* * *
“Nu,” said Zayit. “What do you think of your handiwork?”
Kalonymous grinned from ear to ear. “It will do, I guess,” he teased, earning him a fond elbow from Zayit. The two of them, along with various accomplices, had been working feverishly for more than a month and were just now seeing the fruits of their labor. “Seriously, Mr. Zayit, I have no words to thank you, first for giving me the field and now for helping me ‘harvest’ it.”
“It was my pleasure, Kalonymous. Everyone has their own ways of giving, and this was mine. I hoped that offering you a place to build outside would help you to rebuild inside. I think it was a successful experiment, no?”
Kalonymous’s eyes were full. “Everyone has been so good to us. I have not repaid with anything except tzuris.”
“You didn’t do anything out of ill will,” said Zayit. “I believe you had no choice but to follow the path put before you by a Heavenly Hand. Be thrilled that Hakadosh Baruch Hu took such a personal interest in you. You’ll see, Kalonymous. You will find a way to be your own person and still be a part of the family.” Zayit, having undergone similar trials as a young man, spoke with the confidence of wisdom and experience. Kalonymous squeezed his hand in gratitude.
“So,” said Zayit, “should we begin the opening ceremonies?”
“I think so. I can’t wait to see their faces. Do you think they will like it?” he asked.
Zayit tweaked one of Kalonymous’s newly minted payos. “They will love it.”
They returned to the Rothsteins and found Berl and Fisch at their usual spot beside the house. Kalonymous could not contain his enthusiasm.
“Berl, Fisch,” he began formally, then burst out in a flurry of excitement. “We have something we want to show you. It’s a little far, so Fetter Motti is going to bring you in the wagon.”
Fisch became confused and alarmed, fearing any sudden activity. Berl looked at Kalonymous with a question in his eye, as though to say, “Is this all right for Fisch?”
It was Zayit who reassured him, gently lifting Berl to his feet while Kalonymous guided Fisch by the arm. Motti was waiting for them in the wagon, which at the moment more resembled a golden chariot. The rest of the family trailed behind, waving and dancing, oddly reminiscent of a jubilant hachnasas sefer Torah.
Fisch panicked, aware of the intense atmosphere but unable to identify whether it was positive or negative. Berl put his arm around Fisch’s shoulders, his curiosity overwhelming him.
“Almost there,” called Kalonymous, running alongside the wagon. His eye caught Motti’s and they shared a warm gaze, their first since the Sperlings’ arrival in Eretz Yisrael. It was a heady moment.
The Field of Dreams came suddenly into view, and the parade slowed and stood around the carriage.
“Where are we?” said Berl.
“It’s the Dream Field,” Dovid’l piped up. “It belongs to Kalonymous.”
“Not any longer,” said Kalonymous, leading the two brothers up the gravel-laid path. “Careful now,” he said.
The house was simple but sturdy, small yet spacious, crudely construction yet a work of stunning beauty. They all stood in awe as Kalonymous opened the door and led the two brothers inside. Berl was speechless.
“What is this?” he asked. “What have you done?”
“We built you a home,” said Motti, coming to stand next to Kalonymous, bursting with pride at the boy’s generosity and persistence. “Just as you gave Kalonymous, Hershel, and Dovid’l a home when they so desperately needed one, Kalonymous wanted to make sure you, too, had a home.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Berl stammered. “And neither does Fisch!” he quipped.
Everyone laughed, breaking the tension, and Hershel announced that the chanukas habayis was about to begin. A large seudah had been laid out on the hand-wrought table, spread with a clean white tablecloth, surrounded by homespun chairs. Papa, Mama, Emanuel, Esther and their children arrived later on and, thanks to the efforts of Fetter Emanuel, even Bruno joined them. The celebration continued well into the night.
There were many speeches, and Kalonymous spoke last. “There are all kinds of fields,” he began. “And all kinds of dreams. Rarely are we able to build a dream in real life, and now we have been zocheh to do it! When we were so lost and alone, we were found by Berl and Fisch, who risked their lives to bring us to safety. Then we were rescued again, by Mr. Gassner and Bruno.”
Here Bruno tipped his hat in salute. “And finally, Fetter Motti and Tante Breindl, acharon acharon chaviv, are there any words to thank you? We, or should I say ‘I,’ have not been the easiest, but we were restored by your love. You, too, are a home built on a field of dreams. On behalf of myself and my brothers, we thank you with all of our hearts.”
To be continued…