Showing posts from 2009

Anticipating 2010

Before the school year begins, my girls' school requires a head check -- I don't mean the paper that represents money but actual heads of hair . So I dutifully packed up my girls into the mini an on September 6th and drove them over to the school during checking hours listed for that Sunday morning. I took my usual route and turned left from Empire onto Reads Lane. Just after I made the turn, a police car came after me. I pulled over and asked what the problem was. The policeman claimed I didn’t stop at the stop sign on Empire. I know I did stop.What I really think is that he came after me hoping I hadn’t signaled or to find some other infraction like no seat belt.

After taking a very long time in his car going through the paper work and ascertaining that record was completely clean, he handed me a ticket. He told me I could try to dispute it in court, but he would still maintain that I had not stopped. The day after I got the ticket I return to the scene of the dispu…

How to not lose your cool over color coordination

I wonder how this will jive with the shiur mentioned above

A Blob of Something Different: Top Ten Reasons To Say No To A Second Date
If anyone goes can they ask the rabbi (see what his view is of telling the shadchan (who may be any person that sets the singles up and does not have to be card-carrying guild member) why one does not wish to pursue the relationship further. Many offer the "just not for me" line. This was endorsed by one of the commentators on as a virtuous response, for it avoids lashon hara by refusing to report anything negative about the date. But I would fear it can backfire. After hearing this a couple of times, I would guess the shadchan would simply label the boy or girl who says it as "too picky" or not clear on what s/he wants. It also indicates a type of defensive attitude. The single may be thinking, "If I don't cite a specific reason, the shadchan can…

On shidduchim

Those who are not cooking or cleaning this Friday morning and are in the vicinity of the 5 Towns can attend this on January 1ST at 9:45 Shaaray Tefila

Rabbi Dovid Weinberger, shlita

Do you know what you are doing?
„« When and under what circumstances may one break an engagement?
„« May a Shadchan lie about the age of the young man or woman?
„« The obligation to pay the Shadchan ¡V who is considered a Shadchan?
„« Getting married to a prospective spouse against the parents¡¦ wishes.
„« Advice from Gedolei Yisroel regarding the attributes to look for in a prospective spouse.
„« Disclosing medical and psychological issues ¡V how and when?
„« Proper hishtadlus in seeking a Shidduch.
„« Halachos of one who is asked about a Shidduch.
„« Marrying a baal/baalas teshuva, non-frum or intermarried spouses in the family, etc.
„« Understanding the bas kol which dictates who is to marry whom 40 days prior to birth.
„« Other contemporary issues

Losing your cool over color coordination

False assumptions

A few weeks ago, I scheduled a physical with a local doctor. I had made appointments in the past with him but only for sick visits. His secretary first offered me a 5 o'clock time slot, which I had to decline because it would mean my youngest would be home without anyone else there until at least 5:15. So one week later, she had a 2:45 available. I took it. Today the office called to confirm the appointment. The woman on the phone casually said, "blood will be drawn, so you have to have fasted for at least 6 hours."
Say WHAT? No one had told me that when they scheduled the appointment. When an appointment that require fasting is scheduled, in my experience, the person is reminded of that fact and usually offered a morning appointment. In fact, whenever my children had needed the full blood test, the doctors have either offered to schedule the full appointment for the morning or to allow the child to come in just for the blood work in the morning.

The office p…

Staying the course on the way to the wedding

Solid advice for an engaged couple at any time of year. The first 2 of 10 resolutions offered by Elizabeth Oakes are:
1. We will carefully examine what we want and need from our wedding day, and stick to our vision despite outside influences, either personal or commercial. If we have two entirely different ideas of our wedding we will find a compromise that fulfills both our needs, even if that means having two or more ceremonies (his tropical beach with just us, her princess dance in front of hundreds of friends.)2. We will create a budget and stick to it, and we will not go into debt and mortgage our future for a single day's events. Our ability to be financially responsible and save for the home/car/insurance/education/children/retirement and all else we want and need in our lives will not be corrupted by childish whims. conspicuous consumption, or any indulgence beyond our current monetary means.See the other 8 at…

Tallying the numbers in the parsha

there is a famous dispute in accounting for a discrepancy in the numbers given for Yaakov's family when they come to Egypt. The total number is 70. That is broken up according to the children for each of Yaakov's 4 wives. The first total given is 33 for Leah. However, only 32 children and grandchildren are named. That is where Rashi cites the Midrash that Yocheved (Levi's daughter and the future mother of Moshe) was born between the walls of Egypt. Thus she is among the total but not named as those who left Eretz Yisrael. Ibn Ezra does not care for that opinion. One of his objections is that it would make her 130 at the time she gave birth to Moshe. He suggests that is Yaakov himself who makes up the 33rd here. But I have another suggestion. After I posted this, my husband found the same approach offered by R' Zalman Sorotzken in Oznayim Latorah in and Rav Shteinman's Ayelet Hashacar, Hakthav veHakavala is quoted as saying that Asnas completes the coutn…

Jokes and fairy tales

Follow up thought to previous post.

I never actually took a course on the study of fairy tales. But from what I understand, there are many psychological reflections built into them. Among them is the wicked step mother. I recall seeing that all the negatives one would associate with a parental figure are projected on the step-mother because it is too much for one to admit it in a biological parent. Hansel and Gretel would seem to be an exception, unless the mother there was supposed to be a stepmother, as well.

In modern pop culture, fairytales are often supplanted by stereotypical jokes. And there are a slew of MIL ones. But I think that the projection dynamics at work are actually the other way. Just as the "bad parent" has to be made into a stepmother, the "bad child" has to be made into a daughter-in-law. That way, one's biological child can still be idealized as perfect, brought down only by an influence that is alien to the biological family.

Why the animosity between MILs and DILs?

