April 16, 2024
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April 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Ki Tavo: First-World Tochachos

Devarim 28:1-69

Hello, and thank you for joining me for the Maggid of Bergenfield this week. In honor of the bracha and klala, the blessing and curse, that this week’s parsha contains, I have decided to bless my readers with abundance, and perhaps to chastise my non-readers, just a bit. Here goes.

Behold, if you read the Maggid this week, and harken to his words, these are the blessings he shall offer you:

Your children will get the class assignments they want, sitting at desks next to their friends in class with the kindly teacher who gives out sugar-free lollipops on Fridays.

Your town will continue to offer free busing to private schools. And guess what? The new stop is in front of your house!

There will be no traffic on the George Washington Bridge as you commute to work. In fact, the traffic reporter said there’s no traffic anywhere in the tri-state area. You may shut off Waze and crank open the sunroof.

Your shoelaces shall stay tied all day.

The new kosher restaurant that is opening in Teaneck is offering Thai and Albanian cuisines, your favorites! Better get in while you can.

The Mets will finish in first place. Don’t ask for the Jets. That’s asking too much—even from a fiction writer.

You will find the parking space you need, one block from the Museum of Natural History, or 90 feet from the theater where you have orchestra seats to see The Book of Mormon.

You will be victorious over your wife in Words with Friends. Once.

The Amtrak Acela to Washington will arrive early, and you will have time for a Snapple before you catch your cab.

You will find time every day to go to the gym. And you shall find a lane in the pool.

Your daughter will be Shabbat Ima in her class, and all will go well as you beam with pride and watch her say the bracha over the challah. You are the only one who cries.

The weather on your beach vacation will be perfect. Warm and sunny in the daytime. Cool and breezy at night. You shall play mini golf without rain.

Your printer cartridge shall run forever, both color and black and white.

The beefsteak tomatoes you planted in your backyard in June shall be large and delicious. And you shall be the envy of the old lady neighbor who gardens next door.

Many shall compliment you on your new skirt. And you shall appear thin in the eyes of everyone.

But lo, if you do not read the Maggid this week. If you fall asleep Friday night after dinner and don’t read this 1063-word monstrosity, or if you just read the first part and don’t turn to the page where it is continued, these “First World Problems” may befall you:

When you wake up in the morning, all the clocks in your house will be flashing the wrong time, though you can recall no power outage.

Your EZPass will fail. The toll booth monitor will read, “Please contact customer service center,” and you will be billed for multiple toll violations.

Your daughter’s soccer team will not win a game, though you coach and toil in vain. Her best friend will win the championship as you watch in despair from the sidelines.

You will forget your personal siddur in the synagogue and be unable to find it anywhere. It will wander the shul for years, homeless and forlorn. It will only turn up three years later because you had the foresight to pen your name in the front, with a little BS”D in the right upper corner.

The milk will go bad before the expiration date, and you will have to trek to 7-11 at midnight so that the children shall not moan with their morning Fruit Loops.

Your skinny jeans will be so tight that you will be unable to get your cellphone into your pocket.

Your Wi-Fi connection shall be weak. You shall suffer two bars, no matter where in the house you stand. And you shall wait for your information. Minutes will seem like hours.

Your son will forget his homework at school, and the teacher neglected to post it on the class website. None of his friends will be available to lend him the sheet he needs, and you will be forced to drive to the school on Sunday, facing the vicissitudes of not knowing if the building will be locked.

You shall feel the urge to sneeze during a meeting, but you shall not sneeze. And all your associates will stare at you as you have that awkward pre-sneeze face.

You shall forget your password to Amazon, and you will struggle to order that book you wanted. And then it shall not arrive on the day you were guaranteed.

You will take your child to the doctor’s office for a routine visit, and she will have a major tantrum in the waiting room, exam room and parking lot. You will struggle to control her as you run into a man you used to date in college, while trying to give the secretary your insurance information.

Starbucks will get your order wrong and misspell your name horribly on your cup.

You shall suffer flight delays of immeasurable proportions. Chicago will seem as far as Seattle, and to get there for your meeting you will have to visit Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

The button shall fall from your shirt, and though you search and search there will be none to replace it.

Garbage pick-up shall be canceled for some obscure national holiday on the day after Passover, and your cans shall overflow onto the sidewalk. Squirrels will abound.

Mosquitos will love you.

You shall be stuck on the A Train between 168th and 175th Streets, even though you will be able to see the next station from your subway car.

Your pencil tip shall break, and there will be no sharpener.

These are the blessings and curses that the Maggid of Bergenfield revealed to his readers as he sat at his computer in the town of Teaneck. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Larry Stiefel is a pediatrician at Tenafly Pediatrics.

By Larry Stiefel

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