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  • missnistar

    October 19, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    <p>***Hi, all. I wrote this a few years back, and I really hoped it would get published. I (humbly, no doubt!) think it is pretty good. However, I couldn’t find anyone who was willing to publish it… Any advice/feedback? I would still love to see it spread far and wide for the masses to enjoy… Yes, it’s written from a child’s perspective, but it is not a story for children.</p><p><br></p><p>My name is Chaim, and I don’t have a Tatty. I mean, I have a Tatty, but I just never see him. Whenever I ask Mommy why I can’t see him, she just strokes my cheek and calls me Tzaddik’l. Sometimes I think Mommy is even gonna cry when she does that, but really I know that mommies don’t cry during the week. Not even when Gitty finishes the chocolate that Mommy wants, or when Mommy hurts herself. </p><p>Sometimes I forget that I don’t have a Tatty. Well, not really, but I forget I’m supposed to have a Tatty. But in the mornings, when I’m on the school bus, I see all the Tatties coming home from shul and going to work, and I wonder what my Tatty looks like. I once asked Hindy, but she didn’t answer. I thought Hindy would know because she’s fifteen already, she’s almost as big as Mommy! But Hindy just looked really angry when I asked. What’s wrong with my Tatty? Did I do a bad thing asking her? Because Mommy always says we have a Tatty, even though we don’t. Mommy says our Tatty lives in a place called Shamayim. One day I’ll go visit him, just like we sometimes go to this funny place called London, where our Bubby and Zeidy Fink live. </p><p>Really, I sort of know a little bit what my Tatty looks like because there’s a picture in our dining room that Mommy always looks at on Friday night when she bentches licht. And she cries. Oh, all mommies cry Friday night! But then, when my big brothers come home from shul, Yehuda makes kiddush, and I think Mommy forgets to look at the picture of Tatty. In my house, we just have a Mommy.</p><p>Today in cheder my Rebbi said we’re going to have a chumash seudah. He said all the Tatties and Mommies, Bubbies and Zeidies will come. I was so excited that I jumped out of my seat! Rebbi didn’t like that. But I don’t care; I’m just so excited that my Tatty is coming. Hillel said his Zeidy and Bubby are coming from Chicago, but I am so much more excited that my Tatty is coming from Shamayim! Do you think Tatty came for my brother Yanky’s chumash seudah? I don’t remember. It was three years ago, right after Tatty moved to Shamayim. When I got home, I told Mommy I want to make a calendar to hang up near my bed, so that I can see how many days are left ‘til my chumash seudah. I want to be ready for when my Tatty comes. I didn’t tell Mommy about Tatty, though, because I didn’t want her to cry. Or even almost cry. I just told her about the chumash seudah. Maybe on Friday night I’ll tell her about Tatty coming. She cries then anyway…</p><p><br></p><p>My chumash seudah is in ten days. We got a fancy card in the mail about it. Rebbi said that the cheder sent invitations to all the Tatties and Mommies, Zeidies and Bubbies. I’m so excited! My friend Chezky said that his Tatty is going to come for it. I know that is really special because Chezky’s Tatty also doesn’t live in his house. He once told me that his big brother also makes kiddush, and his Mommy also cries on Friday night. But Chezky is so lucky because he sometimes sees his Tatty in a place called Monsey, and sometimes he even goes to him for yom tov. Why can’t I go to my Tatty for yom tov? His Tatty also buys him presents for his birthday and for Chanuka, but my Tatty never does. Last year, after Chezky got Playmobil from his Tatty for his birthday, I asked Mommy why our Tatty never buys us presents. So for my birthday, Mommy gave me a new set of Legos from my Tatty. How did Tatty know which one I wanted? I never told him, I only told Mommy! I never even remember speaking to him! I asked Mommy, but she just looked like she was almost-crying, like she sometimes does when it isn’t Friday night or yom tov. Hindy got very upset and ran out of the room. Do you think Tatty sent Hindy a birthday present? She always says she’s too old for dolls, so what would Tatty send her?