My theory: Some mothers are very emotionally vested in their sons.
Somehow this is not as much an issue for fathers and sons-in-law. I think that is because fathers, typically, do not invest as much emotional identification into their daughters as mothers do into their sons. I posted the rest (with both Biblical and literary quotes) at

Frum N' Flipping: The Irony of Religious Women

When less is more on the measure of a woman's religious observance. Note the suggested segula or skipping the Sukkah!
Frum N' Flipping: The Irony of Religious Women

Do you really think B & H love the holidays?

So they say in their commercials with actors supplying the voices of Mr. B and Mr. H. (I was once told that they are, in fact, a husband and wife, though. .I know, they love the spike in sales that comes from the holiday shopping season. But there is some irony in claiming to love "the holidays" that everyone knows is not really about Chanukah but to another that, historically, was a very bad day for the Jews. Some Chasidim still have particular practices for 'nittel nacht,' when their mikvahs are closed. That forms an ironic juxtaposition, of course, to the Chassidim whose businesses rely on holiday sales, including baked goods and electronics. Any way, why are so many Jews here preoccupied with Dec. 25th? My observation that they are is based on the significant number of Facebook posts I've seen from Jews referring in some way to the upcoming holiday and its associations. We have plenty of our own holidays and don't need to "borrow" any.

Snow in the forceast? Get your sheitel in advance

Why you should not leave picking up your sheitel to the day of the wedding
Someone posted on the neighborhood email list today: <>Does ANYONE know how to get in touch with ------? My dear friend is getting MARRIED TODAY @ 4:00 & her sheitel-FOR THE CHASUNAH is IN THE[RE} !. . . NO ONE is answering the phone & the store is LOCKED!!
PLEASE help!!If you KNOW HOW to get in touch with them PLEASE have them . . . OPEN UP THE STORE & give the kallah her sheitel. THANK YOU.

Zos Chanukah

8 Chanukah lessons -- both serious and frivolous

Do the right thing -- even if it seems hopeless.
A femme fatale is an army's best asset
Flatter a man's vanity, and he's bound to lose his head.
You snooze, you lose.
Bemakom she'eyn anashim, hishtadel lihiyos ish [in a place where there are no men, try to be a man (Avos 2:6).] applies to women, as well.
You win some, you lose some, but you still have to play -- dreidel.
You don't have to be Jewish to love latkes.
Carpe Diem -- doughnuts taste best fresh.

No euphemism here

I passed by a store that had a sign in the window stating, "Cheap Chanukah gifts," not the usual euphemism, "for every budget," or even the softer "affordable" or "reasonable." That's telling it like it is! Of course, some of us may differ on whether the cheap here would more correctly fit the prices or the quality of the merchandise.

If you're familiar with the Midrash on Yosef and Eshet Potifar

you may appreciate this post: But it assumes a certain level of knowledge and understanding. Those who are not familiar will not get the point.

Putting the shoe on the other foot

This is not a new article, but I just came across it now. It's Chanany Weisman's proposal for a "shadchan resume." He proposes:
"Shadchanim and singles would exchange résumés at the first meeting to help them decide if they are right for one another. This will also streamline the many glatt kosher-super mehadrin-gadol endorsed events where single men and women can go to separate rooms to meet shadchanim. "

Facebook and teens

I just posted this, ironically enough, on my personal Facebook page: Do/would you let your teen have a Facebook account? Would you monitor it? Here I will expand a bit. What teens sometimes choose to post on their Facebook pages tells quite a lot about them, and it might be more than you want. I can imagine that those who wish to keep up a RW image would find much of what their teens go for in public rather embarrassing and possibly detrimental. I do know of parents who do allow their teens internet access, accounts, etc. but then follow their trail through various accessories that would serve as virtual nanny cams on their kids. Experiences and views on this, anyone?

What I heard

My daughter said someone in her cousin's class was planning to have a bas mitzvah party at a place that sounded to me like "JAP Castle." No, that's not really what it's called, but perhaps it should

Latke ditties

I remember 2 latkes songs.
Who can deny the king of the fry?
The latke precious
Who can withhold all glory and gold from such as he?

[The rest is not clear in my mind, though it goes on with a "Hear. . ]

The lyrics of the second:

Each Chanukah we celebrate great Judah Macabeus
Who had the courage to defy Antiochus and free us
Yet it is not fair that we should forget
Mrs. Macabeus, whom we owe a debt

She mixed it
She fixed it
She poured it into a bowl
You may not guess
But it was the latkes
That gave brave Judah a soul

[The last 2 lines are repeated. "She mixed it. . ." serves as the chorus. Another part of that song I remember is]

One latkes, two lates
and so on into the night

Anyone have the complete text?

Getting set to make latkes

The picture on the left was supposed to appear in the Examiner article. But the photo server there is not working. I tried three times. So I will include it here. You will also find it on the Homefront page of
For those of you intent on making latkes in honor of Chanukah, I posted expert tips for successful frying on These tips, as well as the recipe for classic potato latkes and their variations were written by Levana Kirschenbaum. She put them together in the article, POTATO LATKES: CONQUERING THE FEAR OF FRYING, which she wrote for Kallah Magazine a few years ago. You can find the full article, recipes, and also ideas for dairy dishes on the Homefront page of

Not the usual spin on Yehudah and Tamar

The parsha Vayeshev, includes a number of developments for the shvatim. Among them is the story of the death of Yehudah's first two sons, subsequent to their marriages to Tamar, and her disguise to trick her own father-in-law into having children with her. Tamar is completely exonerated in the end for her stratagem. She wanted to ensure she would have children from Yehudah's line. When she saw that her father-in-law was merely putting her off, for Shela had reached the same age, apparently, as his brothers and was not given to her as a husband, she took matters into her own hands. She travelled to where Yehudah was, disguised herself as a prostitute, and got his pledge in return for services. Hakthav vehakabala finds it fitting that Yehudah was "taken in" by Tamar; it is a form of poetic justice for his attempt to take her in by evading her through delay and excuses. He was not completely honest with his daughter-in-law, for he had, in fact, decided to withho…

A practical approach to wedding gifts

I was reminded of an article I once did on gifts in general by J Money's guest post at

The article I wrote is archived on Here's an extract
do think about what they are likely to want or need. So don’t give people wine decanters because A) most people don’t use them and B) they probably have already been the less than enthusiastic recipients of two or more. One sometimes overdone gift is a mayim achronim set. My husband and I got four – two of them silver, one ceramic, and one brass. We also received numerous silver mezuzos. That is an OK choice, because it has potential functionality. However, we only got around to unearthing from their boxes close to a decade after we were married.

