Sunday, 19 January 2014

Have You Ever Lost a Penny?`

Have you been eager to read little snippets from Mary's Diary from time to time? Well, here is another one. It is based on the parable of the lost coin.

Poor Michal! She was frantic with worry today. Raddai
had gone on a business trip with his father but would
return by nightfall. For the first time in their short married life
Michal was dreading his return.
Somehow she had lost one
of the dowry coins that had been fastened to the hat below
her wedding veil. Oh, she was so lovely and radiant on her
wedding day but now her face was marred with tears.
              “Mary’am!” Michal cried as she burst through the door,
“Mary’am, the most awful thing has happened!”
              “What is it I cried, clutching her arm. “Is it your Imma—or
your Savta Salome?”
              “Nay, it is worse, far worse! Nay, no, not worse but—oh
Mary’am I have lost one of my dowry coins!”
              “Lost it! Oh, my darling tinoki, how could that be?”
              We both knew this was no small loss. It wasn’t only the
value of the coin, which was significant, but more what
it represented. This was one of the dowry coins. If it was
missing, the husband could accuse his wife of using it to
commit adultery, and that was enough grounds for divorce!
Surely Raddai would not be that hasty or hard hearted, but
I do happen to know that his father had not approved of his
choice of a bride, even though he gave consent. It was urgent
that it be found.
              Together we scurried over to their house, and looked high,
and low for that missing silver piece. It was so dim in the
house, even with the door wide open, that in desperation
Michal lighted one of their precious candles as we continued
searching. I took it upon myself to sweep every corner of her earthen
floor, and to shake out all the reed mats, and pallets while Michal busied
herself with I know not what.
              “Oh Michal, Chavivi,” I mourned, “How did you ever
manage to misplace it?”
              “I was caring for the neighbors’ youngsters—such a rowdy
trio they are—while their parents went to a funeral in Cyros.
It was after they returned to their home that I noticed the coin
was missing.” She carefully shook out her wedding garments,
and searched among the folds. I took another candle, and
examined all the cracks at the edge of the room lest it had
rolled into one.

     As the hours lengthened, our anxiety increased. Without a
doubt the drachma would lose its color once it was ground into
the dirt, and surely the inscription would be worn off. How
would it ever be found?”
              “I found it!” Michal shrieked holding it high in the air.
Carefully we removed all the dirt, and caused it to shine in its
former glory. Michal snatched it up once again, and flew out
the door.

              “Rejoice with me!” she hollered to some aant’at  strolling
down the street. They were on their way home from shopping,
and stared at her in astonishment.
              “Judith! Devora!—Hana—Naomi! Rejoice with me for I
have found my lost coin!”
              Eagerly they rushed through the door, and admired the
coin as if they had never seen a drachma before. Naomi offered
to fasten it back on to the hat while Rachael opened a new
cask of wine, and diluted it with fresh well water. Judith
presented her freshly purchased basket of honey cakes, and
dates for the feast, but before we could partake, the younger
ladies started spontaneously dancing for joy. Of course those
small quarters could not contain such liveliness so the group
overflowed into the street. Other Aleichem both young and old
hurried over, eager to join in the merriment.

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