To the Honorable and Generous Donor,
I have been meaning to write to you for a long time. It has taken me until now to put my thoughts on to paper, but I have carried them all the while in my heart. Now as Rosh HaShana approaches I am as busy as ever, but I felt that I could not possibly let the year end without expressing my gratitude to you.
Much to my disappointment, unfortunate circumstances forced me into a divorce. G-d in heaven knows that I did all that I possibly could save my family from destruction, but that was not meant to be. And so it is that I found myself alone and abandoned in HaShem’s world. While I do have family, the responsibility of raising the children and running the home fell squarely on my shoulders. My ex-husband does pay child support, but it barely covers our living expenses leaving nothing for food.
I started working to support the family, but the amount that I am able to bring in provides the very minimum for sustenance; clearly there is no room in the budget for fish and meat. For a very long period of time I did not even consider the possibility.
My dear children suffered and I was helpless to do anything about it. Their father had disappeared from their lives only to appear for short stunted visits that frustrated and confused them. Our Shabbos table was unrecognizable. Things that would have been unheard of became the norm. Instead of bountiful food, zemirot and divrei Torah there was plain food, heavy silence and depression. The kids wouldn’t even bother themselves to come to the table. Why should they when there wasn’t anything there to nourish them? At first they would ask me on Shabbos, Where is the chicken?’ But when they saw how very upset I would become, they stopped verbalizing the question. But they didn’t need to. It hung in the air like a low dark cloud. The freezer that had always been well stocked stood empty and unplugged.
One day to my utter shock and surprise I found myself holding a voucher for 550 shekels to buy meat products. All I could do was cry. And cry. Finally I was not all alone. I could put down my burden for a moment- someone else was going to help me to carry it! My relief expressed itself in copious hot tears. I had tried so very hard to be strong for the kids, to strong enough for a mother and a father. But the stronger I pretended to be the weaker I felt. Now for a moment I could let go of the fašade. Someone cared enough to help me. Perhaps there might be a light at the end of my tunnel. In that moment I allowed myself to hope.
I was still afraid that this was a onetime miracle. I sat down and thought carefully what to buy and how to divide it up so as to make the miracle last for as many Shabboses as possible.
My freezer was plugged back in.
The joy and light on the children’s faces when I served them each a generous portion of chicken simply smothered my heart. When I saw how happily and hungrily they are the chicken again my eyes were moist. I realized how very much they had been missing having chicken during those many long hard months.
The following month again I held in my hand one of those magical vouchers. I looked carefully to be sure that it wasn’t a mistake. Was it possible that manna had fallen from heaven twice? Could I allow myself to believe that the miracle would continue?
Again I bought carefully and portioned out even more carefully. It was only when the following month the manna fell once again that I was brave enough to serve chicken on a weekday. When my kids saw that we were eating chicken during the week, they were assured that we are no longer poor. Certainly if Mommy is serving chicken during the week we must really have all that we need!
To say that a heavy stone has been lifted off of my heart is not strong enough. More like a heavy iron weight. It’s not just the vitamins and minerals in the chicken. It’s the knowledge that someone out there is concerned with our welfare. It’s feeling that we are normal people again. Shabbos once again feels like Shabbos, and both the joy and the leftovers spill into the week.
May you be blessed from heaven with abundant blessings for all types of goodness in this world and the next.