Showing posts from December, 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
Posted by: "Chana"

FREE Teleconference Call! Over the phone from the convenience of your home or office!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
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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 …