Winter has arrived in Israel.  There was a cold day last week and it’s also the last week of January, so we call it winter.  With Beit Shemesh reaching 73 degrees this past Friday, it’s time to bundle up.  But seriously, in our town, it usually drops into the 50s or 40s in the evenings, and this winter season has brought with it a slew of viruses: Covid, flu, stomach, and whatever else.  I, myself, have been under the weather for a week already with a runny nose, aches, and barely a remnant of my voice. I’m so sorry to have to say this but those of you who were thinking about tracking down my phone number and calling me to tell me how much you enjoy my column will now have to wait. Talking, which is usually an enjoyable activity, is not fun at all right now.  It’s not even an activity.  And the fact that nobody can hear me causes frustration for all involved: me - the unable to talker - and everyone else - the unable to hearers. But what can I do?  When I get a nasty cold, it usually goes straight for the jugular. Literally.  And my voice goes into hiding.

Since we had arranged to meet good friends who were visiting from New York last week, I took one of those nifty new flu/covid tests, just to be on the safe side.  You can test for both viruses in one fell swirl.  How convenient is that?  There are those that say that combining tests for both viruses into one packet is the wrong approach. Instead of lowering the alarm level of Covid to something similar to the flu, it raises the alarm level of the flu to the more alarming level of Covid.  Hmm…That makes sense. But those were the tests being sold at the pharmacy, so that’s the test I took.  Baruch Hashem, I tested negative for both, and we had a lovely get-together with our old friends, although I definitely did do a lot more listening than talking.

I expected my cold to go away within a few days but I find myself getting worse.  My voice is on its way back but I developed a nasty cough that prevents me from sleeping at night and causes me to worry that I will infect those near and dear to me.  This prompted me to conduct an archeological dig in my home and unearth the remnants of our good ol’ Covid masks.  I now wear a mask much of the time at home in order to protect my family members from my virus.  I once thought there was a limit to the amount of eye-rolling that can be associated with a specific event or activity, but apparently, that is not the case.  But I’m sure that underneath all the snickering, there must be some level of appreciation for what I’m doing.  There is no limit to what a mother will do for her family.

Early in the week, I went to the doctor and could barely get my foot through the door of the waiting room.  No room to sit or stand.  But plenty of room to cough.   As someone there said, “Anyone who wasn’t sick before they came to the office will certainly be sick by the time they leave.”  So true.  It seems that in all likelihood, I have a virus with no particular name that is slow to go away.  Most people who have presented with this virus feel better after 10 days to two weeks.  Ouch! This should be my biggest problem but that’s not a short amount of time.  There are many things I plan to do over the next two weeks and I’d rather not infect anyone else in the process. 

Let’s start with today.  It’s Erev Rosh Chodesh, and my husband and I usually go to Kever Rachel on that day.  My husband said that I should stay home and rest.  He will go without me.  Without me! But my davening is so important for the well-being of my family! How will he remember all the things we need to daven for?  He will daven just fine, he says.  On Sunday afternoons I usually babysit for my grandson.  My husband said I should stay home and rest.  He will babysit without me.  Without me!  But how will he feed him, bathe him, and put him to sleep?  How? He will manage to do all those things, he says. 

My husband suggested that I take the opportunity to really rest.  Like I should take a nap and read a magazine.   That’s weird.  It’s not Shabbos. Why would I rest?  And read a magazine?  Really? There’s so much I need to get done.   And what about writing my article for the Queens Jewish Link?  That we both agreed is something that I must do.  No one will do it for me, although I’m certainly open to volunteers.  Anyone? Meanwhile, I find myself dozing off at the computer screen. I hope I make the deadline.  I’m really trying!

In case you were wondering, my husband davened well at Kever Rachel and he did great with our grandson.  I dare say, even possibly better than me.   I even have some video clips to prove it.  

I think women (at least yours truly) believe that we are indispensable.  Nobody can do our job nearly as well as we can.  Our ship will sink chas v’shalom if we are not at its helm.  But although we take our job very seriously, and we may even do it well, we should appreciate the fact that there are others in the world who also happen to have skills and talent. And, of course, nothing happens without the help of Hashem.  Maybe the silver lining of this virus is that it helps me gain a more balanced perspective as I see myself through a more realistic lens.  Stay healthy, everyone!

Suzie Steinberg, CSW, is a native of Kew Gardens Hills and resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh who publishes articles regularly in various newspapers and magazines about life in general, and about life in Israel in particular. Her recently published children’s book titled Hashem is Always With Me can be purchased in local Judaica stores as well as online. Suzie can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and would love to hear from you.