Showing posts from February, 2010

Even Mordechai didn't make 100% in the popularity poll


Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

Ever heard of Ezra and Nechemya?

The fact that Esther married Achashverosh is not a lesson in tolerance for marrying out, and it is a complete distortion of both history and halacha to say so..  She was forced, and had no desire to be the wife of the king.    There are numerous Gemaras that illuminate her situation and how she dealt with it -- not by indulging in facials and silk robes.   There was only one consolation for her, and that was recognizing that she was put into this position in order to be the instrument of salvation for her people.  Now, for those who do not crack open a Gemara or Ein Yaakov or Esther Rabba or even the commentary of Rashi on the Megillah, they can open a TaNaCh to the 10th chapter of Ezra. That the problem had to be addressed with no compromise is made abundantly clear, throughout that sefer.  As for a source in Torach, itself, remember the episode at the end of Parshad Korach for which Pinchas was specially rewarded?  It was not for saying, it's all fine.

Visit my site www.kallahm…

The image and Purim mask doesn't appeal to me

Just saw this : "The essence of women is like a pearl necklace ... each one tied to the next creates a beautiful strand of precious pearls... if one is missing the necklace is too short." The image is of pearls that all look alike -- no individuality. I am certain it was chosen because it can be so prettily illustrated with a necklace, and the writer  must believe that women will naturally gravitate to jewels.  Ick! The suggestion of too few coming up  too short is absurd.  How long a necklace should be all depends on what you want from it; there are many inches difference between a choker and an opera length string of pearls.  I am certain this simile  was chosen because it can be so prettily illustrated with a necklace, and the originator must believe that women will naturally gravitate to jewels.

The context of this is a (not specifically Jewish) women's organization advertising a Purim event.  This is really a party as networking event.  Perhaps they should skip the f…

Poetic justice as a sign of Divine intervention

On Purim, we celebrate a miracle that involved no splitting of the sea or oil burning far longer than it would naturally do.  It seems that we just got a queen on our side in the right place at the right time with a king that was besotted enough with her to give her whatever she asked.  Still, the salvation that Jews had from the decree to have them completely annihilated is regarded as nothing less than a miracle that is celebrated every year and commemorated in the reading of the story both in the night and the day of Purim.  So how did the people know that G-d played a role in this?  It is not immediately obvious.  In fact, you may notice that G-d's name is conspicuously absent from the entire chronicle as set in the Book of Esther, something rather unusual for a book in TaNaCh.

I would venture to say that the nahapoch hu -- the turnabout -- that is marked points to the poetic justice that was recognized as the signature style of the Divine.   Yithro told Moshe that he recogniz…

The Monkeysphere of 150


Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

Two distinct types of heroines

Revisiting the question I brought up before Chanukah:  If you had the ability to choose, which heroine would you prefer to be? 

The eponymous heroine of Megillas Esther never sought attention for herself until she had to step up and act for the sake of her people.  Esther 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, establishing a holiday, and adding a book to the canon of TaaNaCh honor that is read twice every year.

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 w…

Planning on a post: Bigthan and Theiresh are Dead

Title stolen from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Deadby Tom Stoppard

Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

Flitter - Twitter dating

Want to meet singles without being forced to interact with those that don't instantly appeal to you?  Then this may be for you.  I can just see someone adapting this for the frum community as selective speed dating.   See the video that presents the concept and commentary at

Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

Sounds like it's Jewish

The name may make you think it is one of the degree programs such as the one described in
But it's not.  See

Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

Purim pet peeve

The misrepresentation of the mitzvah of mishloach manos, especially by stores that try to use it as an occasion to sell their non-edible products.   The mitzah is to send food, ideally something that would enhance the Purim seudah.  You don't get extra mitzvah points for themes, original packages, or including groggers (what's the point after Megillah reading anyway?)   And though you may consider any holiday an occasion for giving gifts, there is absolutely no mitzvah to give jewelry on Purim.  Also  the decorative platters, bowls, boxes, and jars that you pack your mishloach manos in are tafel to the food with respect to fulfilling the mitzvah..
Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

Thoughts on Purim and the Unexpected

A few years ago I wrote a piece on Purim, specifically the event in the Megillah, entitled "Quite the Contrary."  Many key events in the story happen contrary to expectations, and the ostensible cause and effect belies what really is going on.  Related to that idea is that of the unexpected.

