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Two weeks ago, half way up my mountain of Chol HaMoed laundry, our overworked washing machine, of blessed memory, spinned its last.

And that meant that for two weeks, until yesterday, my family of 10 did not have a washing machine. It was, as you can imagine, quite a pain.

But I want to tell you two sweet side effects of our washing machine’s untimely demise.

Firstly, after doing 8 loads of laundry yesterday (9 kilo a piece!) the fragrance of fresh laundry fills my entire home. I never knew Tide could smell so sweet!

Secondly, before last Shabbat, when I ran out of white shirts and Yaakov and Yoni ran out of shorts and I needed a Shabbat dress for Tsofia, I did something I absolutely detest doing, and which I tend to avoid at almost all costs.

I asked for a favor.

I announced on the neighborhood English list that I am washing-machine-less. And if any kind soul could do a load of laundry for me, it would be mightily appreciated by me, my husband, and our offspring.

Within minutes, 4 mothers offered to do laundry for me: two of whom I’d never even met.

Asking favors feels really yucky: uncomfortable, vulnerable.

But it was a fascinating experience. To be forced to ask for help, and to receive it.

I was touched, and floored … when one volunteer laundress called to ask if I wanted her to add fabric softener to my load. And when another mother (in her 9th month!) returned my laundry neatly folded (to which my 11-year-old son responded, in shock “What IS that!?”). And another mother (whom I’d never met) did my laundry, I found out, while preparing for her only son’s upsherin the following day.

My broken washing machine showed me just how sweet it is to receive.

And how nurtured and blessed I felt…

Which made me think how nurtured and blessed our children and husbands hopefully feel, when we give to them. Every day. Day in, day out.

A feeling almost as sweet, I imagine, as the fragrance of Tide filling my home after 2 weeks without.

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