My Bubie believes that all people have many things in common with one another, especially women. She likes to tell us stories about characters, who travel to many places to learn new things, meet new people and have adventures. However, wherever the people in our Bubie’s stories go, they find out more things that they share with others than the things that are different. The next story is about Rivki, who travels before she is ready to get married. She is curious about every place and every person. Someday maybe I too will travel places, perhaps even with my Bubie!
There was once a young woman named Rivki who wanted to see the world before she got married. She told her parents that she would work hard to save her money to travel before she found a Chatan (groom) to marry. Rivki was very curious about how other people lived and she had read many stories about people around the world, but it was not enough to quench her curiosity. She wanted to travel to those places to meet the people and see how they lived. Rivki loved to learn, she loved to hear stories, she loved to understand what people shared in common and what was different about them. For this, she had to go to see for herself.
Rivki learned how to sew when she was young and when she graduated from Seminary her family bought her a sewing machine. She was very good at fixing and altering clothes for people but then she decided to start making her own clothes. She made the most beautiful dresses for the women and handsome jackets and pants for the men. Whenever someone had a special Simcha (event) they would come to Rivki to make them their clothes and everyone was always happy with the outfits which she made for them. She had a real talent for sewing clothes and designing outfits for women, men and children. With this talent, Rivki was able to save enough money to buy tickets to travel.
Rivki decided that she wanted to visit at least one place on every Continent and spend some time to get to know the people there. She also wanted to go to the places where she had family so that she could spend time with her family and get to know them better. Rivki promised her parents that she would go to cities and towns where she could find a Chabad house where she could stay and she could also get kosher food to eat. Rivki promised her parents that she would be careful, and B’ezrat Hashem (God willing), when she returned she would begin to look for a chatan.
It took Rivki many weeks to plan her trip and to pack. She decided not to pack too many clothes because she thought that she could wash what she brought every night after wearing the outfit and she also thought that she would buy some local clothes from the places she visited. Rivki also brought with her many spools of different colored threads and needles thinking that she might meet some other women who would want to learn some of the sewing techniques which she had learned or invented.
Finally the day arrived when Rivki was going to leave for her adventure! She kissed her parents and siblings goodbye and promised to be careful and to bring home lots of presents for her brothers and sisters. They waved goodbye to her as she went down the corridor to her airplane. Her first stop would be South America, the Country of Peru, where her Mommy was born. There she would meet some of her relatives who still lived there and visit Lima and Cusco where she could stay in Chabad houses after her days of travel.
It took 16 1/2 hours to fly to Peru from Israel. Rivki landed at the Jorge Chavez International Airport at 10:00 Sunday night and took a cab to the Chabad house in Lima, where the Rabbi and his wife were expecting her. She was very tired and decided to go to sleep and wake up in the morning refreshed to start exploring Lima.
The next morning, after Rivki had eaten davened (prayed) and dressed, she went out to explore the city of Lima. There was so much to see that she needed to decide what to do first. She began at the President’s Palace or Palacio de Gobierno which was on Lima’s central square, Plaza Mayor. She learned that Francisco Pizarro founded Lima in 1535 and planned the city with Plaza Mayor at its center. He also built a large mansion for himself there and it became the Spanish Viceroy’s Palace.
Since Peru’s independence (1821) the palace has become the home of the president of Peru and it is also where the government meets. It is a beautiful palace with lots of rooms with stained glass windows and skylights, hand-made tiles and huge chandeliers. The Golden Hall has high vaulted ceilings with walls which are covered with mirrors. Rivki had never seen such a beautiful building in all of her life. Now she knew what a real palace looked like, and although it seemed magical, she decided that it wasn’t a place that she would want to live. Why do you think? You can see pictures of this palace if you click on this site.
The next place she went to visit was a neighborhood called Miraflores. The neighborhood is near the Pacific Ocean and has many shops and markets to visit. Also they have workshops to teach you how to make your own chocolate from chocolate beans. Rivki thought that would be fun to do since she had seen her Tate (father) make chocolate from beans and she thought she could get some new ideas on how to make the chocolate taste good.
The Mercado Indio, or Indian Market, was one place in Miraflores that Rivki was not going to miss. It is a craft market that stretches over four blocks and you can find almost anything for sale there. Rivki found handmade cotton clothing, leather purses, wallets, shoes, alpaca wool clothes and coats, wood carvings and embroidered clothing and bags. She found beautiful yarns and even met a woman who was teaching some of the girls how to knit shawls and sweaters with the yarns. Rivki sat with the women and even though she only knew a few Spanish words, she loved to learn how to knit and found the women warm and friendly. They offered her drinks and food (which she didn’t eat) and laughed when she made a mistake in her knitting but they helped her to learn. She too laughed with the women and felt that there was something which they shared in common, the love of creating beautiful clothing for people to wear. To see pictures of the Miraflores market click this link-
When it started to get late Rivki got up to go back to the Chabad house. She opened her bag and gave each one of the four women who had taught her to knit a spool of colored thread as a gift. The greatest gift, Rivki thought, is to teach someone to create something and these women had taught her this today. When she would return to Eretz Yisrael she would join a knitting circle to learn more. For today she wanted to thank these women for sharing their skills with her and to give them something to remember her by. They were all very grateful. They all hugged and kissed her and gave her many blessings. She didn’t understand everything they said to her but she knew that they were wishing her a long life of health and happiness, a good husband and many children.
“Oh”, Rivki thought, “it is the same for women all over the world. Our blessings include health, happiness, and family”. This is what Rivki would learn in all of her travels, although we come from many different places with many different languages and cultures, we have so many things in common with one another. Those things we have in common come out in our blessings to one another.