Meeting Tante Ruchy

Meeting Tante Ruchy

About a month ago, I received my first Email from Tante Ruchy* (as in TANTERUCHY@gmail.com).

“Tante Ruchy” wrote that she’d been reading http://JewishMOM.com for over 6 years, and is coming to Eretz Yisroel, and would love to meet with me. Could I please get back to her with possible times?
But I didn’t get back to her.
I have a pretty good memory for names, and Tante Ruchy definitely did not ring a bell. If this Ruchy had ever left comments or liked posts on facebook or instagram or something like that, I figured I probably would have remembered.
Anyway, why would she refer to herself as Tante Ruchy? I imagined being stuck in a meandering tete a tete with a woman in her 90s who had lost her grip on reality to the extent that she was claiming fanship of a blog she’d possibly never even seen.
2 weeks later, another Email came. And I ignored that one too. Tante Ruchy’s great-great grandchildren would have to entertain her. I DO NOT have the time.
And then, last week, I received an Email I could no longer ignore. Tante Ruchy said she had already sent me 2 Emails and I had not responded. And it was very important to her to meet with me. Could I please finally respond?/!
I tried to write a response, to explain why I couldn’t meet with her. I played around with several unsatisfying variations of “my plate is full”?
So I called in my secret weapon. My husband is a genius at writing Emails that are firm yet so incredibly nice you don’t even notice. In fact, for years Josh has been writing my stickiest Emails for me!
So I asked Josh how to say “No,” but nicely. But he had a different perspective.
“What do you have to lose? Meet Tante Ruchy at a cafe. And if it’s really awful you can say something unexpected came up and leave.”
And that was how, last Thursday evening, I ended up having one of my most heartwarming encounters in recent memory.
Tante Ruchy, it turned out, is an extremely lovely 40-year-old Bobover mom of 6 kids from Boro Park. She doesn’t have internet access at home, or a smartphone. But at the office where she works, every morning for the last 6 years, she has been reading my posts. But as a general rule she never leaves comments on the internet.
She told me she often shares my posts. Her friends don’t have internet access either, so she prints up copies of my posts and hands them out, or she just tells over things I write. Like old times.
And why did this young mother refer to herself as Tante Ruchy? Because when she got her first Email address about a decade ago, she had just become an aunt for the first time, and she was so excited she chose “Tante Ruchy” as her Gmail username!
Tante Ruchy knew everything about me. About my kids. About the family I grew up in. She was so impressed by my mom a”H, and her strength. She said she loves my ayin tova, how I try to learn from every situation.
And, not surprisingly, I left our meeting feeling on a high, enlightened!
Tante Ruchy taught me that, even in this era of clicks and likes and google analytics, we have no idea how many people we are impacting, touching with our actions.
And I learned that Hashem sends so many incredible blessings my way, but it’s still up to me to pull myself out of my chair, take some steps, and open the door.
*

4 comments

  1. This was such a heartwarming post. Thank you so so much for sharing this. I’m so happy for both of you that you decided to meet her!

  2. What a sweet story

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