Bashert (beh shayrt’) – a Yiddish word that means “it was meant to be”

16 Aug

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a crappy day at work. So, at 3:30 in the afternoon, I decided that I “needed” a bag of M&Ms from the vending machine.  I went through all the rationalizations – I deserved a treat, I had extra points to spend, I would be so satisfied after I ate them I would forget about dinner, I would eat them one at a time, daintily biting the outer shell off, then slowly sucking on the inner chocolate to make each one last.

The week before I had gotten a bag, spread all the M&Ms on my work desk, counted them and separated them into two piles. Then I put one pile back into the bag, twisted the bag shut and hid it in the back of my bookcase.   I ate the loose M&Ms.  Ten minutes later, I fished the other half from the back of my bookcase and finished those.  To my chocolate-hazed delight, I discovered that the entire bag is only 6 points.

So it was that this day, I wasn’t even going to pretend that I was going to eat half a bag.  I needed all of those little buggers, and I might even chew on the empty bag when I was through. That was the sort of day I was having. I had the six points to spend. I would have celery soup for dinner.  I grabbed 4 quarters and took the long walk of shame down the hall, then down the stairs to the vending area. I could sense the vending machine snicker as I walked toward it. “Aha!” it seemed to say. “Look who’s waddled over for a visit. I knew you’d come back. You’re late today. It’s already 3:30.”

As if by rote, I scanned the entire array, visualizing the nutritional information that was, of course, hidden in the back of each package.  How many times have I stared at
these selections, wondering whether there was a virtuous choice to be made?  If I was playing the low-carb card, I’d get nuts.  On acid-reflux days, I’d get licorice.  Low-fat days, animal crackers.  But today, those little M&M men were smiling at me with devilish delight. They knew what I wanted.

There were three rows of M&Ms. I scrutinized the coils of each row to make sure that, whichever row I selected, the bag would not get stuck.  E5 looked like the safest
bet.   I placed the coins in, pushed E5, watched the coil turn, and….wouldn’t you know the bag of M&Ms got stuck. Grrrrrrr.  I pushed the machine gently. I pushed a little less gently.  I looked down at the flap, wondering whether my arm could fit safely under it and reach way up to the package of M&Ms.  Insane though I was, I was not up for the mortification of having my arm stuck in the machine. I bodyslammed the machine one last time.  Nothing. I had half-expected that an alarm would go off, like the “tilt” alarm on a pinball machine. Thank goodness it wasn’t a pinball machine. (Snack roulette, yes. Pinball, no.)  What to do….What to do….I had debated going all the way back to my desk to get a second set of change, then coming back to retrieve my “just desserts.” I’d done that many times before.

Then I realized that it was “bashert.” I wasn’t meant to eat those M&Ms. Back at my desk, I discovered that I had brought carrots, celery, and apple to the office to snack on. They were no M&Ms, I can tell you that. But they did get me through the day.

5 Responses to “Bashert (beh shayrt’) – a Yiddish word that means “it was meant to be””

  1. Gabi Coatsworth August 16, 2011 at 4:41 am #

    I hope at least you got the money back. That machine owes you. I’ll bet you felt virtuous later. And I love the new word for my vocabulary. Fortune cookies or no, I will learn Yiddish…

  2. janice August 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    My gym has a vending machine, and when I’ve come from work, then worked out, I’ve been desperate for *something* to get me through cooking supper. But no! All of it is high-cal, high-fat! So even when trying to be virtuous, those vending machines are out to get us!

  3. Jane Sherman August 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    I love your personification of the candy machine with, “Look who’s waddled over for a visit. I knew you’d come back. You’re late today. It’s already 3:30.” Temptations of all sorts gain power.

    • Vincent August 19, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

      The ride that we take to better eating and healthy lives is an uphill battle. All our lives we are trained to shop and rush and always do something else besides eat slowly, savor our delights and delight in the taste of fresh foods. Nay, chemicals are our first step cause they are quick nd easy…. they call us like a Siren Song, like a Candy Machine… I would write more but I have to run now- Dunkin Donuts has a two-for-one sale that ends shortly.

  4. Mary Ellen Elder July 26, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    You know for years I was on Weight Watchers and continued to get fat. It was only then that I realized the candies I had mistaken for Weight Watchers candies were actually M&M’s when turned upside down. I was so disappointed.

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