Israel Stories

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Holy Underwear

Tsfat, city of mysticism, home to some of the most famous minds in Jewish history. A city surrounded by the graves of the greatest halachic authorities from the time of the mishna to the present. And of course, the city with the most alternative English spellings in all the land of Israel.

Our hotel, just outside Sfat (yes I know I spelled it differently) which shall remain nameless is one of the areas better hotels. It is known for its almost utopian atmosphere; no kids, good food and a spa.

So with great excitement we started unpacking. I pulled open a drawer ready to pile in my clothes and jumped back, for there staring at me was a large pair of red knickers. The sort of knickers that make men lie when their wives ask ‘does my bum look big in these’ only to be answered by ‘no dear’ while thinking ‘even a hippo would lose herself in those, or ‘maybe we could rent a marquee for our upcoming simcha’ or ‘stand at the end of the garden so I can see all of you’. I could go on all night and alienate myself from all female-kind, but whoever owned those knickers was married to a good liar.

A call was made to housekeeping. “We have a large pair of red knickers in our room”.

“That’s very nice sir, how can we help?”

“They don’t belong to us can you get someone to remove them.”

“Just leave them outside the door and the maid will take them”.

“No, you send the maid to get them; there is no way I am leaving these outside our room!”

“Someone will be along soon.”

Thought – wasn’t there a book called the Red Tent?

Ten minutes went passed and nothing. I decided to march to reception.

“Excuse me; there is a large pair of red knickers living in one of our drawers”.

“That’s very nice sir, how can we help?”

“Can someone come now and remove them.”

Muffled voices came from behind the desk, then arguments.

“Look I very rarely get to stay in Safed (yeh, yeh) and I would like this dealt with before the end of the Shabbat.”

Suddenly, and as if from nowhere a maid appeared.

“You know, Zfat is very holy place”, said the maid as we walked back to my room, “red wards off evil eye”.

Well what can you say to that?

The following week I was at the Kotel, where I was approached by a bearded man offering red strings in return for charity.

“Wear this and it will bring you luck and ward off the evil eye”.

My wife looked at me with that ‘don’t say anything’ look in her eye.

But who could resist?

“Sorry”, I said “I prefer boxers.”

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