Tuesday, September 1, 2015

In Israel, Getting a Refrigerator Delivered is a Religious Experience (from Shalom Shachne)

Last week, we had our refrigerator delivered.

Unless you have been shlepping huge piles of luggage in the blazing Israeli sun, and then racing around an unfamiliar hot apartment struggling to make everything work, and are constantly thirsty, it's hard to appreciate how hard it is to live without a refrigerator even for a day.  (And of course, you can't store any food, so you have to keep running out to buy things to eat.  And of course, the kids are constantly hungry and thirsty.)

So anyway, the day after we arrived to our apartment, late in the afternoon, our refrigerator arrived. Out of the delivery truck popped two swarthy, secular-looking Israelis, who called me downstairs to to explain the situation.  They were shaking their heads ominously, saying that the refrigerator wasn't going to fit through the apartment door. They asked me for a measuring tape to check.  We took various measurements with my US tape measure and then a centimeter tape that a neighbor loaned us.  The situation looked dire.

When I pointed out that once they took the refrigerator out of the box, and took off the refrigerator doors, that it should probably fit, they still insisted that it was too wide:  there was a pipe in the back of the fridge, the doorway narrowed in a certain section, etc.  However, the lead mover (one was very large and strong, and the other was very thin and wiry) then said, ״הקדוש ברוך הוא יעזור״.  This roughly translates to "G-d will help".

I went in to tell Ellen the bad news, and told her to start saying Tehillim (Psalms), because we really felt like we needed that refrigerator.  (Again, you have to understand the level of exhaustion, and psychological hardships of living with no furniture for so many weeks, and no kitchen, to understand why this was so important to us.)   They removed the refrigerator from the box which improved the situation quite a bit.  Then, while the thin wiry mover whipped out an electric screw-driver to start removing the doors, the husky mover strapped our gas stove to his back (which was being delivered at the same time), and struggled up the stairs.  (I had to give a little assistance to prevent him from pitching forward down the stairs when he turned around to set the stove down at the entrance to the apartment.)

Once the fridge doors were off, I raced back down the stairs to take the measurements again.  Truthfully, it actually wasn't even close to being a tight fit through entrance once the doors were off.  But it still wasn't an easy task getting the large fridge up the narrow staircase.

At last the refrigerator was in place, with the doors back on, with its compressor humming away happily (for us).  As the movers turned to leave, the large one came up to me, to tell me how he really he was shomrei Shabbos, and putting on Tefillin every day, and sending his children to a Bet Sefer (school) to learn Torah.  It is typical here, where the cab drivers routinely bless G-d when you get in the car, that you can't see how religious people are in their hearts.

And even though we didn't really need a miracle to get the refrigerator into the apartment, G-d was still obviously involved from beginning to end.


  1. Awmein! I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading your posts. It beats the best of the Steinfeld episodes by far. When you live in the land of miracles, you can expect a few to come your way. I'm glad the fridge fit through the door, despite the initial negative assessments... Onward to the next religious experience - when are the oversized book shelves arriving?

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  3. My husband's Rabbi chavrusa told him when we were there that the fact that anything works at all in Israel is an open miracle.