</p><p><br></p><p>On the school bus this morning, the boys were talking about the chumash seudah. I think I’m the only one who knows exactly how many days are left. During recess, Rebbi was standing with the other Rebbis near the swings. I went to stand next to him and waited until he noticed me. “Rebbi,” I said, “right you said the cheder sent invitations to all the Tatties, Mommies, Zeidies and Bubbies? Rebbi, I just want to make sure you know: my Zeidy and Bubby Fink live in London, and my Tatty lives in Shamayim.”</p><p>All the other Rebbis turned around, and Rebbi just looked at me. Why? I don’t know. He looked very sad. But then he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Yes, Tzaddik’l, I know. I know.” Why does everyone call me Tzaddik’l when I talk about my Tatty? Bubby Klein always says that Tatty is a tzaddik. I guess that’s why they call me Tzaddik’l. Like Tatty’s name is Fink, and my name is Fink too. So this is the same. But at least Rebbi knows where to send the invitation, just like he knows to send an invitation to Monsey to Chezky’s Tatty.</p><p>This Shabbos we went to my Bubby and Zeidy Klein’s house. Zeidy did my parsha sheets with me, and it was so much better than when Mommy does it. Zeidy also sings zemiros, and he even lets me sit on his lap. He gives me candies if I sing with him, but I don’t know the songs. Yehuda doesn’t sing so much when we stay at home for Shabbos, but when we go away, he sings a lot. Mommy sometimes asks him to sing when we’re home, but he just looks upset, and then it doesn’t sound so nice when he sings. But in Zeidy’s house, he sings so nicely. And when he sings in Zeidy’s house, Hindy looks less angry and she doesn’t even tease him. At home, nobody even likes it when he sings. Why does Mommy ask him to sing, then?</p><p>I reminded Zeidy about my chumash seudah, and he pinched my cheek and said he didn’t forget. Bubby also said that she’s for sure going to come. Zeidy took me to mincha with him. I never go to mincha with Yehuda and Yanky when we’re home! But Zeidy walks to mincha with me, and Yehuda and Yanky come a little later. Zeidy says this is our special time together. We always go to shul a little early, then Zeidy pulls out a nosh and my kriah sefer, and we learn together until mincha. This week I told Zeidy that I am very excited for my chumash seudah. Zeidy said a chumash seudah is a very special thing. He said it’s very “choshuv”. I don’t know what that means, but I know that Mommy said the same thing. I told Zeidy that Rebbi said all the Bubbies and Zeidies were coming, and even all the Tatties! Zeidy touched my cheek and didn’t say anything.</p><p>“Right, Zeidy? Right even my Bubby and Zeidy Fink are gonna come from London? And even my Tatty’s gonna come from Shamayim?”</p><p>Zeidy looked very sad, just like my Rebbi did last week. Is it sad that my Tatty’s going to come?</p><p>When Zeidy finally started talking, he said that my Zeidy and Bubby Fink aren’t coming. He said that Rebbi didn’t mean for sure that all the Bubbies and Zeidies are coming. Zeidy said Rebbi just meant that they’re all invited, and whoever lives close enough will come. “London is too far away to come for a chumash seudah, Chaim.” I couldn’t believe Zeidy said that. I didn’t know what to say. If Rebbi didn’t mean that all the Bubbies and Zeidies are coming, why did he say so? If he only meant that they’re all invited, why didn’t he say that?</p><p>The shul was getting full, and mincha was starting. I tugged on Zeidy’s jacket because I really wanted to ask him my question. “Zeidy,” I tried to whisper because I saw that davening started already, and I know I’m only allowed to come to mincha if I sit quietly and look at my Kriah sefer. “Zeidy, is Shamayim too far to come for a Chumash seudah?” </p><p>But Zeidy didn’t answer, he was already davening.</p><p>I hope Shamayim isn’t too far… but if it isn’t too far and London is, how come we go to London sometimes but not to Shamayim?