By Esther Rapaport
“Yes.” Menachem immediately identified the voice of Yoel Brodsky. “How are you, Yoel? Is everything okay with Dovi? We heard that you drove them back last night from Rambam Hospital.”
“Right. Dovi’s fine, baruch Hashem, although I suggested to my sister that he should rest at home for a few days.”
Menachem frowned into the phone. “If my brother were here, I’m not sure that he would agree that that is necessary. They did tests and saw that everything in the brain was fine.”
“If your brother were here, lots of things would be different, but he’s not here.”
Menachem Struk could not argue with that logic. Besides, he had no interest in arguing with Yoel. As it was, their relationship was a bit tense. And truthfully, the fact that his nephew Dovi often missed school was not really his business, especially since he really didn’t know what the medical recommendation was in this case. He glanced at his watch; he needed to leave the house very soon.
Thankfully Yoel had no desire either to argue further, and instead, as he drove down a busy street, he got right down to the reason for his call.
“Listen, my sister doesn’t know that I’m calling you, but I thought it would be a good idea to get you involved; it’ll be more efficient than if I try to deal with this myself. See, we want to get someone to come live with her.”
“Live with her?”
“Yes. And she’s agreed, at least theoretically, but I haven’t found anyone suitable, and I don’t really know where to look and how. But your family has more connections than I do, so if you hear of someone who you feel would be a good choice to live in the house with them during this time, it would be great.”
“Whose idea is this?” Menachem didn’t mean to sound so critical, but that’s how it came out.
“Mine,” Yoel said quietly, stopping for a red light. “And Chaiky is ready, and my parents also agree that this is a good idea.” The light turned green.
And what about my parents? Menachem thought.
“My family will need to think about this, Yoel … you know, decide if it’s really a good idea.”
“Excuse me, but isn’t this supposed to be Chaiky’s decision?” A large truck with a load of gravel suddenly crossed the intersection in front of him, causing Yoel to brake abruptly.
“Of course, but maybe we should also consult with other opinions before she does anything rash. Like, for example, maybe you need to ask the ba’al habayis himself. Did you think about doing that?”
Yoel stepped on the gas, trying to make the next light. “Even if I thought about it, communication with him is not so regular. You know that it’s very complicated to ask him anything right now.”
“Sometimes we need to do complicated things, Reb Yoel.”
“If indeed they need to be done.”
Five to nine. Menachem looked for the key on the kitchen shelf and tried to end the conversation on a less confrontational note. “I suggest that you tell your sister that in the next fax she sends to Russia, she should ask Shlomo what he thinks about this idea.”
“I’ll tell her. And you’ll find someone good to live with her?”
“I’ll tell my parents. Maybe my wife will have a good idea. Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I’m really in a rush to leave the house.”
Esther Rapaport is a prolific author whose novels include Diamond in the Rough, Divided Attention, Behind the Scenes, Without a Trace, Dance of the Puppet, Blood Brothers, and The Kenya Conspiracy. She resides in Israel.