Another overdone gift is the glass serving platters. You know the ones I mean. They are sold in a…

Hilchos Chanukah and Shalom Bayis

This year, Chanukah begins on a Shabbos night. Should someone not have enough money to purchase candles for both the menorah and the Shabbos lights, what should s/he do? Get a friend to post a request for donations on the the neighborhood shuls list for the $25 EZ lights set plus the special Shabbos glove lights plus a matching setf silver candlesticks and menorah. I'm KIDDING. No, that is NOT the halacha. One does not collect money. If one has only enough for one set of lights, one must opt for the Shabbos lights rather than the Chanukah ones. While one may ascribe this to the principle of tadir ve'eyno tadir, tadir kodem, that rule, I believe, is only applicable for order in time. Thus we make havdala before lighting the Chanukah lights motzei Shabbos. The reason for privlieging the Shabbos lights over the Chanukah ones is that they are associated with shalom bayis, and shalom bayis trumps pirsumei nisa.

As for the other aspect of shalom bayis to be learned from hilcho…

Holiday confusion

We're on the White Post Farms email list. Not wanting their Jewish customers to feel left out of the holiday festivities, they've invented a substitute Santa Claus figure. The one who plays him dresses up as what appears to be a white bear with a blue scarf and a blue version of the Santa hat. (It always strikes me how blue -- sometimes set off with silver --becomes the Chanukah color to contrast with the red and green -- set off with gold -- of the more dominant holiday.)
Clearly they are quite oblivious to the fact that Chanukah will long be over by the week that other holiday when they proudly announce: "Santa Claus and our very own Hanukkah Herbie are in town and your kids can meet them every Friday to Sunday through December 24, 2009"

Revising shidduch requriements

This just came in on the community email list: " Shadchan looking for young men ages 22-26 who are Yirei Shamayim, are ambitious, and who will B'H be able to support their future families B'H"
This appears to be a revision of the post I quoted in "
"Shadchan seeking boys between the ages of 22-26 who are Yirei Shamayim, in their thoughts and in their deeds, who are ambitious, and who have a job or are taking the necessary steps to earn a decent parnossah , that will be adequate to support a family B'Ezras Hashem"
pared down and an additional B'H inserted.

Those of us more comfortable in Target than Versace can relate

I don't even like to step into stores where a single outfit costs more than my entire wardrobe. Read the top ten signs a store is out of you price range at

Freudian Slip? Note the title typo

ShIDDUCH COACHES is hosting a Free Teleconference for all Jewish Sin
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FREE Teleconference Call! Over the phone from the convenience of your home or office!

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Introduction to Relationship Coaching and how we can help you to find your bashert!

-Introduction to Shidduch Coaches
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Sign up with us today by Email

The gatekeepers of shidduchim

Who or what acts as ultimate gatekeeper for a shidduch? The shadchanim who will only broker a deal they feel is right or profitable? The bochurim who believe that only a certain type will do for them? Or the mothers who try to weed out girls they believe do not carry enough status for their son? Or can it be the shidduch system itself with its complicated rules, background checks, and references that allow for character assassination to take place in the name of a good cause?

So what do you think? I know that some people will say that this is the system, and we have to stick with it, despite its flaws. But there is something to be said for less mediation (which is not synonymous with pritzus). If the young people are mature enough to marry, they should be mature enough to make the decision of whom to marry with an understanding of the reasons behind their choice.
There are a number of accounts of the shidduchim made on Tu B'Av and Yom Kippur in the vineyard. (See the links in h…

Austen style etiquette in shidduch dating

" Now, it is generally considered a faux pas to use your date’s name on a date. This is because, I guess, you’re not supposed to be on first name basis yet."I love it! It’s so very Jane Austen! But I just can’t picture a modern day young woman turning an icy stare on the man who dared call her Chanie, while telling him, “I have not given you leave to call me by my first name.” (Chanie cannot very well call it a Christian name, can she?) Of course the Bennett parents referred to each other formally as Mr. and Mrs. Bennett even after over 23 years of marriage. See

The downside of popularity

I just received an email requested that one of the gmachs listed be removed because the woman whose phone number is associated with it is moving to Israel. The email, which was not sent by the woman herself, said that she wants it off "since shew [sic] will have the same # in israel and she is getting so many calls and cant even pack." Interesting, that the large number of calls is blamed on (it might be nicer to say attributed to) the listing on

Is this the Twitter generation?

I am on Twitter now, as you can clearly from the side bar. I felt obliged to join in where many bloggers have already gone before and as a means to promote posts on I joined Facebook for the same reason and to add on another marketing tool for Earlier than that I joined LinkedIn, which recently linked up with Twitter just as Facebook did. That brigns me back to the title of the post: Twitter appears to dominate. While there are advantages to quick exchanges, they all add up to quite a bit of time for those who twitter and check their twitter messages constantly. One thing I am not is a texting person who is always looking on a cell phone or some other device to exchange quick messages in the modern code of communication. I really do prefer real English presented in a complete thought with enough detail to flesh it out -- not wordy but developed. As quick one-liners become the norm of communicatio…

High tech dating: net benefit?