</p><p>I didn’t ask Zeidy on the way home. I just don’t like it when big people look sad.</p><p><br></p><p>Today is the day! That’s what Mommy said when she woke me up this morning. She made me a yummy breakfast with pancakes and lots of syrup because she said a big Chumash yingel needs to eat a good breakfast to have koach to learn. Even Hindy smiled at me when she packed my snacks up this morning! I’m so happy I’m getting a Chumash. Especially since I know that Rebbi said all the Tatties are coming. Rebbi also said that the Zeidies and Bubbies are coming, but Zeidy Klein already explained that not all of them are. I already know that Zeidy and Bubby Fink aren’t coming. But Zeidy didn’t say that not all Tatties are coming… and I still think my Tatty is coming.</p><p>We davened already, and now Rebbi is giving out our crowns and tucking in our shirts. I’m wearing my new Shabbos shoes that look like my big brother Yehuda’s. Rebbi is giving us a lot of instructions, but I don’t think anyone is listening. I keep looking at the clock in our classroom. Yanky taught me that it’s ten o’clock when it says one, zero, zero, zero. Now it still says nine, four, three. I know that very soon my Chumash seudah is starting, and I can’t wait to see my Tatty.</p><p>The Menahel comes into our classroom, and he’s telling us to make sure to sing really nicely so that all the Tatties and Mommies will have a lot of nachas. I’m gonna sing so loud, my Tatty’s going to be so proud. Rebbi is lining us up outside the lunchroom, and he tells us to make sure to march into the lunchroom in a neat line, and not to wave to our parents. Will I even know which one is my Tatty? I try to remember what the picture in our dining room looks like, but I can’t remember. All I can remember is the hat, the beard, the glasses. Will that be enough for me to recognize my Tatty? Rebbi says that after we get our chumashim, we’re going to dance with our Zeidies and Tatties. I’ll have to ask Zeidy which one is my Tatty. I’ll give him a hug, and I’ll ask him if he likes the way I sang.</p><p>The music is starting, the Menahel opens the door. We start walking in. Some boys start waving to their parents, but I want to listen to Rebbi. We walk through the ladies’ side, but I look to the Tatties. I see Zeidy Klein, but I don’t know where my Tatty is. There are so many people with black beards, glasses, and hats! How am I supposed to know which Tatty is mine?</p><p>I’m frustrated. I get onto the stage, and I see someone waving to Chezky, who’s standing right in front of me. I think that’s his Tatty from Monsey. Where’s my Tatty? Is anyone waving to me? Zeidy’s waving, but is that man in the back waving to me, too? Is he my Tatty?</p><p>Rebbi starts the first song. I try to sing as loud as I can. I want my Tatty to tell me I sang nicely. I look at every man with a black beard and glasses, trying to see if he’s looking at me. I can’t tell.</p><p>We sing all the songs that we practiced for weeks. Rebbi keeps smiling at me because I’m singing very loud. I’m not nervous. I just want my Tatty to be proud. We sit down, and the Menahel makes a speech. I try to sit nicely, but I really just want to ask Zeidy which man is my Tatty. Finally, the Menahel starts calling us up and gives us each our chumash. I’m so impatient. A man is taking lots of pictures, making us each smile with our chumash and our Menahel. When are we going to start dancing with our Tatties?</p><p>Finally. The music starts and Rebbi tells us to come off the stage and give our Chumash to our mommies. Can’t I just give it to my Tatty? Mommy’s waiting for me by the ladies, but I run over to Zeidy.</p><p>“Zeidy! Zeidy! Where is he? Where is he, Zeidy? Which one is he?”</p><p>Zeidy gives me a kiss and a hug and says mazel tov. But I just want my Tatty. “Where, Zeidy? Which one is he?” All the men are dancing already. But I need to know where my Tatty is.</p><p>“Who, Chaim? Which one is who?”</p><p>“My Tatty! Which one is my Tatty!” </p><p>I don’t know how, but I look at my Zeidy’s face and I just know. Tatty isn’t here. Rebbi said he’d come, and my Tatty isn’t here. Zeidy looks sad, and I think I look as angry as Hindy does when I ask her about Tatty. Because my Tatty didn’t come.