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Taking Turns to Keep Warm

And how Yad Eliezer creates happier endings for families' stories

by Karen Reiffman

0 Comments | Thursday, November 26, 2020 under Volunteering, Emergency Fund, Winter Warmth Campaign

Yad Eliezer’s Winter Warmth Campaign is well underway, and our distribution is huge- operating in over 30 cities and towns throughout Israel! Each allocation sends home such relief and excitement to needy families, along with every new winter coat. There are thousands of coats being distributed to thousands of people, and as you can imagine, each recipient has their own story.

Asher is one of our community representatives, someone who knows the residents and Yad Eliezer recipients in his city well, and is very involved in his town’s coat distribution. I was speaking with him a couple of days ago and he wanted to tell me one of those stories. 

The Rabbi's walk

“I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard this before” Asher said, “but there is a story of one of the well known g’dolei ha’dor of a few generations ago, who had a custom of taking a walk with his wife every Shabbat afternoon through their Jerusalem neighborhood. They did this faithfully, week in and week out until suddenly, at one point, they just stopped. Completely. People whispered and wondered...What happened?! Did they have an argument..? No one knew.

Many months passed, and finally the community saw that the Rav and his wife had resumed their minhag, strolling through the streets on Shabbat afternoon. But the question of what happened still remained on everyone’s minds. Finally, one day, one of the Rav’s students worked up the courage, approached him and asked, ‘Please teach us, haRav, why did haRav and his wife stop taking their Shabbat walk, and then after all this time, begin again?’  

"We rotated shoes"

‘I will tell you the truth,’ the Rav answered, ‘it’s simple. My wife’s shoes wore out completely - they were torn to shreds - and we couldn’t afford a new pair. So she and I did a rotation, sharing the one pair of shoes we had between us. We would take turns leaving the house. When I needed to go to minyan or to learn, my wife remained at home. When she went out to do the shopping I stayed back. Now you understand why we couldn’t go for our walks together.’

Asher continued: “This story always seemed like a folk tale to me, something related to the ‘olden days’ - not a story that’s relevant in our times, in 2020. That is, until I heard the following from a mother who came to our coat distribution this year. She told me:

"We rotated coats"  

‘I have four daughters. Obviously, when each one leaves the house in the winter, she needs to put on a coat. The problem is, though, that we only had two coats in the house. So we would do a rotation of sorts; the girls would take turns going out, two at a time, wearing the two coats. It was terrible-I felt terrible. But I had no other choice. 

After today, though, B”H, now that we’ve received these beautiful coats from Yad Eliezer, all four of the girls will be able to go out at the same time. How wonderful,  איזה כיף!!’

When I heard this, suddenly, the folk tale popped into my head, and I realized, unfortunately, that it wasn’t so much a folk tale after all-it is indeed relevant, even nowadays. I was happy we were able to help this woman and her daughters and all the other recipients- they aren’t asking for much...we are really making their lives better.”

Help change the story

Join Asher and our other coordinators, in distributing the joy and comfort that accompany every new winter coat, by donating to our Winter Warmth Campaign. Your help will change a family’s story this winter, giving them a warmer, happier ending.

You can see an example of that here!


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