When Tevya spoke to God, he said, "I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can't You choose someone else." Tevye was modeled after my grandfather's uncle, making me related to Sholem Aleichem, author of Fiddler on the Roof, and his grand daughter Belle Kaufman of Up the Down Staircase fame. I'm one of the people chosen to eat unleaven bread while others eat chocolate eggs.
I identify with Tevye when sitting around the Passover table. We enjoyed our family seders complete with our Haggadah, or seder book, that tells the story of our ancestors who were slaves in Egypt. The whole mishpacha took turns reading from the book. The best part of our seders, besides dinner, were the intellectual discussions. For example, we always end the seder with, "Next year in Jerusalem," but if we could really leave our homes and move to Israel for next year, would we? Or if God had only freed us from Egyptian slavery yet left us in the dessert to starve would it really have been enough? As Jews, we are taught to question thus providing great intellectual stimulation.
In the end, our story has not changed: They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat.
After a week of eating matzah, maybe it will be a good thing to have left over Dulcolax from the colonoscopy.
I almost died at the age of seven. Sure, we all use the expression "almost died" or "could have died," but this was no joke. It all started when my sister took me to the grounds of Concordia Seminary where she helped me perfect my bike riding skills by having me circle the parking lot. Once I got good at it, she encouraged me to ride down the hill toward the street.
This wouldn't have been a problem for most kids, you just put your feet on the pedals and coast your way down; however, I didn't have the concept of coasting. With full pedal pushing strength, I flew down that hill. I enjoyed the wind in my face and the thrill of the fast ride until I neared the bottom and spied a car headed straight at me.
In a panic, I pumped the break with no luck because at such a fast speed, one does not stop easily. Now here comes the weird part: right as I was set to plow head first into the car, someone grabbed the handlebars of my bike and moved me out of the way. No one was there.
So you're probably thinking I'm nuts, insane, crazy, or just plain coo coo, but I swear, someone pulled my bike out of the way of that car. No doubt about it. My bike moved to the left, and I crashed into a grassy hill, which gave me two bloody knees. That was no big deal since I rarely saw knee skin throughout my entire childhood anyway.
My sister told me how brilliant I was for turning the wheel of the bike. I didn't turn the wheel. I'm not sure who did. Maybe it was an angel, or a relative who was never more or not yet. No telling about that, but one thing's for sure: I was not meant to die at age seven.