</p><p>Zeidy’s still holding me tight, but I’m just crying. My head is in Zeidy’s lap, and my heart and my throat hurt. Zeidy’s jacket is getting wet, and all around us, Tatties and Zeidies are dancing with my friends. It’s noisy and busy, and we keep getting bumped. I see my crown getting stepped on, and it doesn’t look so shiny anymore. But I’m just crying. Zeidy picks up my crown from the floor and tries to fix it. He picks me up and hugs me tight and carries me out of the lunchroom. I don’t know where he takes me, my eyes are closed, and they are covered by my hands. How can there be tears coming out if my eyes are closed?</p><p>Before I know it, I hear Mommy’s voice. Mommy’s stroking my back like she always does when I fall and hurt myself. I didn’t fall. I didn’t hurt myself. But Tatty didn’t come!</p><p>Mommy asks me what’s wrong, but I can’t answer. Zeidy says something, and Mommy’s quiet. The music in the lunchroom sounds so loud, it hurts my ears. Zeidy holds me, Mommy strokes my back, and soon I take my hands off my face. Mommy looks very sad.</p><p>“Chaim, you thought Tatty was going to come, right?” I’m hiccupping. Mommy just keeps talking. “You’re very disappointed that Tatty didn’t come, like the other Tatties, right? I know… I’m sorry Chaim. I’m sorry you can’t see Tatty.”</p><p>The music is so loud, so happy. And I’m so sad.</p><p>Zeidy tries to talk. “You know, Chaim, when someone is in Shamayim, they can still sometimes come to be with us. During very special times, they can come to be with us. And they can always see us and be proud of us. But we just can’t see them. Your Tatty is in Shamayim, but he saw how beautifully you sang, and he’s so proud of you. Even though you can’t see him.”</p><p>All I can hear is the thumping and thudding of the music and dancing, but here in the corridor, no one is making a sound. I’m not crying anymore, but I’m still so sad. My heart still hurts. I don’t understand. I want to understand. I look at Zeidy and I ask, “So Tatty is here? He saw? I gave him nachas?”</p><p>Now Zeidy looks like he’s going to cry. And Mommy is crying more than she usually does on Friday nights. “Yes, Tzaddik’l.” </p><p>I’m Tzaddik’l, like my Tatty is a tzaddik. “Yes, your Tatty has so much nachas from you. You’re a big chumash yingel, and your Tatty is so proud you’re learning the heilige Torah.”</p><p>Mommy kisses me, and I think I’m ready to go in and dance. With Zeidy Klein. Not with Zeidy Fink from London, and not with Tatty from Shamayim. But I know Tatty is watching, even if I can’t see him.</p><p>Zeidy takes my hand and leads me in. the music stops just as we get into a circle, but Rebbi notices me holding my Zeidy’s hand. He comes over, puts his hand on my shoulder, and says something to Zeidy quietly. He walks away and the music starts again.</p><p>The dancing continues and I try to be happy, thinking about Tatty watching me. Rebbi and my Menahel come to hold my hand and dance with me and Zeidy. They’re all smiling and dancing and jumping, but I think they all look sad. Why are they sad? Tatty came and he’s watching me!</p><p>When the dancing stops again, Rebbi tells us to go say goodbye to our guests before we go back to our classroom. Mommy hugs me very tight and bends down to look in my eyes. “I’m so proud of you, Chaim. You’re such a big boy. And your Tatty is also so proud of you. You’ll grow up to be a big tzaddik, just like him.” Bubby wipes her eyes and gives me a big kiss. We say goodbye, and Zeidy takes me back to my Rebbi. Before he leaves, I see Zeidy talking to my Menahel. Why are they looking at me?</p><p>We go back to the classroom, and we sit down with our pekalach and our new chumashim. Chezky comes over to me and tells me, “Chaim! My Tatty came! Did you see, Chaim? My Tatty came from Monsey!”</p><p>He’s so excited. I tell him I saw his Tatty, and I tell him my Tatty came, too. So what if I didn’t see him? Mommy and Zeidy said he saw me!