The week that we made Aliyah, we ordered a bunk bed that was quickly delivered.
What we forgot, however, was a guard rail so that little Yehuda could transition out of his crib without falling out of the bed. It was Friday, and we went over to our new neighbors to ask if they might, possibly have a bed rail (what a weird request!) that we could borrow. They were going away for Shabbat and we lucked into borrowing the one that they had for their son.
On Saturday night, we put the bed rail back by their front door since we knew they were returning. Sunday, we went into Jerusalem and bought this adorable bed rail in the picture. When we bought it, I remember feeling dumb because we didn’t bargain at the store at all. But we brought our cute bed rail home and enjoyed using one of our first purchases in Israel.
Much later, after we had become friendly with the neighbors from whom we borrowed the rail, they told us that they knew they would like us. “Why?” we asked, wondering what specifically we could have done that would make them decide they liked us because of one incident.
“You returned the bedrail on Saturday night. You probably still needed it that night for Yehuda, but you knew that we needed it back for our son. Many people would eventually get around to returning something they borrowed, but they wouldn’t always do it right away. And we knew that we would like you. You were thoughtful and sensitive.”
I thought their observation was fascinating and well worth remembering. Behavior definitely dictates character.
A few months ago, we realized that Yakir really didn’t need the bed rail anymore. And one side of the rail is broken off, so it’s really just been there for decoration and for sentimental value. But it was very hard to say goodbye.
On Friday, we finally parted after 14 years. As I carried it out of the house to put by the trash (where I was sure someone would take it and maybe repair it?), I felt nostalgic. Nostalgic for our early days after Aliyah, for our first purchases, for learning a lesson about character, and for growing out of yet another marker of my boys’ childhood.
Incidentally, Yehuda is now the counselor in Bnei Akiva for the boy from whom we borrowed the bed rail. And that definitely makes me smile.