Recap: Michal and her father receive elucidation from the Rov (Rabbi) and begin to discuss the situation with a psychiatrist,

“As I said, the eruptions are primarily the result of environment and incident. People use the expression ‘not normal,’ but sometimes, ‘not normal’ is normal. Think logically. Someone who went through the Holocaust and is absolutely mentally healthy — without any outbursts of anxiety or depression — is by no means ‘normal.’”

“That means,” Michal began to understand, “that if Elchanan would not have witnessed the terrible terrorist attack, this thing would not have erupted, and I wouldn’t have known, but at some stage in the future, it is likely that it would have erupted?”

“Definitely,” said the psychiatrist. “This is what we mean when we say ‘Everything is from Shamayim (by Heavenly decree).’”

 I recommend to you that before you decide, keep meeting with the Ezer Mizion staff. They’ll hold your hand. And if you decide to keep the marriage, Ezer Mizion will be available at any time 24/7 for anything that comes up, anything that makes you nervous, anything that seems questionable. They’ll be there for you to ease any difficult situation, anytime you wonder if something is normal or not and you need a listening ear, they’ll be there. Look into it more and…”

“Do your homework,” Michal finished for her. “You are the third one sending me to do it.” The homework was difficult. And Ezer Mizion did hold her hand… so lovingly, with so much information to answer her many, many questions. But ultimately, it was her decision. And a final decision was so hard.  And, as time passed, her parents were in the same place. At first, they were dead set against continuing the marriage, but a delegation of family members from the chatan’s (groom’s) side came and pleaded for him.

“Our family is absolutely devoid of any similar case,” Uncle Shloime promised. “I am willing to get hold of all the medical records and show you! It’s not in the family and not hereditary by any means.”

“It was a one-time incident that happened and triggered the outburst,” the mother cried. “Isn’t it something that could happen to anyone, especially in this country?”

“After Shabbat,” said her parents, “we’ll decide.”

And they put off the final decision a little more.


Malky sat on the bench, her eyes two blue slits, exuding tragedy.

That’s how Michal met her the first time on Erev Shabbat (Friday afternoon) , when she walked up the road on her way home from the neighborhood where the weekly Shabbat shiur (lecture) had been delivered.

She was just thinking how absurd it was that, again, she was going up the street. Again Shabbat. Again walking home with Libby, the friend-neighbor her age, from the weekly shiur. After she’d said “goodbye” to everything. After the pain and the separation that was accompanied by a sense of moving on. And now, she seemed to be going backwards.

“That’s Malky.” Libby poked Michal with her elbow. “Do you remember the story?” to be continued