‘‘Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?’’ // My husband borrowed money from my brother under false pretenses

As told to Rivka Pollack

My cellphone rang just as I was about to leave the house. I looked at the screen and my heart skipped a beat. It was my brother calling. I hesitated for a second before pressing the talk button.

“Hi, Shimshy,” I said as I picked up. “I have one foot out the door. Is it anything important?”

“It is, actually,” he replied. “Do you have a minute to spare? It involves your husband.”

I swallowed hard. I knew what was coming next.

“It’s about the loan your husband asked me for,” he went on.

“Okay…” I said slowly.

“I’ll be honest with you,” my brother continued. “Lending money is not something I feel comfortable doing, but I would never refuse family. Still, being that your husband asked for such a large amount of money, I’m worried that he won’t be able to pay it back. I wouldn’t want anything to ever come between us.”

“Where do I come into the picture?” I asked.

My brother paused. “Don’t tell Rafi that I spoke to you. I just wanted to ask if the business is stable enough that your husband intends to expand it.”

So that’s what my husband had told my brother! I thought to myself. That explained why Rafi had come home after their meeting all smiles and said that Shimshy would help him. I was wondering how he’d been able to convince him.

In truth, my husband had no intention of expanding his business. He wanted the money to buy a piece of property that he felt had great potential. I thought it was a terrible idea, but no amount of pleading could change my husband’s mind. When I begged him not to ask my brother for money he asked me to trust him. But apparently my husband also thought it was a risky venture, so instead of telling my brother that the money was for a property, he told him that he needed it for his business.

“I don’t need to know the nitty-gritty details,” Shimshy said. “I’m just trying to make sure I’ll get my money back.”

I gulped. There was no way I could betray my husband. I owed him my loyalty. But what was I supposed to tell my brother? My forehead broke out in a cold sweat. I was stuck between a rock and hard place.

“You’ll see your money back,” I said with as much conviction I could muster.

“Thanks,” Shimshy replied. “It’s not that I don’t trust Rafi, but sometimes people can’t be objective about their own affairs. I just wanted to hear what you had to say.”

“Sure,” I said.

“Don’t ever repeat this conversation to your husband,” my brother warned me. “He would feel terrible.”

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