It is a typical Monday morning, and the little cheder boys spill energetically into their classroom. They have their seats and sit transfixed as the rebbe begins his daily lesson on the ‘alef beis.’ One figure in the classroom, however, is out of place. In one of the miniature plastic chairs sits a grown man with a grey beard. At first he appears to be a visitor, there to observe on behalf of a grandchild. Soon, however, it becomes clear: He is a talmid.
Brain damage has robbed the man who used to be a talmid chacham of even the most rudimentary Jewish knowledge. As the lessons draw to a close, he follows the children out onto the playground. Tragically unaware of his impairment, he plays as if he is a child. Just then, his adult children come to escort him home. With tears of humiliation and grief in their eyes, they ask:
“Tatty, don’t you remember who you are?”
It is a known Jewish parable, told by Rav Yitzchok Silberstein and later re-told by Rabbi Yechiel Spero, meant to illustrate the tragedy of the Jewish people gone astray. For one Jerusalem family, however, it is not a parable, but a reality.
Pinchas Hominer was a ‘typical’ father of 13 children whose daily life consisted of supporting his family, and learning Torah. That came to a screeching halt a few years ago when a car crash caused him severe brain damage. Doctors had both good and bad news for his wife: He had survived, but now had the mental capacity of a child.
In the time that has passed, Henya has bravely risen to the occasion of raising her children, and her now child-like husband, alone. Her eldest children have done their best to contribute to their finances. More painful than their poverty, however, is their grief at having lost the father that they knew.
This tragic context has cast a dark veil over their latest simcha: The engagement of daughter Yocheved. All involved are aware of the fact that Henya is unable to pay for her daughter’s wedding, or to help her set up a home for marriage. Yocheved has started a hachnasas kallah fund with the hope of taking this burden off of her mother’s shoulders.
Pictures of her vort show one simple decoration: a line of post-it notes spelling out “eishes chayil.” Indeed this adornment is symbolic of Yocheved’s dreams: She does not long for luxury. Rather, she prays to cover the most simple expenses involved with accomplishing her goal of starting a home with dignity.
“I am asking you to please help me to get married without embarrassment,” the young woman says in somber video footage, “so that we can truly feel joy.”
Any and all contributions will bring a ray of hope into the heart of this special young woman. Donations are being accepted here.