Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 7 of a new online serial novel, Beneath the Surface, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every Thursday or Friday. Click here for previous chapters.
Copyright © 2011 by Israel Bookshop Publication
From afar Shragi saw the vehicle growing smaller in the distance. He recognized Yehudis’s school bus and knew it was already twenty to eight. Within twenty minutes, he decided, he had to be on the 400 bus that would take him back to yeshivah. He didn’t want to be late to seder; it was enough he had missed davening in yeshivah.
He went up in the elevator and knocked lightly on the door before pushing it open wide. “Hello!” he called into the house.
His father greeted him in the kitchen. “Hello, Reb Shraga. Getting ready to leave?”
Shragi smiled. “That’s right, Abba. I want to be on the next bus.”
Gershon Ostfeld stood up. “Come, I’ll drive you to Rabi Akiva Street.”
“Oh, thanks, Abba! I hope it’s not too much trouble.”
“Trouble? For you, my dear son, it’s not a problem at all.”
Shragi hurried to his room and found that the carry-on he had arrived with yesterday was already packed up.
“Thanks a lot, Ima,” he said, smiling at his mother who walked in at that moment. “I see you packed my things for me.” He picked up the bag with his left hand and slid his tefillin bag into it.
“You’re leaving now?”
“Yes, Abba’s taking me to the bus stop.”
She stopped him near the door. “Shragi, just remember that the other side is waiting for us to get back to them. We spoke yesterday. I heard your concerns. That’s fine. But what do you want me to tell Rabbi Minzer? We can’t keep them waiting too long for an answer; it’s really not nice to the other side. You have to decide, one way or another.” She looked directly at him, waiting for his answer.
“I’ll tell you the truth, Ima: I really don’t know.” He smiled, but there was something in that smile that she could not decipher. “I had planned to think about it last night, but I was so tired that I fell asleep the second my head touched the pillow. I’ll think about it on the bus to Yerushalayim, and I’ll try to give you an answer by this evening. Is that okay?”
Chani acquiesced. “Okay, Shragi, this evening is reasonable. You’ve heard my opinion, you saw what you saw, and now, all you have to do is make the decision.”
“All I have to do…” he echoed her words. “Just the decision…” Keep Reading…