Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not a Rayah

On Chanuka this year (can you tell I'm trying to catch up with my life? I try to keep my promises, or hints of future posts.), my favorite mivtzoim was doing bikkur bayis close to yeshiva, at mainly russian apartment buildings.

I also enjoyed the company of my chavrusa, a nice boy from shiur beis mesivta. (He is twice my size, just to get the picture a little less fuzzy, if you are trying to recreate this in your mind.)
As we walked along, I told him that A Kratzmach Tree Is Not A Rayah for the person not being Jewish. Many times I encountered a Jewish Russian couple, that had kratzmach decorations, and glowing santas, only to find out they were Jewish. One old couple a few years ago when I was in LA, cried when I lit with them, saying that this was the first time in many years they had lit the menorah.

The problem with bikkur bayis at the apartments between Fairfax and yeshiva is that I'm not the only one who loves them and lighting with over twenty people. The secret is out. There are turf battles every night.

I had heard a pair of bochurim had already done a certain block that I was now entering.
I saw in the window of one apartment, a huge kratzmach tree, lit up and glowing, and apparently telling everyone, "Only goyim inside!"

I looked at my chavrusa, and said Not A Rayah!! He smiled, and we went upstairs to this apartment, certain that the other bochurim had skipped it.

We walked up the stairs, and walked along the inside of the complex.
We came right up to a window looking into a bedroom, where two girls were sitting.

They and us were both startled to see each other, in such close proximity.

I asked through the window if anybody was Jewish. One girl smiled, and said she was!!!
It turned out that her roommate had put up the tree, but she was Jewish, and had lit the menorah already a night or two before with her father. I gave her a menorah she could keep, and lit it with her.
I didn't want to let the candles drip wax on the glass table, so she took out a piece of tin foil. It was the end of the roll. How appropriate to finish it off with. (At another house, the same thing happened! The woman had no more tin foil, besides for one piece she had used for something else, and could re-use for the menorah. In both cases, the last piece was saved for the Chanuka Licht...)

So from then on, my chavrusa was convinced, and we went with the motto- Not A Ra'yah, and had a pretty great Chanuka.