My cellphone rang just as I was dozing off. Groggily, I pressed the talk button.
“Hello,” I croaked, slightly disoriented.
“Hi, Nechama. It’s Gitty Klein,” my neighbor said cheerily. “Mazel tov! I’m so happy for you!”
“You sound tired,” she said. “Baby keeping you up?”
“Doing what babies do best.” I yawned, struggling to keep my eyes open.
“I don’t want to keep you,” she continued. “I just wanted to tell you that you shouldn’t even think about suppers for the next week. I’ve arranged a rotation. Everything’s covered.”
The baby started crying.
“We’ll be in touch,” she assured me quickly. “Bye! Hope you get some rest.”
Before I could respond, she hung up. Within minutes, the baby and I were fast asleep. Two hours later I woke up refreshed. A second later I heard my phone vibrating.
Gitty: Batsheva Feiner has reserved the honor of tomorrow night. Are your other kids home? She just wants to know how much to cook.
I stared in confusion at the text. What in the world was she talking about? Then I remembered her call. Gitty had apparently asked all the neighbors to cook meals for me. No way! I quickly called her back.
“Wow. You sure sound better than you did before,” she said with a laugh. “How many people should I tell Batsheva to cook for?”
“It’s really not necessary—”
“Oh, c’mon. We’re thrilled to be able to do it for you.”
“But I really don’t—”
“Everyone says the same thing, but when the meals show up on their doorstep, they’re delighted.”
I tried one more tactic. “I have tons of suppers that I froze in advance. Really, you’re very kind and I appreciate it, but—”
“No ifs, ands or buts,” Gitty said firmly. “Save the frozen meals for another time. A kimpeturin needs to recover her strength, and we consider it a privilege. So how many people are we cooking for?”
“Just me and my husband,” I reluctantly replied. “The kids are still at my mother’s house.”
“Great. Tell your husband that dinner will be served at seven.”
I hung up the phone and sighed. It was very thoughtful of my neighbors and I really appreciated it, but I have borderline OCD when it comes to eating other people’s food. I can’t do it. Even if I know that you can eat off their floors and that they have a degree from a culinary institute, I’d rather eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich than put their food in my mouth.