Monday, November 30, 2009
I did a piece years ago warning about being armed and dangerous with credit cards, you can find it archived at http://kallahmagazine.com/MoneyMatters.htm under the title "Take Charge!"
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
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."
Thursday, November 26, 2009
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. As one deeply investigates the interpretation of the Text, he will find it thus. That is why it is called drasha, for it is drishas [an investigation of] the Text with extreme [deep] chakira [digging out the truth] and drisha of up to the depth of [meaning of] the Text. Even if at time, he will find that one intereprets a point one way and one another, this matter is not a difficulty, for, certainly, the shape of the pshat is one, but the deep matters that emerege from it are very many. It thus for every thing that is found in the world. It is one thing unto itself when revealed to everyone's eye. Yet, when each thing is examined [analyzed] in terms of the truth of its idea and being, many thoughts and ideas can be found in them. And they are all clearly truth. Consequently, when we study the truth of the Text we will find many things that appear contradictory and various ideas according to the issue, and it is all truth. Only to the one who doesn't grasp their words [the teachings of Chazal] does it appear to be a strange [illogical] view.
A few pages later, the Maharal offers an analogy to illustrate how Midrash is always rooted in the truth of the text even if it seems distant from it. The pshat would be analogous to the trunk of the tree, which is singular. But the tree extends into braches, leaves, and even fruit. Though they may extend very far beyond the trunk, they are still integral to the tree and stem from the same root.
This point underlies the post: http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/10/why-bother-acting-jewish.html
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 then into a bodega causing people to walk into the street". This is NOT what happened. A lawyer we consulted stated that such language makes it appear to BE a criminal act, endangering lives.
Any advice would be appreciated
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
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 to a dress code than actual tznius. See the http://divreichaim.
Also see http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2010/08/tznius-legacy-not-fit-for-translation.html
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.
Monday, November 23, 2009
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'elas chacham chatzi teshuva -- 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 out of this economic downturn -- that and the more modest bas mitzvah celebrations I've noticed in the 7th grade of this year in contrast to the 7th grade last year in the same school.
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 http://www.all-trades-resume-writing.com/
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 bochur who wishes to learn in kollel for several years, it would be written one way. When pitching to an ambitious young man who aspires to macher status and the type of wife machers prefer, it would be written a different way. Then there are the pitches for Zionist types that would stress a love for Israel and a plan to live there. If pitching to a rabbi who may be moving around, the resume could include stresses on flexibility and a love of travel. Quite a scope there.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner~y2009m11d22-With this ring: I don't thee wed: diamond-engagement-rings-and-Jewish-law
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?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I already had an index up for wedding planning tips at http://www.kallahmagazine.com/WeddingAdvice.html
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.
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's ability.
And what is "decent parnossah?" That reminds me of the discussion between the sisters in Sense and Sensibility. The elder said that "wealth" is one of the attributes to seek, while the younger insisted just a "competency." But, in fact, what the younger had in mind by her "competence," estimated at eighteen hundred to two-thousand a year far exceeded the one thousand her sister had in mind for "wealth."
Monday, November 16, 2009
So are kids smarter? I don't think that is it. I think they have a somewhat different perspective, which is what allows them to approach things and see them differently. So if the standard tactics aren't working, bring in a kid.
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: http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner~y2009m11d15-The-tallith-a-gift-to-the-groom-from-the-heart
Saturday, November 14, 2009
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.
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 nesuin with Yitzchak.
This was her trip down the aisle, so to speak. Her groom then came out to greet her and escort her into the chuppah, which was an actual home.
The commentator, Hakethav Vehakabala explains that Yitzchak was, in fact, going out to greet his bride. He was sensitive to the fact that she was coming away from her family to become his wife and wanted to show her a warm welcome and honor.. That is why he left his usual dwelling place in the south to the area of Be'er Lechay Roee, and then walked out into the field toward the path that travellers would traverse on the way from Charan. That way he was sure to see his bride and be able to escort the rest of the way. Like the grooms who come out from the chuppah to escort their brides in, Yitzchak borought Rivka to the tent of Sarah his mother to make her his wife (24:67).
Thursday, November 12, 2009
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. Silk flowers generally cost $1 to $2 a stem. What they're offering would only make sense as fund raiser for a tzedaka. Then you would be, essentially donating the $15 and getting the temporary flowers as a token of appreciation of sorts.
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 hamishpacha? Emunas chachamim? Or is it only matters of kashrus?
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 out married life with everything. They are the ones who would register for the expensive china and silver sets, buy full suites of Italian furniture, and set it all up in a home they cannot afford to keep up. “When they begin, they have everything.” But when reality sets in and their income cannot keep up with their expenses, “they find their lives diminishing.”
