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[STORY] Damsel in Distress (Update #16 - 26 Iyar p. 23)
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Post Thu, Jun 01 2023, 9:44 am
I'm hooked! love this.
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Ima Piano


Post Sun, Jul 09 2023, 9:38 pm
Waiting and waiting plssss
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Post Mon, Jul 10 2023, 2:15 am
why dont I think that chava was so wrong? its not like he expected her to be on birth control or wanted her to be. they didnt even discuss it before! so how do things change so drastically just because he just found out that the rav gave a blanket heter? yes, maybe she should have discussed it with him, but I honestly dont think it was so terrible and that his reaction was warranted
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Post Mon, Jul 10 2023, 4:49 am
amother Linen wrote:
why dont I think that chava was so wrong? its not like he expected her to be on birth control or wanted her to be. they didnt even discuss it before! so how do things change so drastically just because he just found out that the rav gave a blanket heter? yes, maybe she should have discussed it with him, but I honestly dont think it was so terrible and that his reaction was warranted

I think because he didn't discuss with her. Marriage is a partnership she can't just decide to do what she wants without talking it over with her husband.
My assumption was that he was upset over her making such a major (even though he may have agreed with it) decision that affected their marriage on her own.
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Post Mon, Jul 10 2023, 9:47 am
amother Linen wrote:
why dont I think that chava was so wrong? its not like he expected her to be on birth control or wanted her to be. they didnt even discuss it before! so how do things change so drastically just because he just found out that the rav gave a blanket heter? yes, maybe she should have discussed it with him, but I honestly dont think it was so terrible and that his reaction was warranted

Agreed. Eli has a horrible temper. Yes she should not have done this without discussing. It was rlly bad. But locking his new wife out of the bedroom all night... Completely inexcusable and lack of basic decency. Give the silent treatment if he wants, but this is next level. Also, you'd think he'd be at least the tiniest bit excited, and want to turn into protective husband / father mode. Not blow up.
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Post Tue, Jul 11 2023, 5:03 am
The Three Hardest Words

"Welcome to the Eli and Chava official Cleanup Session," Eli intones in a voice two octaves deeper than his normal speech.

He is gratified to see the corners of Chava's mouth twitch, but she doesn't respond.

So she's present, but not actively making things easier for him. Which is fair. She might have messed up, but it's his reaction that is currently piled up front and center. He needs to clean that up before there is anything at all to talk about.

"Chava..." Eli begins, then pauses again.

He takes a deep breath. Whoever called these the three hardest words to say was not kidding.

"Chava, I was wrong."

Once the boulders have cleared his mouth, it's easier to continue. Even with the tears forming in his eyes.

"Chava, I'm so so sorry. I lost my temper and the way I acted was awful. I punished you, and didn't even give you a chance to explain. I treated you like you were betraying me and trying to make me suffer. And I should have known, I've always known, that you don't ever want to hurt me. And still I hurt you.

"Chava, I want you to know that I feel terrible about what I did. I promise I'll do better next time.

"I told you once that I worked on my temper... I didn't realize how much more work I still need to do. But I will. I don't want to hurt you ever again."

There is silence.

Eli's vision is still blurry, although no tears have actually broken free. He can't tell what Chava's expression is like.

Finally, she says softly, "Thank you for telling me that."

Eli wilts a little at the lukewarm response.

Still, it can go either way. Cautiously, he offers, "I didn't give you a chance to explain last time... but I'm listening now."

Another long silence.

It is hard not to babble to fill the empty space, and Eli keeps his lips pressed tightly shut. Words are marching repetitively through his mind, and it takes him a minute to recognize them: "Selach Lanu, Mechal Lanu, Kaper Lanu."

At long last, Chava shifts in her chair.

She isn't looking at him, not at first. "When I was younger, we had a next door neighbor with a lot of little kids. They were adorable. They were also a handful, but nothing really unusual. My mother would ask me a lot of times to go over there and play with the kids after supper, or help with bedtime.

"I did, and I enjoyed it. I also liked that my mother would let me stay up later when I went.

