Knock, Knock // Our hosts were home. Why didn’t they answer the door?

As told to Chaya Gross

“This is going to be awkward,” I said to my husband as we walked up the hill to his friend’s house. We had come to Eretz Yisrael shortly after our wedding and had been invited to shalosh seudos at my husband’s friend’s house. I’d been hyperventilating about this social obligation ever since he’d informed me of the invite. “I have no clue who this woman is. How can I just go eat at some random lady’s house?”

“She is not random,” my husband pointed out. “She’s the wife of the person with whom I spent the last three years learning.”

“Well, she’s still random to me. I’m not going to feel comfortable.”

“Don’t worry,” my husband reassured me. “You’re going to really hit it off while my old chavrusa and I sit and reminisce about the good old days.”

“Couldn’t you at least have picked a younger chavrusa?” I asked, panting by now. The Jerusalem hills were reminding me how out of shape I was. “I can’t see myself having anything in common with someone who’s a decade older than I am. She’s probably a rebbetzin and has a houseful of kids.”

“A decade isn’t so much,” my husband said with a laugh, “and they have five children. Seriously, stop being so nervous. Shabbos will be over in less than two hours. Worst-case scenario, you’ll have a miserable time and we’ll never go there again. Best-case scenario, you’ll have a blast and I’ll have to drag you out of there kicking and screaming.”

“I can’t imagine that happening, but I’ll stop harassing you,” I said. “How far is this place, anyway?”

“It’s actually right up the block,” he replied.

I peered at the row of identical white Jerusalem stone buildings. “What’s the address?”
“Number 32,” he replied. “Wow, being here is bringing back so many memories. I ate at this couple’s house several times.”

“What was it like?” I asked.

“You’ll find out,” he said noncommittally. “Hey, that’s her!” He pointed to a woman down the block. She seemed to notice us as well. She took one look at us and fled inside her building.

“She must have gone back in to make sure the house is spotless,” I whispered. “I guess all women are the same.”

“See, you already have something in common!” my husband said as we entered the building. “You’ll be begging me to come back next week.”

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