Wolfish Musings: ShidduchVision... What's Right and What's Wrong
What is the real gain of this? I think it is to spare the boy a trip and the expense of taking out a girl he finds unattractive. As boys are expected to pick up their dates and pay for the entertainment of the day or evening, some are reluctant to undertake a date they would consider both a waste of time and money.
This further convinces me that supposed improvements based on modern technology, including the shidduch resume that can be emailed to anyone anywhere in the blink of an eye, actually interfere with young people seeing each other as people.

Free is free, and that's it.

Some of the newer free Jewish magazines print prices on the cover. These magazine are never sold, but they want to convince people that they are getting a publication worth $9.99 or whatever price they pick out of a hatr free -- what a bargain! One of the area's monthlies just started to do it with its fourth issue. It prints $1.75 on the bottom right corner with a slash through. Underneath that it says in very tiny letters (I would say 4 or 6 point type) "Free Promotional Issue" as if there are other issues out there that actually sell. I don't play those games. Every issue of Kallah Magazine has said "complimentary copy" without any claims of prices to attempt to increase the worth of the magazine in the eyes of other people. People should pick it up because they are interested in what it offers not because they are mislead into believing they are getting it at a special "markdown."
I remember there was an issue with department stores that…

Are you a Chanukah or Purim heroine type?

Chanukah is nigh. Though there is no text for it within TaNaCh, there are stories that include the heroism of Yehudith. She is the very strong and straight-forward type of heroine. She spoke up against the outrages committed against Jewish women. And she did not take a passive stance with respect to the general either. She only had to maintain a pretense with him for long enough to get him guard. Then she promptly chopped off his head with a sword. Very direct and to the point.
Esther, on the other hand, had to act subtly. She had to conceal her identity and her distaste for the role of queen to a king who hated the Jews as much as Haman did. She had to endure living with him for years beyond her coup of saving her people and establishing a holiday with a Megillah named in her honor that is read every year.

Another difference between the two is that of choice. Yehudith chose to act on her own volition. In contrast, Esther was taken as queen and directed by Mordechai when to …

Should I mention Tiger Woods or

anything that I think will draw people's attention. Some people do such just to garner attention. And it does work. Put about a title suggesting salacious details, and your hits will go up exponentially. I know that. But I just can't bring myself to stoop to that level. Now if I were paid for it . . . no, I still wouldn't do it. Ah, well, it's all quite hopeless.

Getting married -- now or never?

on the questionable statistics that fan the flames of hysteria. The conventional wisdom would have the girls married off "young and dumb," as one cynical father put it, or "young and still on a spiritual high," as some may prefer to view it.

To see what he could see

The Divrei Chaim's post on "eyney haeda" brings up the notion of learning to see. That reminded me of a reading I used to incorporate in the the college English classes I taught. The narrator recounts how he learned to observe in a scientific manner. You can read it online at
The key quote is misrepresented by the box that appears because it only has half of it. In full it would be: "Facts are stupid things until brought in connection with some general law." I doubt, though, whether any instructor or student would have enough patience today to allow the student to work this all out on his own. The student would complain that the teacher isn't teaching and the teacher would think the student is too thick to realize the point without being pointed directly to it.

Emerging from the cave

Bad4Shidduchim brought up Rav Shimon Bar Yochai with respect to seeking a shidduch. In she mentions "he’s not either known for his tolerance of imperfect people, like me.” What is particularly interesting of the story of R' Shimon Bar Yochai in the cave is that he was forced to learn tolerance. The account appears in the Gemara in Shabos.

Rashbi and his son hid in a cave for 13 years (where they miraculously subsisted on the fruit of a carob tree and water) because his death was demanded for speaking critically of the emperor's accomplishments with respect to infrastructure. He stated that all of it was done for impure and selfish motives. When the emperor died, the decree was nullified, and he was informed he could leave the cave. But upon emerging he could not tolerate that the people were in engaged in field work. He denounced them for occupying themselves only with this world while foresaking …

Twitter question

I am still fairly new to Twitter. I started out following only a couple of people I knew from before through a blog or other connection. But I have since added on some when informed they were following me. A number of them are not in the J-Blog loop. So I'm wondering, where are they picking me up from? Do some people just pick up at random? Or would they find something in a search that interests them and then follow ever after?

Simple to say but not always to do

Like "buy low and sell high," the key to financial success is really built on simple points. The problem is letting these points guide one's decisions. We tend to make impulse purchases we can ill afford when armed with credit cards that let us forget the fundamental axiom in this post at
I did a piece years ago warning about being armed and dangerous with credit cards, you can find it archived at under the title "Take Charge!"

A good Cyber Monday to you

Lots of online retailers are looking for your business today. There are some great deals, but there are also pitfalls to ordering online. So go over the figures and options before putting in your credit card info. See

Thanksgiving in the Parasha

No turkey here. Chazal say that Leah was the first person ever to offer thanks to Hashem. We see that in Parshas Vatyetzeh, she named her fourth son Yehudah to say "Hapa'am ode es Hashem" [This time I will than G-d]. As Leah and Rachel knew that Yaakov would be the father of 12 tribes through 4 wives, Leah saw with the fourth child born that she was allotted the greater share of sons.

How to disagree agreebly

This article draws on Tannen's approach to language: See
Excerpt: "couples who used analytical language, such as “think,” “understand,” “because,” or “reason,” during heated arguments were able to keep important stress-related chemicals in check," It concludes: "The study nicely pokes holes in the stereotype that women are prone to emotional irrationality; the language software counted that women, on average, used more of these cerebral words than men. It’s also a reminder of the influence of a woman’s words on a man. "Even when it seems like he is ignoring you, your words may be having an effect—at least on a chemical level,” says Graham."

