Michael Geller was sitting in the den, reading the Wall Street Journal when he heard the rustling at the front door. It was not a sound that he liked, for he knew what it meant. It was the rustling of shopping bags, and it meant that his wife had been at the mall. This was not a positive development.
“In the den, Honey.”
The rustling got louder and louder until Dina Geller appeared in the doorway with her two daughters in tow. Sure enough she had bags, more than a few.
“Hey, Sweetie, you’ll never guess what I got the girls at Target.”
Tehila and Leora rushed over to their father and gave him a big hug. Clearly they were very excited about their purchase.
Michael folded the newspaper and dropped it to the floor. “You’re right, I will never guess.”
Dina ignored Michael’s surliness. She handed each of her daughters a bag. “Go ahead, girls, model them for your father.”
The girls practically squealed with delight as they rushed from the room with their bags.
“Dina, you promised, no shopping.”
“I know, I know. But this is different. This is special. Wait till you see them.”
“But we agreed that you would take a break after all the stuff you bought the girls for Rosh Hashana and Succot. Their closets runneth over with abundance, Honey.”
“I know. But this is different; you’re really going to like this purchase.”
Tehila came in first, followed soon thereafter by Leora. But the clothing they were wearing looked almost exactly like what they had on before.
“O.K.,” Michael said with a phony smile glued to his face, “what am I looking at, here? Am I missing something?”
“You’re not looking in the right place,” Leora said. “Go lower.” She glanced down at her feet.
“You bought the girls army boots.”
Dina smiled triumphantly. “That is correct. They are all the rage now.”
“Dina, sweetie, they look like something my father wore in the Korean War, and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t making a fashion statement.”
Leora smiled. “I’ll bet Grandpa’s boots didn’t have a shiny gold lining that you can fold over and that looks seriously cool.”
“My lining is plaid,” Tehila chimed in, folding over her boot with glee.
Dina smiled at her husband of fifteen years with tenderness and understanding. “Really.”
“So why did you think I would like this purchase?”
“Because these boots are connected to this week’s parsha,” Dina said.
This peeked Michael’s interest. “Go on…”
“G-d told Adam not to eat from the Eitz Hada’at, the Tree of Knowledge,” Leora said. “ He said that if Adam ate from it, the punishment would be death. Are you with me so far, Dad?”
Tehila continued. “Then the snake gets Chava to taste the fruit of the tree, and she gives it to Adam.”
“Then Hashem catches them after they ate,” Leora chimed in. “Busted!”
“So tell, me Daddy, what punishment do they get?” Tehila asked.
“Well, the snake has to slither on the ground and becomes man’s enemy. Chava has to suffer during childbirth, and Adam has to get his food by working hard on the earth. How’s that?”
“Not bad, not bad at all,” Leora said, pinching her father’s cheek. “So then what happens next?”
“What do you mean?” Michael asked.
“What happens next in the story?”
“Doesn’t the parsha jump to the story of Cayin and Hevel, you know the whole brother’s keeper thing?”
“Not quite,” Tehila said. “Actually there is a brief interlude before that.”
“A brief interlude, you say?”
“Yes, that’s what I say,” Tehila piped in. “In fact, if someone can provide me with a chumash, I’ll read it to you.”
“I’m way ahead of you,” Dina said. She read from the chumash. “Vaya-as Hashem Elokim le-Adam ule-ishto katnot or vayalbishem, And Hashem made for Adam and his wife clothes of leather and He dressed them.”
“So not only does Hashem not kill them, He eventually makes them leather clothes to wear to protect them,” Tehila said.
“Yeah, and probably He wanted them to look really fashionable, too,” Leora added.
“Um, O.K., there’s that, too,” Tehila agreed. “So G-d showed mercy on his creations and clothed them. The story ends with a demonstration of G-d’s kindness.”
“And that’s why Mommy bought us leather boots,” Leora added. “To remember G-d’s kindness to man and to encourage us to emulate Him.”
“Wow, I’m impressed,” Michael admitted.
All of Michael Geller’s women smiled.
“I just have one question,” Michael said. “G-d made Adam and Chava leather garments, not shoes. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to buy leather skirts or vests?”
“I thought of that, too,” Dina agreed. “But the skirts were seventy dollars at Target and the boots were on sale for twenty-five.”
“I see your point,” Michael said. “Good thinking, honey.”
Michael smiled with his family. Under the circumstances it was a lesson well learned for everyone and only a small dent on his credit card account. Truly, G-d is merciful.