What do you need before you leave the house? Keys, phone and wallet.
Before phones, was it really just your keys and your wallet? I guess women have always had to remember their pocketbooks, purses, handbags and fanny packs to carry their keys and, now, phones and wallets in. There are folks like me who have their wallets attached to their phones. I have one of those things that sticks on to the back that has my credit cards, library card, and other identification cards. This way, when I forget my phone, I remember that I have forgotten my wallet. Finding the key is always another fun adventure that more than once has ended with my calling Husband #1 with a desperate plea if he has any idea where my key is. I usually get a “Banj, why do you keep losing things??” Like Mr. Perfect has never lost anything. (That will be the only time you ever read me referring to Husband #1 as Mr. Perfect so I hope you enjoyed it.)
Anyway, this brings me to my beloved monkeys. They were always losing things. My favorite was when they lost their PSPs, those handheld video game thingamajigs. I don’t even know what the kids are playing these days, unless it is gemarah bingo, so I don’t know what the 2021 equivalent is, but I digress. “Mom, where is my psp?” “Mom, have you seen it?” “Mom, I left it on the table and it isn’t there!” “Mom, why did you clean my room — now I can’t find anything!” Ahh, the memories still make me feel all warm and fuzzy. But because I am actually a superhero, I always found their missing devices (and books, and hockey jerseys, and whatever else they had misplaced because that was my superpower, well, one of them anyway). It made me feel truly valued and powerful. And I discovered that after my monkeys would finish their water bottles, somehow the caps ended up underneath the couch. I still have no idea how that happened. I have found hundreds of water bottle caps underneath both the cushions and the sections of the couch and no one ever seems to know how they get there. Now if only I could find the 30,000 missing socks that have gone off to the great yonder over the years…
Well, this brings us to the today’s topic. Son #2 once joked with me that I had always said to my boys growing up that they can never forget to bring their tefillin, their gemarah, and their black hat wherever they went or traveled or whatever. Now, those of you that know me, know that this is a very funny joke, as I have never said that. Well, except for their tefillin, because if they forgot to bring that to school, it was I who had to bring it them, so that was that reasoning. Yes, tefillin, gemarah and black hat.
I now have three sons who always travel with those three things (and I hope their keys, not-smart phones, and wallets, which presumably are filled with mincha maariv cards, rebbe cards, and other card size prayers…and money? No, probably no money. But why do you need money when you have a baseball card with Rav Moshe Feinstein z’l’s face on it?)
Son #3 was lucky enough to get into Israel for Chanukah. By the skin of his teeth (technically, by the skin of his student visa, but that expression doesn’t roll off the tongue as well). His main reason for going was to see Son #2 and Dil #2, who have recently moved there (no, they haven’t made official aliyah yet and no, they aren’t there just for the year). The hours leading up to his flight were a little shaky, because the rules kept changing and yada yada yada.
He packs a suitcase with books (seforim) and wedding gifts that the newlyweds requested. And in his trusty knapsack, he packed his tefillin, his gemarah, and some Chanukah gelt that was meant for Son #2 and his lovely bride. His hat has its own bag, thank goodness.
He flies to Israel, gets there, shares a cab, and a few hours later, realizes that he is missing his trusty knapsack with two of the three items that he always must bring with him. His tefillin and gemarah (and the money that was for Son #2 and Dil #2).
Did he leave it in the cab? A WhatsApp went out to all the cab drivers in Jerusalem, thanks to a well-known rabbi. The man in charge of video surveillance in Son #2’s neighborhood was going to go through all of the footage to see if they could get the cab’s license plate. The investigation was on.
A friend of mine suggested he call the airport. He arrived in Israel early Monday morning and on Thursday morning, he got through to the airport, and the knapsack had been turned into the lost and found. And everything was still in it. Every. Single. Thing.
Yup, I really love Israel. Of course, this column would have been much cooler had they found the bag via the video surveillance guy, but knowing my boys, that might happen eventually as well!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck realizes there might have been a less wordy way to tell that story, but she hopes you enjoyed it anyway.