The Maharal on Midrash

I started learning the Maharal's Be'er Hagolah, which addresses people's misimpression of the function and depth of midrash. I just came across a key passage in the third Be'er on p. 44 in my edition. This is a direct quote translated by myself:
a man who is a stranger to matters of wisdom will be astounded on the distance that appears [between the Midrash of Chazal] and he cannot apprehend their words. And this is nothing new, for also in the Torah and all the Scripture it is thus, for the man who is a stranger to the matters of wisdom sees in Torah some things that seem distant [unlikely]. However, the the intelligent man will say that it is not that the words are empty, and if they appear thus to him, it is due to him [the shortcoming of his own understanding]. That is the way for all the drashos in the Talmud and in all the other midrashim. Not a single one of them, whether big or small, does not [reveal] the depths of the Scriptures according to its truth…

Ah, New York's finest

In Far Rockaway we have profiling-- the police look for Jews to ticket. If you are familiar with the neighborhood surrounding Mott Avenue, you would realize how ludicrous it is to crack down on the one Jewish kid riding a bike on the sidewalk. The following post appeared today on the local shul list:
Does anyone (unfortunately) have experience fighting a ticket for riding a bicycle on NYC sidewalk.Mott Ave. Far Rockaway. My son received a summons to Queens Criminal Court for riding his bicycle on the sidewalk. He is 17. The officer inaccurately described the incident, making it a more serious event than what actually occurred. My son rode on the street up until arriving directly in front of the store, he made the fateful decision to remain on his bike and ride up onto and across the sidewalk, where he dismounted and walked the bicycle into the store. No pedestrians were involved at all.
The officer wrote that he "observed the defendant operating a bicycle on a public sidewalk and…

Happy lasagna day!

It seems that lasagna is the official turkey substitute. All the stores had lasagna noodles on sale this past week. I picked up 4 boxes at Stop & Shop for 79 cents each; that's less than half the regular price! So I wonder, those people who avoid eating turkey on Thanksgiving because they do not wish to actively celebrate the holiday, would they have to avoid lasagna as well?

How much time does it take to pull it all together?

Today I spoke with someone whose child is getting married in a few weeks. She asked if I had a checklist for the wedding. I had run an article a while back on the wedding timeline. So I dug it out of the computer files and emailed it to her. I then decided to post it on the site on the page. I included the introductory part on an Examiner post which links to it. That is at

Dinner and dancing are both a mitzvah at a wedding

Keep that in mind when the portrait session seems to go on and on and on after the chuppah, to the point that some of your guests may leave without both. See

Does sheer cover it?

In a BY type school, tznius is not taught as something you need just if someone wants to say kriyas shema in your presence. It is taught as THE standard of dress in the city, in the country, in the winter, in the summer, essentially, anywhere. Even in chedrey chedarim, one is not supposed to say that tznius does not apply, though just about all authorities permit women to don bathing suits to swim in a pool with only women around. I agree completely.
What of school rules? The flaw in the logic of the skirts past the knee with knee socks standard is that the school allows sheer stockings for both students and teachers. If one really holds that the lower part of the leg must be covered like sleeves cover the arms, then it doesn't make sense to allow a sheer covering. In truth, sheer stockings reveal far more and achieve a more alluring effect than the shortest of socks. Thus it seems that the rule of socks when sheer stockings are permitted is more an issue of conformity t…

I am not making this up

It seems there is a market for hula hoop instructors -- for adults. I wonder how many lessons they expect to need before managing the hoop on their own.

Someone posted as follows:
Looking for someone who can teach an adult to hula Please contact me as soon as possible with your contact info, rates and availability.

Thank you,

Very impressive

not just the financial clarification but the graciousness at the beginning.

Time for a change of tactic

Orthonomics begins her post on "unpopular advice"with a letter to the Yated and offers some answers.
I think the fact that the letter writer is able to say,
"We’re justasking, what should we do? What is the answer? How are we supposed to manage?There is probably no answer to this question, but one thing I can say is that when my children get married, I’ll probably do things a lot differently. Maybe the way we’ve done things until now didn’t make as much sense as we thought they did…"
is a very positive thing. She'elaschachamchatziteshuva -- a wise person's question is half an answer (because he frames the issue correctly). While asking this question, the person is taking note that raising children with the expectation that their needs will forever be cared for by others is not the way to go. That and the recognition that they can no longer regard their parents as a never-ending sourcde of funds show maturity. So there is at least something positive coming …

Now I had thought of that -- professional shidduch resumes

But I don't think the commentator was really proposing that idea. I think it far more likely that s/he picked up on the word resume as a place to promote services and didn't understand what a shidduch resume is.
My comment moderation caught an interesting attempt to advertise. The comment was for a post I did several weeks ago on my poll on shidduch resumes. This is what it says: An insightful post on "Shidduch resume poll".An important point is a resume and cover letters are the marketing tools that helps the candidate to land in a perfect position. So it’s better to hire a professional service. One such specialized service is
K--- - [followed by a link to how to write a professional cover letter and executive resume]

But, hey, why not? We can start a professional resume writing service for shidduchim. Like business resumes, they can tailor each one for the particular position sought. When pitching to a yeshiva boc…

Diamonds are for . . . ?

Diamonds are forever for over 60 years now

A diamond ranks a 10 on the Mohs scale for hardness. Taking its hardness as a sign of durability, a diamond is viewed as a proper symbol of an enduring commitment symbolized by an engagement ring.">But is the diamond engagement ring deeply rooted in tradition?