"But I remember wondering — I must have been 10 or 11 — why the mother kept having so many kids. I don't know if I knew about birth control then or not, but I did know that some people had smaller families.

"And then one night, after I helped put the youngest to bed, and the mother, who was obviously very pregnant, said something that I never forgot. She thanked me of course, and then she said, 'Kids are wonderful, but they aren't the easiest mitzvah.'

"I didn't realize at the time what an impression it made on me, but I kept hearing those words: Kids are a mitzvah."

Eli waits, but Chava seems to be finished for now.

It's hard to raise an objection without sounding like he's attacking, but he tries. "Didn't you ever feel resentful about helping so much?"

Chava sighs. "Once I heard her, really heard her, no. It changes your perspective. It's like the farmers during Shemitah. People don't feel resentful about helping them sit and learn, you realize that you want to be part of the bracha."

Eli swallows a retort. Forcing himself to speak calmly, he offers, "Many things bring bracha. We don't do all of them."

"But this is a mitzvah."

"A mitzvah that maybe doesn't need to be done right away. Don't you think we should at least think about it?"

"No," Chava says simply.

Eli bites his lip.

"I mean, it's important to think about the how, to work out the best way to do things. But it's a mitzvah. The first step is agreeing to do it."

Here is a ready-made opening. "Chava, I appreciate your dedication. But I am not on that madreigah. I can't just blindly accept to have children right now, especially if halacha doesn't require it."

Chava leans forward. He can see the fire coming back into her eyes.

"I don't believe that, Eli."

It is the first time she has used his name today, and he notices.

"Why did you get married?"

Eli is unsure what kind of response she is expecting. He hopes he won't botch it. "I was happy to."

"No, what was the real reason?"

"I was forced to?"

"No, you weren't actually forced to. Why did you agree to get married at this point of your life when you were not actually planning on it?"

"Because it was the only option."

"Why was it the only option?"


Chava bangs on the table. "Right. Halacha. That's why you got married. Not because you wanted a partner. Not because you wanted a companion. Not because you wanted love or someone to cook for you. Because of Hashem."

Eli nods, not sure where this is going.

"And when you get married for yourself, then there are a lot of calculations. She isn't nice to me. She is bringing out the worst in me. See, I had my temper problem fixed before and she is destroying all my progress. It's easy to decide that the marriage is no good.

"And then when it comes time to have children, it's the same thing. I'm not ready. Now's not a good time. It's too weird to have a baby here."

Eli looks down.

"And... it's true. All those things are true. But Eli...

"I want to be married because of Hashem. Not because it makes sense. Because a lot of times it won't. We end up hurting each other. Like today.

"But if we're married because of Hashem it will last. And that means doing it His way. And having kids is a mitzvah too.

"Maybe, maybe because naturally women want to have children, they forget that it's a mitzvah. But for a mitzvah, we don't make cheshbonos."

Chava is looking directly at him now, pleadingly.

"Hashem also gives exemptions, though," Eli says.

"But in some cases it is our choice to take them or not."

"Like now?"

"Like now," Chava says evenly. "We don't have any compelling reasons why not, just a bunch of what ifs."

"We have a heter."

"If there was a pressing need, I'd take it. But you don't ask every Erev Shabbos if you should be Mechalel Shabbos."

"I'm not sure I agree with your premise." Eli says.


"Can I tell you my story?"

Chava nods.

"Growing up, we had a few big families on our block. The biggest one really stands out in my mind. My sisters would go over a lot to help them, but they were a bunch of rowdy kids and their mother seemed to be always sitting on the front porch complaining while her kids ran around. I remember their house being messy and wild."

"Mazel Tov Eli, you saw an imperfect family." Chava's sarcasm is cutting.

"That's not my point. But I realized once that the main reason they had so many kids was peer pressure. Their kids weren't really wanted, and definitely not taken care of.

"I saw it, and I didn't like it.

"I don't want to have kids just because that's what you're supposed to do."

The words hang.

"Eli," Chava says at last, "did you have friends in school?"

