Thanks for the Beets

beets watercolor by Leora Wenger

"See that woman walking down the street
Don't you know she brought me my beets
She brought me beets,
She brought me beets,
Yeah, we got some beets."

When my daughter was six months old, we had a family crisis. I won’t go into the details, in order to protect family members who aren’t anxious to tell the whole wide world all about our lives. However, there were many friends, acquaintances, and community members who helped us, as well as two superb New Jersey surgeons who performed two separate operations on two different patients.

I would like to highlight one person in particular. At the beginning of the crisis, she discovered through a friend that I liked beets. So every week before Shabbat she brought us a different dish containing beets; some had pickles, some had onions, some lemon, some potatoes. But it really wasn’t the beet dishes themselves that struck the chord for me; it was her understanding that our crisis did not end in a few weeks. Indeed, it was difficult for almost six months. But she brought us beets for at least four months, and then she said: it’s time for me to help another family. That was more than fine with me; I was happy to let our mitzvah lady help another family. I want to stress how thankful I was that she got the lengthiness of the situation and how it went on beyond the first few weeks of help. Getting that extra piece, that meant a lot to me.

She now lives somewhere in Jerusalem; on our last visit, we saw her daughter, and through her daughter I thanked her once again. But for someone who understood difficulty and pain, it’s always good to thank her again.

This post was inspired by Juggling Frog’s new Carnival of Overdue Thanks.

9 thoughts on “Thanks for the Beets

  • Is that a literary reference?
    I like how the crisis went on for six months, but she stopped after 4 (and long after everyone else). You can get used to that kind of help.

  • This is a beautiful story, with an unusual ingredient. Funny how these details can help us go through hard times because of the kindness we can feel behind them.

  • The details make all the difference. As does perseverance.

    When we have beets as one of the simanim at Rosh Hashanah, we ask that our adversaries be removed. But she raised the beets to an even higher level, because with them, she added thoughtfulness and friendship.

    Thank you for sharing this with the Gratitude Carnival, Leora!

  • Mother in Israel, it’s the Go-Gos:
    See the people walking down the street
    Fall in line just watching all their feet
    They don’t know where they wanna go
    But they’re walking in time
    They got the beat

    They got the beat
    They got the beat
    They got the beat
    Ilana-Davita, yes, and when I saw her daughter again, I remembered what a kind, thoughtful person she was.
    Juggling Frogs, I like that, relating this to RH–beets symbolize removal, as in “may our adversaries be removed.” At that point in my life my “adversary” was feeling like I had way too much on my plate.

  • Yes! These are the kind of people I was talking about in my recent post! They are amazing, aren’t they?

    And I love the song, and beauty of beets. Wish I liked how they tasted.

  • Wow, this is such a great story of a relatively small ongoing chesed that made a difference. One dish, once a week seems like something I could do.

  • It is always easy to throw a little money at a problem. It is somewhat harder to make that meal for a family in need. It takes special reminders, like your appreciation of your Mitzvah Lady (“she’s got the beet, she’s got the beet, yeah”), to remind us not to use that single gesture to wash our hands of the crisis. After all, we are one family. Her problem is my problem. Her health crisis is mine.

    Excuse me… I have a couple of calls to make…

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