A thought about houses and fields

Mishlei 14:1 contains the phrase "chachmas nashim bantha beytha" [The widsom of women built her house]. That would apply to Rivka who used her wisdom to build up her house -- which would be perpetuated through Yaakov. Yaakov is the one associated with the bayis, advancing the Avos from the initial stage of Avraham -- the har [mountain] --through Yitzchak --the sadeh [field]. Now it occurs to me that both Yitzchak and Esav are associated with the sadehi, which could, in part, account for Yitzchak's natural affinity to that son. Esav was called an ish sadeh. Seeing that, Yitzchak may have thought he was continuing the spiritual path he had blazed in the sadeh. Yaakov, on the other hand, was associated with the bayis; he was not a man of the field. His spiritual approach differed from his father's, and it is possible that Yitzchak did not recognize that it was actually the differene in approach that was needed for spiritual advancement. But Rivka did recognize…

New page to make it easy to find the aspect of the Jewish wedding that you seek

New page indexes the articles on aspects of the Jewish wedding at This page also contains the index to articles on kallah classes and recommended online sources and texts.
I already had an index up for wedding planning tips at

What is being way above average worth?

Not enough. I like to check my stats regularly. At this point, for today, my page views are about double the NY average, and & times (a nice number, considering I just wrote about sheva brachos) the "religion and spirituality average. And that yields jut 20 cents. You read that right -- the amount of just 2 dimes, 4 nickels, or 20 pennies. Yes, by day's end, the number will probably be higher, but it rarely goes above 70 cents for a day. Maybe I will break a buck if you guys subscribe to my Examiner page at
The latest posts are on aspects of the Jewish wedding. But I also have a lot of practical stuff up, like NY marriage license requirement, engagement ring pointers, wedding gown and veil tips, florist terms, and how to save on wedding photography and video.

Add on $1.20

If you buy water bottles in New York, you will find another $1.20 tacked on to the price of your 24 pack. While the deposit has been in effect for soda bottles and cans for years, as of November 8th, the Empire State started assessing a 5 cent deposit on each water bottle. According to the law, though, any place that collects this tax also must refund it when the bottle is returned. So if you do save the bottles -- as should be required for recycling laws -- you can return them to the store. However, based on my experience with soda bottles, you will sometimes have to return them to the particular store you bought them from because stores will usually not accept bottles they do not sell.

Some practical reasons to not try to beat the system

Seeking princes with the following:

This just came in on the neighborhood listShadchan seeking boys between the ages of 22-26 who are Yirei Shamayim, in their thoughts and in their deeds, who are ambitious, and who have a job or are taking the necessary steps to earn a decent parnossah , that will be adequate to support a family B'Ezras Hashem

Ah so many terms here open to interpretation. Like, what is a "Yirei Shamayim" in terms of "deeds?" Is it enough that he doesn't work on Shabbos? Must he also abstain from sports on Shabbos? What of the way he dresses on Shabbos? As for "in there thoughts," would someone test them in their emunah? Or do they mean what they like to read, watch, listen to during their leisure time.

Ambitious in terms of what? From the context, it would seem in terms of earning money. But there are many possible ambitions -- to discover a cure for diseases, to establish a yeshiva, to run for political office, to hold up Torah values to the best of one'…

Take 2, add 10, to yield 7

When do you do that? Under the chuppah. You start with the couple, add a minyan, and then recite the sheva brachos. See

Kids are really useful when you need to find something

When I misplace something, i.e., keys (most common), phone (major drawback to something not attached to a cord) or, as today, my credit card, usually a child succeeds in finding it. I had not actually used it since last Thursday. And I did contact the last store at which I had used it to check it if I had left it behind. But I recalled that I was considering placing an online order Saturday night and had even gotten as far as taking my credit card out of my purse to fill in the info. I decided to hold off on the order. But the question is why wasn't my card back in my purse. I had searched around the computer and around the purse to no avail. I asked for my children's assistance. My middle daughter discovered another card that had fallen into the draw of the desk where my purse was. So I concluded that the card I sought must have fallen in, as well. And so it was.

So are kids smarter? I don't think that is it. I think they have a somewhat different perspective, …

Finances: True or False Quiz

I just took the money bunk quiz at The only one I got wrong was the mortgage question. Go ahead and give it a go yourself.

So do you like suprise gifts?

I have to thank Mother in Israel for her tweet, which brought this blog to my attention. The question on this is post from someone asking what to do now that her grandfather just bought her a car drew quite a range of responses. The real answer, of course, is "it depends." I pointed out "it depends" on what strings would be attached to the gift. Others stressed that the grandfather, obviously, wanted to give it, so the only gracious thing to do is to accept it. Actually, this dilemma could be a good one to bring up on a date or even when engaged to ascertain a person's outlook on money, independence, and relationships. Check it out at http:///without-asking-my-grandfather-just.html

I may be quick, but I don't believe I'm that quick

I think something must be off on Pearson's record for yesterday. It reports that I read 4657 essays, which include 216validity papers in 8.5 hours. I have never hit a thousand essays in a single day, even if ended up scoring for upwards of 20 hours. I think my best time would be near 70 essays to an hour. Also there are usually no more than 25 validity papers in a day. So the only conclusion I can draw is there must be a goof that shows the total reads to date for the scoring session as the reads of the date.


I made the image to the left to illustrate my post on reasons for a kallah giving her chasson a tallith. You can read it here:

A higher degree leads to . . .

A higher degree does not necessarily translate into higher pay. I know this from personal experience. But others have observed this to be the case even across two levels of degree.

One of the comments that appeared on a Higher Ed Jobs post on Linked in was from Gwendolyn Henderson, Department Head (School District of Hillsborough County).In researching positions I came across an academic advisor posting paying $30K (masters required....1-2 yrs. exp. in higher edu). That is $14.42 per hour...which is what my former "high school" students earn talking on the phone as customer service reps. for various companies with a "high school" diploma. One would conclude, working in acdemia requires six years more education to earn the income of a high school graduate capable of answering a phone call for someone making a inquiry about their cell phone bill. Sad...I know.

