Living Halachah

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Prayer Celebrity

Kislev, 5778/ Laurie Novick

A close relative came for a visit. It seemed like less than five minutes had passed before my children’s questions began.

And, sure enough, one of the first was, “Why aren’t you married yet?”

To my children, it’s still obvious that we should want to get married, and that the minute we do, it will happen. Our beloved guest had learned had taken some time to feel ready to pursue marriage and had learned through hard experience that finding her husband was not instantaneous.

She winced slightly, caught her breath and answered, “I haven’t found him yet. Want to help me look.” And they were off, swiping their way through a dating app, having a teasing discussion about what looked to be a good choice.

A year later and our guest returned. Still wonderful company and terrific with the children. Still, despite redoubled efforts, unmarried. This time, instead of asking about it, my daughter said, “We daven for you.”

“What do you mean?”

“In my class, our teacher asks us for names of people who need our tefillot and we daven for you to find a husband every day.”

A deep intake of air, silence, and then the guest recovered. “I guess that’s a good thing. Maybe I should come by your school sometime and you can introduce me by my Hebrew name. I bet all the kids would be excited to meet such a celebrity.”

The laughter died down and we moved on to other subjects. I wish I had had the poise to tell my daughter, “There are a lot of other good reasons why your class should meet our relative.”

I wish I had had the courage to ask my relative how she felt being the prayer-celebrity of the fourth grade. In my heart, I prayed for her myself. Not just to meet her match, but to continue to navigate this time of her life with patience and grace.