Another trap is in the offing, he knows. Warily, he answers affirmatively.

"And did you encourage each other in learning? Play basketball together at breaks?"

"Yes," he answers again.

"That's peer pressure too. Peer pressure to do a mitzvah is not a bad thing."

"In the case of my neighbors, it was."

"No, in the case of your neighbors it was good. But they only got half the message. It's a mitzvah to have kids, and also a mitzvah to raise them properly. Your block apparently didn't manage to give enough peer pressure for the second part."

"Or in other words," Eli sums it up, "you need to aim higher."

Chava nods.

Eli closes his eyes and lets himself think. He feels too young for this. Making a decision, as Chava seems to be saying, to have children as soon as Hashem sends them? Even here, in what is essentially a prison? Ignoring his logical mind, which is screaming at him that children need to be planned for?

But then again, how did he even get here? Sitting here with a young woman from a different city, who was obviously his soulmate, who both pushed all of his buttons and was pushing him to take a higher path?

Eli opens his eyes and looks straight at Chava. "I accept."

It is a beautiful moment.

Until he stretches out his hand to shake on it, pulling it back flustered once he remembers.

Chava tries to keep a straight face, but gives up quickly. Relieved, he joins in the laughter.

Eli feels himself really breathing for the first time since his blowup.

When they both have calmed down, though, he looks earnestly at Chava.

"Chava, you betrayed me."

Chava winces.

"But you didn't betray our marriage."

Chava's voice is icy. "What's the difference?"

"Me, as a person, you left me out. But you made a decision based on what is good for our marriage, for Hashem.

"Chava... after hearing you out, I'm not angry at you. I'm sorry I was."

Chava's face relaxes again.

"But I don't want this kind of thing to happen again. I don't want it to be me versus the marriage.

"Like you were saying before, there's an option to aim higher."

Eli takes a deep breath before continuing.

"Please, don't keep secrets from me. I'm okay with holding onto a decision that I'm not ready for until we can work it out. But I want to be together with it."

Now it's Eli's turn to look pleadingly across the table.

Chava, her eyes welling up, meets his gaze.

"I agree. I'm so sorry, Eli."

Eli smiles, a full smile that shows that she is forgiven.

"Air shake?" she offers.

They both jump when they hear a knock at the door.

to be continued...
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Post Tue, Jul 11 2023, 11:46 am
Just bumping this up for those that missed it.
You've done it again op! I'm still on the edge of my seat suspense...
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Post Tue, Jul 11 2023, 12:51 pm
I couldn’t wait to my baby down for her nap today! Rly enjoyed!
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Post Sun, Jul 16 2023, 7:02 am
Love the update! But with an ending like that, you can't leave us hanging for too long... I'm so curious who's gonna be at the door Very Happy
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Post Sun, Jul 16 2023, 7:35 am
amother Burlywood wrote:
Can there be a rule that no one can bump up this thread unless there’s a story update? Sad

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Post Sun, Jul 16 2023, 7:35 am
Great installment...again! Thanks
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Post Fri, Nov 03 2023, 10:05 am
bumping for whoever isn't signed up for updates on the other thread https://www.imamother.com/foru.....42056
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Post Thu, Nov 30 2023, 4:39 pm
Lizchus all of the Yidden around the world, especially in Eretz Yisroel, that they should be safe and well (if this type of thing is a zechus...) -

Another partial chapter.
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Post Thu, Nov 30 2023, 4:39 pm
Mesiras Nefesh

Who on earth would be knocking on the door?

Eli's brain goes into overdrive. Chava turns pale and freezes. What if that guard is back to continue what he started? Can he keep her safe?

There's no time to actually do anything. A moment later, the door opens a crack.

"Eli? Chava? Can we come in?"

It's Rabbi and Rebbetzin Cohen.

Eli sags back into his chair in relief and astonishment. Chava's face mirrors his, and they both break into hysterical laughter.

"Can we come in?" Rebbetzin Cohen calls again.

Pulling himself together, Eli stands up and opens the door for their guests.

