Victory Gardens – Chapter 116

Papa not only remembers what Hearst said about Esther and Manny, but he insists on using Manny’s money to buy ship tickets so they can return to America. Mama falls while climbing on a chair to reach something in a high cabinet and is badly injured.

*   *   *

Esther and Manny were at Shaare Zedek hospital having a test done. While they were there, they ran into a very worried-looking Shlomo Zayit.

“Zayit!” said Manny, thrilled to see his friend and benefactor. “How are things?”

Manny was surprised at the changes he saw. Where there had once been smooth lines, his face was now a mass of worried creases.

“Orna needs a refuah,” said Zayit.

“What? What’s happened?”

“It’s something very serious with the blood. Both she and the baby are in danger.”

“Oh, Zayit. Hashem should send them a refuah shalaimah. We will daven for them.”

“Everything well by you?” asked Zayit. “You are also here.”

“Actually things are looking up a bit. I never realized this time of life could be so fraught with difficulty.”

Zayit nodded, absently. “We just learned that there is a treatment. But it is only available in America,” he said softly.

“Oh! Where?”

“It’s called Har Sinai. Can you imagine, a hospital with that name? It may as well be Har Sinai, because I’ll never even get close to it.”

“Har Sinai? Of course, Mount Sinai Hospital. Zayit, it’s in New York.”


“So I am from New York!”

“Od hapaam, az?”

Az, I can help you. I can certainly help you.”

“Unless you are able to produce ship tickets for me and my wife, there isn’t much help you can give.  We don’t have money for that kind of thing. But on the other hand, what wouldn’t I do to save my wife and child? I would do anything, but this is simply out of my reach!”

To Zayit’s shock and confusion, a smile spread across Manny’s face. Just that morning he had received, via special delivery, two shiffskarten. Papa had somehow heard the news about Esther, — which, if nothing else,  was proof that Papa was greatly improved and well on the way to recovery. A flurry of telegrams had passed between Eretz Yisrael and New York, with Manny explaining that they could not return to the United States at the present time, as per doctor’s orders.

From what Manny understood, Papa had purchased tickets anyway and sent them special delivery. Manny had received them just that morning, before leaving for Shaare Zedek. Another few minutes and they’d have missed the messenger.

“I do not understand why you are smiling,” said Zayit, in a reproachful tone. “My wife is in danger.”

Manny had never seen Zayit this way, and was happy to explain, knowing this would offer relief as nothing else could.

“I’m smiling because Hashem loves His people. He sent me here today to be His messenger.” With that, he pulled the ship tickets out of his pocket and handed them to Zayit.

“What are these?” said Zayit.

“These are your tickets to another messenger from Hashem, in America, to save your wife, Zayit.”

“They are ship’s tickets. I can’t take them from you.”

“You can, and you will. There is real medical danger, there is treatment available in New York, and you now have an opportunity to get there. Take the tickets, get your papers in order and go to New York. I will arrange everything with my family there. You’ll stay in my apartment, because it’s closer to the hospital. My wife’s cousin and her children are staying there now, but there’s plenty of room for you and your wife to stay as well. I’m sure Mima Faiga won’t mind.”

Zayit was speechless.

Shlach et lachmecha,” Manny continued. “You picked up my brother in a field and brought him back to life. Nobody asked you to do that, but obviously it did not go unnoticed in Heaven. Please, my friend, take my tickets, go in good health, and return in good health as well. I will arrange for a return voyage with an open date. You return when your wife and child are ready to travel.”

Manny tried not to imagine what effect this change of plans would have on Papa and Mama, but he was resolute. At least he was sure that Mutty would understand perfectly.

“I have no words,” said Zayit.

“None are needed,” said Manny. “Only action. Quickly! You know that you would do the same if the situation were reversed. I’m just a messenger, and a reflection of your own kindness. Please telegraph us when you have good news.”

Zayit was speechless. He grasped Manny’s shoulders with his strong hands and pulled him close, his version of a hug.

“Thank you,” he said. The words sounded like they were coming from far away, emerging from the deepest part of him.

Open miracles don’t happen often in life. But when they do, they are remembered forever.

To be continued . . .