Yitzchak greets his bride

In ParshasChayei Sarah, we see the the details of a wedding for the first time in Tanach. Obviously, there were couples married before Yitzchak and Rivka, but theirs is the first one to show the Erusin / Kiddushin and Nesuin. Eliezer serves as Yitzchak's agent in betrothing Rivka. While we give a ring, he bestows on her the nose ring, and two bracelets. (24:22) . When her parents and brother suggest a delay of the traditional year-long engagement, or at least 10 months, Eliezer insists he must proceed immediately. Rivka affirms her commitment in the single word, "elech" [I will go] (24:55-56,58).

When their caravan of camels approach the field where Yitzchak is, Rivka sees him and asks Eliezers "who is that man, there , who walks in the field toward us?" Eliezer replies that he is his master. Rivka then covers herself with her scarf" (24: 64-65) The last verse is the source for bridal veils. Rivka covered her face as she was approaching nesuinwith…

I've heard of renting flowers for weddings, but this . . .

I saw an online ad that offers rentals of silk flower arrangements for Shabbos. It reads as follows: "Pre-made Silk Flower Shabbos Bouquet for Rent or Sale. Why buy Flowers for $15-$50 that will die when you can rent them. . . . Rentals only $15 from Friday- Wednesday $1.50 for every additional day we have many to choose from so you can Pick up a new one every week."

I really don't this is as an economical choice. You can buy a pretty nice bouquet of fresh flowers for $15 or less, so if that is what you want to spend for flowers you will only keep from a Friday to Wednesday, then you may as well get fresh. In fact, I have bought flowers at Stop and Shop and Gourmet Glatt for just $3 to $4 a bunch. If I wanted something more extravagant, I could spend $6 to $7 on two for a fuller bouquet.

If I would be opting to save money by getting silk instead, it only makes sense to buy the flowers and keep them forever after rather than paying what they cost every single week. S…

Labels, grr!

It's not enough to have labels based on affiliations, we have to have subcategory labels. And supposedly, all who fall into that subcategory label will act exactly the same. I just saw a topic title on a forum with a poll offering yes or no to the following: "Do most YU Machmir people only use checked Romaine Lettuce?"

Personally, I buy the standard Romaine lettuce and wash and check it myself. I usually only do this for Pesach. But for year round, I wash and the lettuce we use for salad. I also train my daughters to check the red and green leaf lettuce. I have found tiny bugs on occasion, so it is not an unnecessary precaution to check the leaves. I also explain to my daughters that certain vegetables are very difficult to check, which is one of the reasons I tend not to buy them.

But where I went to school or did not go to school really is irrelevant. What exactly are YU Machmir people supposed to be machmir on? Cholov Yisroel? Hilchos Shabbos? Taharas ham…

Hillel's approach for Chanukah and for couples

I was going to wait until closer to Chanukah to post this, but because a question came up in the guest, I decided to share it early.
post on

In Made in Heaven: A Jewish Wedding Guide, (Moznaim Publishing, 1983 p. 32), Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan brings up the issue of squandering money on lavish weddings that should be put to better use in providing the couple with necessities. He recalls an illustration offered by his friend, Rabbi Shmuel Mendelson. Hillel and Shamai had different views about the order in which Chanukah candles should be lit. As we know, we follow the opinion of Beis Hillel, which is to begin with one and add on a candle each successive night. However, Beis Shamai’s view was that the candles should parallel the cows offered during Sukkos, which began with the full number but went down one each day.

Rabbi Mendelson observed that Beis Shamai’s approach is followed by those who believe they must start o…

Guest post on gifts

"Jed" asked me to post the following:"">Being aware that many choshuv rabbonim have established guidelines for keeping down wedding costs, I was slightly disturbed to come across this article detailing which gifts "must" be given between the chosson and kallah (or their families). What are the common traditions, and what is just"minhag hallmark" as far as gifts between the couple prior to the wedding? See

Deep sea diving

The Torah is referred to as water and even as the sea. When learning Torah, one plunges in to attempt to explore the depths. Like deep sea diver, they may succeed in pulling up some of the treasures that lay hidden or discover some as yet unclassified plant or animal. It would be ludicrous for anyone to claim that they know all there is to know about the sea on the basis of their own explorations. There is far more out there than any individual could cover in a lifetime.

Computers in the classroom

Would you think that is a good thing? Yesterday my daughter checked out a school that boasts about giving every single student her own laptop. My daughter noted that the laptops are, indeed, put to use during class. While some may actually take down notes on them, which is supposedly what they are intended for in noncomputer classes, others use it to surf the web, go on Facebook, check email, or send texts (though, admittedly they could do that anyway with just a phone). What was heralded as a tool for learning easily slips into a distraction for learning. I know that even college students would fall into distractions when they would bring laptops into class. The less mature high school students could hardly be expected to resist temptation, particularly in a school that takes a rather light approach to discipline.

You know that even when going to the moon, the scientists were still using the slide rule to make their calculations. It seems to me that the generation of long a…

It may be a dream, but the city is awake

In Hebrew, the word ir usually means city. But in the book of Daniel 4:10 it appears as the word for something else. Nevuchadnetzar recalls his second dream in the book. Among the visions is what is caleld "ir vekadish min shemaya." The word "ir" here refers to an angel, as it also does in the plural for of irin kadishin. The Da'as Mikrah, drawing on a number of classical commentators, explains that the root here is made up of the letters ayin, vav, reysh -- meaning awake. I suppose angels don't sleep. But it struck me how the word for awake is conflated with the word for city -- indeed, the city never sleeps.

The chuppah and Sinai

Still the same after all these years

I was reading through reviews of wedding photographers on a wedding site. Though the site is not oriented toward a Jewish audience, it does include some Jewish owned photography studios. One of them was the one that shot my wedding way over a decade ago. The reviewer was not happy with her experience. Among the unpleasant things she recounts is being ordered by the photographer into poses she was uncomfortable with. She had to say "no" 4 times before being heard. I remember having the exact same experience. I didn't like being told to hold the veil this way or that, etc. And for all their claim of knowing what the poses should be, the results were not at all impressive. The reviewer attributes the poor performance to the owner being present for too short a time. But if the photographers were truly professional, they would not need the owner there to perform properly. And while she offers the possibility that her experience was an aberration, I remember being qui…

Why a ring for kiddushin?