"Bruchim Habaim! Come in, let me get you chairs."

"Too bad you weren't here a few hours ago," Chava says to the Rebbetzin ruefully.

"Actually, we were. But once we found out what happened, we decided to leave you two for last. We figured you might need some more time."

"How did you know to come today?"

"We actually got an anonymous tip, hinting that we might want to visit our married friends very soon."

"An anonymous tip?" Chava is intrigued.

"A phone call from Unknown Caller, in an obviously disguised voice."

Once they are all seated around the table, with a plate of rugelach and bottle of juice for their guests, Rabbi Cohen explains.

"We got an unexpected phone call from someone with a very muffled voice. He suggested that we might want to visit our married friends, and hung up quickly. We weren't sure if it was a prank call or not, but decided we'd better err on the side of caution. We drove over here last night and made surprise visits to several of the couples.

"We didn't know if there was something specific we should know, who the caller was talking about, or even if it was all nothing.

"Behashgacha Protis, when we decided to visit just one more couple and call it a night, we met the right people. A very traumatized kallah told us about the incident with the guard. We were able to calm them down and promised to take care of things.

"Today we met with the rest of the couples, but left you for last, so we could have as much time as we need.

"I'm sorry you had to go through that, and I assure you that we will do our best to make sure it never happens again."

Eli's face hardens. "Rabbi Cohen, can I speak to you privately for a minute?"

Obligingly, Rabbi Cohen goes to the back of the apartment with Eli. "What is on your mind?"

"I don't want Chava doing this job anymore."

"You mean mikvah attendant?"

"Yes," Eli confirms. "It's too dangerous."

"Does your wife also want to stop?"

"No. But I don't want her doing this anymore."

Rabbi Cohen reflects for a minute, obviously comfortable with the silence. Then he looks directly at Eli. "We don't usually demand Mesiras Nefesh from people. If you say it's too much, I'd agree. We'd look for another solution.

"But in this case, I'm not sure. Eli, I understand you are a paramedic?"

Eli nods.

"Patients who are severely injured are often in dangerous situations, correct?"

Eli nods again.

"And although I understand that you are supposed to first make sure the scene is safe, you would go into danger to save someone if you had to?"

Eli considers, picturing some of the scenarios he had trained for, and then agrees.

"You also agree that Ruchnius matters are no less important than Gashmius, correct?"

"Yes," Eli says slowly.

"So this is not a matter of not valuing the mitzvah of Taharas Hamishpacha. This is not a matter of not realizing that this is a mitzvah worth some risk.

"So what is it? If your wife was an EMT, would you allow her to go into a dangerous situation to save someone's life?"

Mentally putting Chava into the crime scenes in his textbook, Eli shudders. "No way!"

"So for yourself it is okay to be in a dangerous situation, but not for her. Can I ask why?"

For a moment Eli is quiet. Then he tries to explain, agonized. "Do you know how many times I saved Chava's life? How many close calls she had? I spent so many nights terrified to sleep. It was my responsibility to keep her safe, and I almost couldn't do it. I can't let her do anything dangerous!"

Rabbi Cohen nods, thinking.

"I remember a few months ago, having a conversation with you while you were still dating. Then, you mentioned your now-wife's baggage.

"But it looks like you have some of your own too."

Eli flushes, but can't deny it.

"I understand that it will take you some time to work through things. That's fine. But it was never you with the bottom line responsibility for your wife's wellbeing. That was up to Hashem. You had your role, and I understand you performed it admirably, with real Mesiras Nefesh.

"Now it is your wife's turn to do her role. We're working on making it as safe as possible, but it may still take some Mesiras Nefesh, from both of you.

"I do not accept your resignation."

Eli looks like he wants to argue, but stops himself. That's been the theme of today, no? Knowing the ideal and working towards it, even when you're not there yet.

"I'll try," he forces himself to say.

to be continued...
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Post Wed, Dec 06 2023, 1:00 am
Thank you OP! Amazing! So glad I saw this.