</p><p>When I come home at the end of the day, Mommy tells me that she’s taking me to the ice cream store with Bubby and Zeidy Klein. Can you imagine? Just me, Mommy, Zeidy and Bubby! Mommy says that it’s special for me because today I got my chumash. Yanky didn’t tell me that after a chumash seudah you go to the ice cream store!</p><p>In the ice cream store, Mommy lets me get an ice cream cone with sprinkles and fudge sauce. The ice cream is cold and the sauce is hot, but I like them together. They mix together until I can’t tell the difference between the cold vanilla ice cream and the hot chocolate sauce. They become a mix, and it’s good.</p><p>Zeidy and Bubby give me a special present, a small shtender that folds up, just for me! I can’t wait to start using it at home. Zeidy says that when I get even bigger and start learning gemara, I’ll use the shtender a lot. I see a lot of them in shul when I go to mincha with Zeidy.</p><p>Zeidy asks me if I enjoyed my chumash seudah. I look at the mixture of hot fudge and cold ice cream, and I don’t know what to say. Zeidy tells me that it was very nice and that I sang very nicely. He says that I gave Mommy, Bubby, and him a lot of nachas. “And Tatty,” he says. He tells me again that even though I didn’t see Tatty, Tatty saw me, and was proud.</p><p>“Did Bubby and Zeidy Fink from London also see? Are they also proud?” I look up at Zeidy, I want to know.</p><p>“No, Chaim,” he says quietly, “they didn’t see. But they’ll be very proud of you when we tell them what a big bochur you are!”</p><p>I look at my sprinkles, all melted into my ice cream in funny colors.</p><p>“Chaim,” Mommy says, putting her hand on my chin and turning my face to hers. “Can you see what’s happening in London?”</p><p>“No!” I think about the funny double-decker buses and the red mailbox on the corner of Bubby’s house in London. But I can’t see what’s happening now.</p><p>“Right. You can’t see London, because you’re here. And people in London can’t see what’s going on here, because they’re there. But remember what Zeidy said? When someone is in Shamayim, they can see you. Tatty can see you all the time, and he has so much nachas every time you do a mitzvah and learn Torah. He’s so proud of how you sang today, and I’m sure he’d love to tell you that. He loves you very, very much.”</p><p>Mommy starts crying – bit, wet tears crawling out of her eyes – right there in the ice cream store. She hugs me tight for a few minutes, and then I just want to go back to my melting ice cream.</p><p>One day in school Rebbi tells us a story. At the end, he tells us that we see how much Hashem loves us and that He always wants to give us good. “Kinderlach, Hashem is like our father! He loves us even more than a Tatty does!”</p><p>I think about that a lot. I never see Hashem. And Hashem is in Shamayim. But I know Hashem can always see me. </p><p>When the time comes for recess, I’m still sitting in my seat. Rebbi comes to see why I’m not going out to play on the monkey bars, and he asks me what I’m thinking about.</p><p>“Rebbi, Hashem is in Shamayim, right? And we can’t see Him, right?”</p><p>Rebbi looks confused. “Yes, Chaim, Hashem is in Shamayim. But Hashem is truly everywhere, right? You know that! Hashem sees everything that happens in the whole, wide world!”</p><p>“That’s so sad, Rebbi. If Hashem wouldn’t be in Shamayim, maybe I could sometimes see Him. Like Chezky’s Tatty who lives in Monsey. But like this Hashem is like my Tatty, and I never get to see my Tatty! I want to sometimes see my Tatty and Hashem! Why can’t Hashem live in London or in Monsey, so I can see Him?”</p><p>Rebbi sits down next to me at my desk. “Chaim, tzaddik’l. Even though Hashem is in Shamayim, He’s also here with us. And sometimes we even get to see Him.”</p><p>It sounds like what Zeidy said on the day of my chumash seudah. And I don’t understand it.</p><p>Why are adults so complicated? Sometimes they say things that just sound funny and mixed-up. Hashem is in Shamayim, but He’s here. Tatty’s in Shamayim but sometimes he’s here. We can’t see Hashem, but sometimes we can. And Hashem and Tatty see me.</p><p>“One day, Chaim’l, one day you’ll understand.”</p><p>

