Esor Ben-Sorek

Caught in the Act

My younger daughter is a government attorney, a deputy prosecutor and deputy bureau chief of civil litigation for our district.

She is a brilliant young lady who keeps four eyes on me and watches my every move. Closed in my apartment caused by a vicious pandemic (which I suspect was a biological warfare by a not yet known source.)

Reading, writing, watching television are my sole activities. I am constrained from leaving the apartment.

Happily, I get five minutes to walk our dog outside to relieve herself and then it’s back inside.

If my daughter had her way she would probably put the dog leash on me to prevent my furlough outside.

I am exceedingly blessed. Since my beloved wife died in 2016, our younger daughter who has an apartment opposite ours in the same building, takes the greatest care of me. Preparing meals, shopping at local markets, assured that I take my 12 pills morning and night and scolding me if she suspects that I have disobeyed government orders to become a prisoner in my own home. Now she has caught me in the act.

For one example. Yesterday I put on my mask and drove to the supermarket. I bought two packages of special Pesach cookies that my older daughter loves but they are not available in the community where she lives. My wife always provided her with several packages of those Pesach cookies for her to take back home with her.

This year our seder will be a sad one. Instead of the nine members of my family who joined us every year forever, this year the table will be set only for the two of us. We will read the haggadah missing the voices of those who read passages aloud and who sang with us the medley of beautiful Pesach songs that have been in my family for many generations. It cannot be the same seder as in past years.

At the table I can correctly ask the question…ma nishtana ha Laila ha zeh mi kol ha lailot… why is this night different from all other nights?

On all other seder nights we were nine, sometimes more, at the family table. This year all the chairs will be empty except for the two on which my daughter and I sit.

At the head of the table is the seat upon only which my wife sat. There are vases of flowers in front of her seat and a beautiful photo of her in a frame resting at the place where she sat. In this way, she is always with us every Shabbat and every yom tov, never to be forgotten.

When my rabbi telephoned me to ask how I am and if I needed any foods, medicines or other items, I confessed to him that I had been out of my home for exactly 21 minutes. All the customers and clerks in the market were covered with masks. The clerk in the post office was covered with a mask and she wore plastic gloves as she took the package being sent to my far-away daughter carefully from my hands.

I have no regrets that I breathed fresher air for 21 minutes. I rest easy and content knowing that my daughter will enjoy her favorite cookies specially made for Passover. If I am alive for next year’s Pesach, hopefully all my children and grandchildren will be back at our table heaped high with the cooked soups, gefilte. fish, meat,chickens, puddings, salads and desserts that my daughters cooked and baked for long hours having cleaned out the stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer and sink and emptied all the cupboards and shelves stocked with forbidden chametz and shlepping heavy boxes to contain them in hidden and unseen places.

My wonderful care-giving daughter discovered my misbehavior and she caught me in the act of violating my self-imposed quarantine for 21 minutes. I have no regrets. It was important to me that my lovely daughter who lives quite far from me would be able to enjoy the special Pesach cookies which she could not find in her wilderness.

The happiness and satisfaction of my three children are my best medicine. They preserve the life and purpose of an 87 year old abba. And for that I have absolutely no regrets. Every day at the same hour my older daughter and my son call me to ask how I am, did I eat properly, did I take my medications? . Their devotion to me is a constant blessing.

I hope that my readers and their families will enjoy a sweet charoset. And please do not forget to leave something sweet next to Elijah’s overflowing cup of wine. Perhaps he will bless us before leaving our home to visit millions of Jewish families with a hopeful message of the coming of the messiah.

Ani maamin be emunah shelemah. I believe with perfect faith. And I hope all of you do as well.

Chag haPesach bari, kasher v’samayach. May the joyous eight day festival for freedom from bondage in Egypt be a blessing for klal Yisrael, the Jewish people scattered everywhere. And may it be a Pesach of peace.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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