The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Sol and Esther came from a small village in Russia and were married by the Rabbi just before they left for America. It was 1905. They settled into their new country and their new home in New York. Sol was a tailor and got a job in a little tailor shop to support his wife and what would become their family of six. Throughout their marriage the two of them only had eyes for each other and their children.

Move forward to 1980. The two of them are anticipating a wonderful celebration for their 75th wedding anniversary. And then Esther became ill. Gravely ill. An ambulance rushed her to the hospital where she was admitted to the intensive care unit.

Dr. Spielberg consulted with Sol outside his wife’s room.

Sol, I wish I could give you a more optimistic assessment – but Esther is fading quickly. Her vital signs are extremely weak and I doubt she will make it through the night. Go in to her and say your goodbyes.”

With a heavy heart, Sol sat on his beloved’s bed and held her hand. Esther opened her eyes and said, “Oh, my beloved husband. We have been married for almost seventy-five years and what a wonderful life we have shared together.”

Do you remember how on our wedding night you made passionate love to me? Do you think that you could once more make love to me before I die?”

Sol had never refused a request that Esther made of him, so he put a chair up against the door, got in bed with his wife and to the best of his ability at his advanced age, made love to her.

Esther was exhausted from this and fell into a deep sleep. Sol got dressed and went into the waiting room, expecting to hear that his wonderful wife had died.

But after an hour, one of the floor nurses came up to him and said that Esther’s vital signs had stabilized. Her pulse and heart beat were normal. Perhaps there was some reason for hope.

It took a week but Esther left the hospital and seemed rejuvenated. Her health continued to improve and Sol and Esther celebrated their seventy-fifth anniversary.

And what a celebration it was. All of their relatives, their children and grand-children and two great-grandchildren were at the hall that their successful cousin Seymour from Detroit had rented for the event. (Seymour owned two car dealerships in that city).

There was an endless bounty of food on the table and a wonderful little band played music to which the guests danced in celebration. All were having a marvelous time – except for Sol who sat in a corner with his elbow on his knee, his head on his fist and a contemplative look on his face – looking more like Rodin’s “The Thinker” than the man celebrating this special event.

Finally cousin Seymour from Detroit came over to him and put his hand on Sol’s shoulder. Cousin Seymour said, “Sol. This is a wonderful celebration. Two months ago you didn’t think you would ever see this happy day. And here you are looking as though you had lost your best friend. So what’s the story?”

Sol responded, “Seymour – if I only knew. If I only knew.”

Seymour said, “So what is with this – if I only knew?”

Sol said, “Seymour – if I only knew – I could have saved Eleanor Roosevelt.”

Moral: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

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