the cream cheese container but leaves the plastic wrap half attached on top, is he? Because that’s bad middos.”

“Well… no one ever mentioned that to me.”

“Please find out for certain. Good middos are paramount.”

“Of course, of course.”

“And what about bentshing?”

“Bentshing? Uh, he definitely bentshes whenever he washes.”

“Obviously! But does he bentsch half out loud? You know at that annoying decibel where everyone around him can hear and can’t pay attention to their own words, but it’s still not quite loud enough for anyone to say, shhh!”

“Hmm, I’m… not sure.”

“Look into it, will you?”

“Of course.”

“And is he generous?”

“Certainly! Everyone says that he loves to give!”

“Let me be specific here. Would he let my daughter take the first shift for napping on Shabbos afternoon while he watches the baby? Because that’s what I call generous. And everyone knows that with Minchah halfway in between, the second shift is practically worthless.”

“Right, worthless.”

“How’s his eyesight?”

“I know he wears glasses but they’re really very trendy and they look good on him.”

“Oh, I don’t care about that! I just need to know that he’ll be able to see well enough to cut the baby’s nails. My daughter shouldn’t have to do everything, especially after having given in on the gebrochts!”

“Of course not.”

“And yichus?”

“Yes! His maternal grandfather was a very well-known maggid shiur in Europe.”

“That’s lovely. But what I meant was, are there any ancestors on either side with really ugly names? I don’t mean regular ugly, of course. We’ve all got that! I mean ugly enough that you wouldn’t want to saddle a child with it?”

“I guess I could find out.”

“And what does he do when he comes home?”

“He goes straight to Maariv, and I know he has another chavrusa from nine until eleven every night.”

“Well, that’s super. But does he leave his shoes in front of the staircase?”

“His shoes?”

“Because that’s inconsiderate! And dangerous. Especially for him with the trendy glasses.”

“Right, of course, I’ll find that out too.”


“Um, Dena?”


“While I’m looking into all this, do you want to know the boy’s name?”

“Of course not, Rivky! You know me better than that. I’m not the kind of woman who gets bogged down in silly details! It should just be with mazel. That’s all that matters, right?”

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 655)

Tagged: Family Tempo