Shadchanus and family

I know someone who was upset by the notification from a relative that she would consider setting up this person's daughter with someone so long as her terms were clear. They were as follows:

I charge $2000/side for people in chutz la'aretz (first-time marriages, 29 years or under, no special needs or conditions)In other words, she would expect $2000 (from each side) if the shidduch came off even though this seems to be about a re-introduction, not someone they had not known of before.

I told the person that it is sad that she makes it clear she would not pick up the phone if she is not assured she would be paid for the shidduch. But from her perspective, she is charging for her service. The fact that the service is for a relative -- as far as she sees it-- is no reason to give up her fee. I'm not saying I agree with her point of view, but I believe that she thinks she is entitled to make money on this deal as she would on any other.

From my perspective, it is cold and…

40 days before

Chazal (Sotah 2a) say that 40 days before yetziras havlad [the formation of the embryo] a bas kol [heavenly voice] calls out, "Bas ploni leploni" [The daughter of this man is destined for this one]. So when does this happen exactly? Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan touches on this on p. 5 of in Made in Heaven (Mozanaim: 1983). The 40 days before would be at the time of conception. I was just wondering about implicatons. I have heard that one can try to pray for the baby's gender only earlier than the 40th day of gestation precisely because it is not yet delineated. However, the sex would have been determined at conception if the bas zug was declared then.

Chazal do say that Leah prayed that she would carry a girl so that her sister would get to have at least two sons. Consequently, the embryo that would have been a boy was switched to a girl -- Dina. And we know that Dina went through major travails as a girl. It seems getting what you wish for is fraught with peril. I do …

What she said, in truth

See the Divrei Chaim's take on meshane mifnei hashalom in this week's Parsha at: and
When I reviewed the parsha on Shabbos, an understanding of what Sarah said struck me. Then I saw that Hakthav Vehakbala reads it the same way. "Acharey balothi, haytha li edna veadoni zaken" [After I have been worn out , i.e. aged, I had rejuvenation, but my master is old.] According to the Midrash, Sarah pirsa niddah that day, so she say a clear manifestation of her rejuvenation with a return to fertility. But she saw no such sign on her husband. She saw the miracle in her own transormation but was amazed that the same would not be done for her husband.

Breaking plates revisited

See Havolim's post with illustrations at and my original post, which includes R' Reisman's suggested answer printed in Pathways to the Prophets in the comments at
Rabbi Reisman concedes that he could not find a source for the minhag of mothers, specifically, breaking the plate. He offers a possible explanation as follows: the tanaim undertake a financial obligation. As the fathers of the chasson and kallah each have a prior financial obligation to their wives' kesubos, the wives participation indicates their willingness to allow this new financial agreement.

Thoughts on the Jewish Wedding

The wedding ring does not have to be made of gold, but it should not be gold-plated. And the thrifty should appreciate that one of the reasons for combining the Erusin with Nesuin was to reduce expenses by having one celebratory feast instead of two. See

It occurred to me that for those who find a double-ring ceremony to be the only one that appeals to their sense of equity, there already is one in place. Of course, the kinyan is accomplished by giving something to the kallah, which is traditionally a ring. Prior to that the kallah herself forms a ring (not a concrete one, obviously) for her husband by circling around him. Of course, this is a speculative interpretation, so I did not include it in the post. Those who consider the bride's circuits to be demeaning to women have not really looked into the meaning behind the custom. See…

Thoughts on titles

Though moderation is currently on, you can still comment. I have completed a very good part of the book based on the topics that have been covered in the Kallah Magazine issues. I have tentatively titled it The Kallah Magazine Wedding Handbook, but I am now considering Cutting the Fat from Your Big Jewish Wedding . The latter would sound trendier but would also hint at both trimming down to essentials and cost-cutting.

Kallah Magazine on Facebook

I set up a page under the Kallah Magazine name at Fans are welcome!

My facebook page under my own name, which includes the Kallah Magazine updates, is still up.

"Jewish men make the best husbands" true or false?

There is, indeed a perception that Jewish men are good husband material. It certainly seems to be assumed by nonJewish women who actually seek out romantic attachment to Jewish men. What do they have to say for themselves?

In her autobiography, Crossing Ocean Parkway, Marianna De Marco Torgovnick, an Italian-American who became an English professor identifies her selecting a Jewish husband as one of the keys out of the locked environment she found in her own ethnic group. That is not to say that she married for money or even status, but for someone from a culture that would foster her academic aspirations. I am not sure if a WASP would have been perceived as beyond reach, while the Jewish man -- still rooted in an ethnic group -- was considered more attainable. But she clearly found a Jewish husband to be more compatible with where she wanted to go than a fellow Italian-American.

But, on the flip side, my husband recently declared that his coworkers put him to shame (just don…

Not quite one in a million

I am one in 855. I mean of the SAT essay scorers. In the latest newletter, Pearson informs us that 950 readers were hired to score for the October SAT exam taken by about 575,000 students. 90% of the 950 readers passed training and qualification, which would mean 855 if my math skills do not fail me on percentages. So for those who slyly ask if I could assign a better score if I recognize the writer of the essay, you can calculate for yourself what are the odds of my getting that one our 575,000 essays when there are 854 other possibities? Aside from the point that I would not score a student essay by someone I recognize any differently than one I am unfamiliar with, the odds are very much against my getting the essay one has in mind.

BTW the next SAT test date is November 7th. It seems to always be given on a Saturday, so taht Sabbath observers have to take it the next day.