Lights Out! // My Sister Would Understand… It Was An Emergency, Right?

By Chana R. Rubinstein

That Friday night I was cuddled up on the couch, reading and enjoying the peace and quiet. After a whirlwind Yom Tov, I was glad to have a Shabbos to recharge my batteries. My husband was in shul, and my two little kids were fast asleep. I lazily turned the page, and then suddenly everything went completely dark.

“Hey!” I shrieked, clutching the couch for dear life. “What’s going on? Help!” But with Hubby in shul and my toddler and infant fast asleep, there was no one to hear my cries. As my eyes adjusted somewhat to the darkness, I made my way to the window and opened the blinds. A little light trickled in. It seemed as if we were the only ones experiencing a blackout. I stood by the window for what seemed an eternity, until I finally saw my husband turning the corner.

“What in the world?” he asked as soon as he entered.

“Come to the dining room,” I said, leading the way to where my Shabbos candles were still burning. “There seems to be a blackout.”

“That’s weird,” my husband replied. “Why only us? Everyone else seems to have electricity.”

“I don’t know,” I said, “but there’s no way we’re staying here tonight. I can’t see a thing. And besides, it isn’t safe for the kids.”

“Well, what do you suggest? Where are we supposed to go on a Friday night?”

“My mother,” I proposed.

“Your mother’s house is an hour’s walk away,” my husband pointed out. “And besides, the eruv doesn’t extend there. We need someplace closer.”

The darkness was getting claustrophobic. My eyes were beginning to hurt from the strain, and I felt a headache coming on. We needed somewhere to go ASAP.

“How about your sister?” my husband suddenly exclaimed.

“You mean Rivky’s house?” I asked. “They aren’t home.”

My sister Rivky and her family had gone overseas to her in-laws for Sukkos. Her house was just down the block.

“Didn’t she leave her key with you in case of emergency?”

“She meant her emergencies,” I replied.

Just then the baby started to cry.

“Well, this is an emergency,” my husband stated as we both blindly made our way down the hallway, following the sound of the baby’s wails. Opening the door, I scooped up the baby, and my husband picked up the toddler. It took another several minutes of fumbling around until we found Rivky’s key, and then we made our way out the door.

It was a relief to be outside under the streetlights. We walked down the block and stopped in front of my sister’s house. I hesitated a moment before turning the key and then stepped inside. Just enough lights had been left on to fool a would-be burglar into thinking that someone was home.

“It’s okay,” my husband reassured me when he saw how uncomfortable I was. “Your sister would definitely have given us her permission to stay here.”

To read more, subscribe to Ami