    </p><p>I finally go out to the monkey bars to hang upside down.</p>

  • Anagrammer

    October 19, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    <p>Missnistar, I can’t. I’m crying…actually, I’m bawling?? Yes, tears are streaming down my face. I was choked up from the first paragraph, and somewhere in the middle, it let loose. This is too good. You’re an incredible writer. The invitations, the singing, the sprinkles, the monkey bars… Wow. So, so painful.</p>

  • Brocha

    October 19, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    <p>This is breathtaking.</p><p>You nailed it.</p><p>You were in his mind and you took us readers along.</p><p>Thank you.</p>

    • Elisheva Halle

      October 19, 2020 at 11:48 pm

      <p>Hi Minnistar, I’m not sure how to add my reply, which is why it looks funny, like I’m replying to Brocha.</p><p>Ministar, this is beautiful; I can totally see this being published in a short story supplement. You had me hooked the whole way through. It is an emotional and poignant piece.</p><p><font face=”inherit”>The only thing I would change is maybe something about the end. It sounds like your theme here is about understanding that Hashem is with us even though He is so far…so far and yet so close and how this paradox exists in our life…perhaps, and this is a suggestion, have there be some physical object which represents Chaim’s closeness to his father, like maybe have his Zeidy give him his father’s chumash or tear-stained siddur etc. during the Chumash seuda and have Chaim start to feel- feel but not </font>necessarily<font face=”inherit”> totally understand, what it means to be so close and yet so far…and then he can open up the siddur or chumash and read a pasuk or say a tefilla (perhaps karov Hashem L’kol K’roav?- how old is Chaim? Can he read?) and he feels, feels but doesn’t totally understand, how we can be close to Hashem even though we don’t see Him…and it can end there. Just a suggestion!</font></p><p><font face=”inherit”>Hatzlacha with all your writing!</font></p>

    • Anagrammer

      October 20, 2020 at 1:12 am

      <p>Love this suggestion, Elisheva!</p>

  • MH

    October 19, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    Missnistar wow! That’s so beautiful and powerful and all I can think of is that poor little boy;( Just want to give him a big hug<3This was so special missnistar, thank you!

  • Mali

    October 19, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Missnistar, you’re an artist. How do you get into a child’s heart like this?

  • Mali

    October 20, 2020 at 12:00 am

    <p>Also, I cannot understand why it was not published yet. </p>

  • Chagit

    October 20, 2020 at 5:29 am

    <p>Missnistar, I couldn’t keep the tears back.</p><p>I love the child point of view, the simplicity…</p><p>I mean… WOW!!!</p><p>You really better get this published!</p>

  • Rochel Solomon

    October 20, 2020 at 6:00 am

    Wow the emotion runs so deep here. It’s such a clear yet complicated piece. I love heavy topics that are portrayed through the eyes of children. I think it gives an added depth and a much needed surge of innocence. Poignant piece. Great work!

  • HappiWriter

    October 20, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    <p>Love the concept. The kid thinks his Totty lives in Shamayim… So sad and innocent. Then, once that question clears up, he begins asking questions about Hashem’s existence in Shamayim. The childish perspective is so heart wrenching.</p><p>For some very odd reason, the line, ““Can you see what’s happening in London?” had me choked up — can’t figure out why. </p><p>Actually, I just realized that I read it wrong, I’m a skimmer. I read fast, sometimes skipping details. When I first read it, I thought the kid asked his mother, “Can you see what’s happening in London?” What an innocent, confused question…</p><p>Whatever… My mistake.</p><p>I like Elisheva’s suggestion about a tangible theme tying the story together.</p><p>I actually have some more ideas how to make this touching story even better. I’ll P.M. you.</p>

  • Chaya’la

    October 20, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    <p>Ministar this story deserves a 5 Star review! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐</p><p>The child’s voice was such a refreshing change of pace and really brought the concept out in the perfect perspective!</p>

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