Yoel’s Terrible Morning by Joshua Weisberg

Here’s a guest post by my husband, Joshua. This is my favorite kind of article, the kind that starts out with me laughing real hard and then ends with me reaching for the tissues….Enjoy!

This morning my 3-year-old son Yoel woke up at full volume. And early.

By 5:01 he was doing leaping somersaults over his sleeping mother and father, his soft bellied 10-month-old nursing sister providing a useful landing pad.
Yoel, cut it out.
Ok, Abba.
Don’t you have a toy to play with?
Yes Abba. I have the snake Saba gave me.

Five minutes later he was standing over his father, swinging his 4 foot plastic snake over his head in great arcs, howling and laughing like a maniac.
Yoel, enough!
OK, Abba.
Don’t you have some colouring you could do?
Yes Abba, I have the crayons savta gave me.

Five minutes later he was driving his green crayon with passionate force into the wall over my head.
Yoel, do you want me to tell ganenet Mindy?
No, Abba.
So give me those crayons NOW.
Ganenet Mindy is Yoel’s 20-year-old Yiddish-speaking kindergarten teacher (just back from maternity leave) who commands the awe and love of her class (especially Yoel) like no human being I have ever very seen.

By 7:30 Yoel’s day was beyond repair.

Upstairs, in the study, I could hear every Weisberg female voice downstairs in the kitchen, one after the other, shouting in similar tones, “Yoel!, stop that! Yoel, don’t pour that on her. Yoel, don’t take take my cereal! Yoel, what did you do to my lunch? Yoel!”

A minute later Yoel stomped up the stairs grumbling to himself. He was wearing a white shirt all buttoned wrong, and orange underwear. His kippa must have fallen off during his altercation with Moriah over breakfast.

He stormed into the study, his glaring eyes daring me to challenge him, marched over to the clean laundry pile, and began tossing clothes over his shoulder, still mumbling.
“Yoel, are you looking for something?” I asked.
He answered.
“I can’t find my stupid pants.”
“Can you help me find them, Abba?”
“You mean these stupid pants?”
“Yes, Abba.”

“Yoel, you need a hug?”

And then he looked at me a second time, and lifted up his arms for me to pick him up.

Rebbe Nachman teaches that sometimes you look around and your life is in such a mess that you wouldn’t be able to put it together even if you could figure out where to start. And all you can do is say, to hell with my pride. I need that hug.

And that, he says, is the essence of prayer.


  1. Sounds very familiar in a house where our 4 girls are complemented by 3 boys! Made me laugh and cry too!

  2. Your husband is such a great writer!

  3. I would read jewishdad.com.

  4. Very powerful message. Thank you – looking forward to more guest posts!

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