If I could add my two cents - any chance they can talk over the birth control decision with the Rav and Rebetzin?
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Post Wed, Dec 06 2023, 10:03 am
Love!! Too short Sad
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Post Wed, Dec 06 2023, 11:14 am
Just found this today!
This is AMAZING and I'm hooked!!!

But now I also have to wait for the next chapter like everyone who found this earlier... LOL!
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Post Tue, Dec 26 2023, 3:12 pm
Three Questions

Chava is not getting off the hook either.

With Eli engaged in a quiet conversation of his own, Rebbetzin Cohen turns to Chava.

"I'd like to discuss the incident that happened yesterday, but we'll do that together with both of you.

"In the meantime, tell me, how are things going?"

Chava hesitates. "What do you mean?"

"You're in Shana Rishona. How is it? Are you doing okay with Shalom Bayis? Does your husband treat you well?"

It's not good timing for evasiveness. Chava drops her eyes. "Usually," she whispers.

"You had a fight?" the Rebbetzin asks directly.

Her tone is casual, Chava notes. Should she tell her or not? With a mental shrug, she decides to tell the truth.

"A big one."

"Chava, can I ask you something?"

For a moment Chava is afraid the Rebbetzin will ask about the topic. She felt so right before, but now she's second-guessing herself. Would the wisdom of age agree with her decision? She nods anyhow. What choice does she have?

"Do you feel safe with him?"

Chava looks straight at the Rebbetzin. "Yes, but..."

The Rebbetzin waits.

"But... but it was terrifying. When he was angry at me and I was upset at him and it felt like the whole marriage was over."

The words hang harsh in the air.

But the Rebbetzin doesn't seem too bothered.

"Believe it or not, me and my husband fought too."

Chava eyes her skeptically.

"Especially after we first got married. Those were really something."

Chava glances over at Rabbi Cohen. She cannot picture the mild-mannered Rebbetzin having a heated argument with anyone, especially not the gentle bearded Rabbi now involved in an earnest discussion with Eli.

"Fought? You mean had a disagreement?"

"No," the Rebbetzin responds, "like we yelled at each other, and not always such nice words. Fighting happens, even in good marriages."

Chava's deep fear, the one she was afraid to even admit to herself, bubbles up.

"But... so if fighting is normal in a good marriage... then... how would I know if I was in a bad marriage?"

There are tears in her eyes now. It hurts just to have the question. Even if... even if she was in a bad marriage, would she want to leave?

Rebbetzin Cohen takes Chava's hand.

"It's a good thing that nowadays we are aware of abuse. It's good that we can name it and we all agree it's not acceptable. It's good that we realize that a healthy marriage cannot last under abusive conditions.

"But it also makes things more difficult.

"It used to be that you got married knowing it's a bond forever, and only if forever changed would you dream of breaking that apart.

"Now it's harder, because all the young couples keep taking their pulse, wondering if they are in an abusive relationship. It introduces fear into the marriage, and that's not so easy to deal with."

Chava considers. It's true, what the Rebbetzin is saying. Even worse than the actual pain or hurt from whatever Eli said or did, the underlying soundtrack is the somber announcement that her marriage is over.

"So... is there a way to know?"

Rebbetzin Cohen shrugs. "There is no blood test you can take to know for sure. And there are probably a million opinions on how to tell when a marriage is abusive.

"I'll tell you mine, though.

"You need to ask yourself the following questions: Does my spouse take my feelings seriously? Does he respect my opinions? Will he do things for me that are hard for him?

"If the answer to all of those is yes, I would say you are not in an abusive relationship.

"That doesn't mean you automatically have perfect Shalom Bayis and everything goes smoothly. But those are the foundation of a healthy marriage."

Does Eli take my feelings seriously? Does Eli respect my opinions? Will he do hard things for me?

The answer, Chava knows, is a firm yes.

Relief floods her, and she smiles at the Rebbetzin.

"So when does Shana Rishona get easier?"

Continued here...
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Post Tue, Dec 26 2023, 4:58 pm
Well done! Looking forward to more...
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Post Wed, Dec 27 2023, 2:48 am
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