Then there are couples who see the wisdom of Beis Hillel’s approach in their own life. “They can start off with one candle – with very little.” These are the ones who make do with a modest apartment furnished with second-hand pieces and dishes that are priced by the set rather than the place setting. So they do not begin in a blaze of glory. “But for the rest of their life they are adding.”
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 ago were not at all educationally disadvantaged by their lack of smart boards, advanced calculators, and access to the internet.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
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 calculating, to not lift a finger to promote a shidduch without assurance of renumeration. There is a notion of chessed and altruism. If we only did things for money, there would be no volunteering -- no one packing the boxes for Tomchei Shabbos or delivering them. There would be no kallah teachers who forego the fee leshem mitzvah. I try to instill such values in my own children who get dragged over to pack the boxes and are told not to demand money when babysitting for cousins. They also see that I have committed to cover dispatch for Chaverim every week. So I do understand the business perspective, but one's view should not be that limited -- particularly when dealing with family that may have done and in future do favors for you.
Friday, November 06, 2009
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 wonder of the consequences for the heavenly declarations.
BTW the declaration sounds like it is made for the baby boy -- for he is specified while his bas zug is assigned on the basis of parentage. If it were declared for the girls, as well, I would think it should say Plonis leploni or Plonis leben ploni to match. What's interesting is if the girl is identified soley by her parentage, it would not be clear which daughter in a family of many girls is the One designated. That would actually eliminate my question of Yaakov's bas zug -- Rachel or Leah? Both would have been covered under the description "bas Lavan."
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.
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.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
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 http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner~y2009m10d26-Aspects-of-the-Jewish-wedding-on-to-the-chuppah
My facebook page under my own name, which includes the Kallah Magazine updates, is still up.
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't take that too literally). He said that, not only do they do house projects but they cook full dinners, as well. To my husband's credit, he does do the dishes and really coordinates the Pesach kitchen turnover. He also doesn't have to call in someone just to change a light bulb, put up the sukkah, or put in an air conditioner. But he questioned the husband rankings when he heard about the great accomplishments of his nonJewish colleagues.
Thoughts on the title of this post?
Monday, November 02, 2009
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.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Sarai was correcting a fundamental error that Hagar made. Once she became pregnant, as Rashi explains, she grew conceited and looked down on her mistress, claiming that Sarai is not the Mrs. Perfect everyone considers her. If she were so good, she would not have remained childless while Hagar conceived instantly is what the handmaid thought to herself. As the text says, vatekel gevirata be'eyneyha [her mistress become of less consequence in her eyes] (16:4). Here Hagar saw incorrectly and reached the wrong conclusion by assuming that what she saw defined all that is. The angelic directive to return pointed out that she erred and she must accept Sarai superiority of position and spiritual level.
For over 17 years, things seem to stabilize in Avraham's household. But when Sarah sees the danger that Yishmael poses to her son, she insists on sending him and his mother away. Hashem Himself tells Avraham to listen to all that Sarah tells him (21:12), and so he sends mother and son off the very next morning even though Yishmael is sick. What's very interesting is how this episode of Hagar's leaving contrasts with the previous episode. The first time, she ran away. Now she is sent away. Also the first time she was alone, and here she has Yishmael with her. The first time she is ordered to return by the angel, but this time, she is shown how she and her son will survive away from Avraham's household.
But what struck me is also the difference in the manner in which the angel addresses her. In the first instance, she sees the angel who speaks with (no fewer than 5 according to the view that each statement by a different angel). Here she only hears the angel call her from the Heavens (21:17). Also when she was ordered to return, she was also reassured that she would have a son to be called Yishmael ki shama Hashem el anyech [because Hashem heard her distress] (16:11). There she merited to be heard. This contrasts with what the angel tells her the second time around, ki shama Elokim el kol hana'ar [for G-d listened to the voice of the lad] (21:17). Though Hagar had cried herself, she is not credited with anything meriting G-d's response.
Even in her great decline, she merited to hear an angel, though now that she was sent away by Avraham, she no longer merited to see one. Chazal learn that at this point Hagar had actually reverted to idolatry, which is why she had to be expelled from Avraham's household. According to some, when she cried out, she was crying out to her idols. According to others, when she cried out, she was complaining that G-d's promise that her descendants would multiply appears false, for she expected her son to die. She separated herself from her sick son, saying al ereh bemos hayeled [I won't see the death of the boy] (21:16). She had willful blindness. Consequently, she needed to have her eyes opened for her. Vayifakach Elokim eth eyneyha vatera be'er mayim [G-d opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. The well had always been there; only Hagar had failed to see it. That is the revelation for Hagar in this episode -- to realize the limits of her vision. What she was able to see was not all there was; even human who have seen angels can fall into errors of vision.