Amalek's attack was unexpected.  The element of surprise, of course, is a strategical advantage in warfare.  However, here the sneakiness is seen as a manifestation of their irreparable evil.  The unexpected can also be good, as we see in the birth of Yitzchak.  "Tzchok asa li Elokim; kol hashomea yitzchak li"Sarah exclaimed upon the birth of her son after so many decades of infertility.  The unexpected quality of his birth inspires laughter.  But here is it is not the incredulous laughter she is taken to task for when the imminent pregnancy is announced, but one of happiness.  It seems a forerunner of the ideal of "az yimale schok pinu" [then our mouths will be …

Winter wedding planning

Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

The financial cost of a broken engagement

I have removed the details of this post at someone's request.   It was about a broken engagement, though it did not identify the parties involved.  It simply brought up the question of recouping costs when we don't have the  Tanaim at engagement (see http://www.-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner~y2009m10d21-Aspects-of-the-Jewish-wedding) which stipulates very stiff penalties for breaking the engagement. The comments are interesting and are of general interest.  So I am leaving them up.

Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

Web Writing: Where’s The Payoff?

Web Writing: Where’s The Payoff?

Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

Getting out without opening your wallet

Need an entertainment idea for tomorrow that won't break the bank? See
Also the Metropolitan Museum of Art has coupons for free family admissions. Children 12 and under are always free. Suggested adult donation for admission is $20. It is pay what you wish, but if you feel awkward offering less than the suggested amount, take some kids in this week!

Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

Searching for a soulmate

See the online dating discussion at It offers some sensible warnings about dealing with the hazards of meeting people in such a forum. This is not from a religious point of view. However, as the original post mentioned JDate, among other sites, I offered a couple of other Jewish dating sites.

Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

Why some are against fungible funds

Response to
Note that while this person throws out the figure of $10,000, I actually wrote $30,000 in my original post. I wasn't suggesting the parents give the child too little to make a fine wedding and even possibly have some left over. Unfortunately, today $10,000 does not cover even 50% of most weddings. I also clarified within a post that the proposal does not mean the kallah has to go it alone in planning the wedding. Certainly, parents can help and accompany every step of the way. Only they would leave the choices to the one getting married with an understanding that there is only so much to spend altogether. While it is possible to go for the more expensive choices in some things (given my hypothetical number and situation) it is not possible to do so for all, and the budget may have to balanced by going for the cheaper option elsewhere.

Comment from Imamother: I'ts not easy to plan a …

I'm expanding people's vocabulary

with my post on imamother. If you're a member, you can see it, reply, and vote in the poll.
It's called Making a wedding with fungible funds
You can also comment here, particularly if you are not a member there. This is what it says:

Has anyone either been offered or offered their children a set amount to use for all wedding needs with the option to keep anything that is left for other uses? For example, you have $30,000 set aside. You let your child know she can spend it all on the catering, makeup, and gown however she sees fit. But you won't be able to give her any more money. Should she manage to get what she want for $27,000, she could keep the $3000 to spend on whatever she wants. did this ever happen in real life?

I also put up a poll that I will try to add here. Oh, the title of this post is due to a number of people admitting that they had to look up the word "fungible." I did try to make it clear from the context with an illustrative example, though.

How did they arrive at that?

I noticed on my home page at LinkedIn that it now includes jobs it assures me may be of interest. Well, some are close in terms of the nature of the position but far in terms of geography. It includes a number of editing jobs in California --too far away but a logical leap, nonetheless. But one job was for a Tai Chi Instructor. I It would be more than a logical leap to apply for a job as an instructor of something I know nothing about. I'm wondering what particular logarithm convinced LinkedIn that I would qualify.

Visit my site -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at

Multi-tasking women

The topic of multi-tasking came up for discussion on   Then the question of women's adeptness at handling multiple tasks simultaneously followed.  I commented as follows:
 Women are generally considered to be more adept at multitasking because the nature of their domestic  responsibilities call for handling a variety of tasks.   A SAHM usually wears many hats throughout the day, as cook, cleaner, driver, personal shopper, tutor, caregiver, coach, party planner, and even financial manager.  While she may have her other tasks on her mind while doing, say the cooking, she will have to keep her attention directed to the task at hand to measure and cut correctly.  So I would say that we may handle multiple tasks when only one really requires concentration.  But we usually can only concentrate  on only one activity at a time, so switching to another significant task usually requires suspending the first one.

As a simple example, baking a cake requires several step…

I am utterly sick of

the ladies who lunch mentality which pervades frum society in general and my daughters' school in particular. It is consistently promoted not just by the materialistic traits of the surrounding community but by teachers who are not themselves ladies of enough leisure to lunch. It is, apparently, laudable to occupy female minds with the equivalent of trivial adornments because, as my daughter says, "We're girls and we're not supposed to learn." This is the outgrowth of the fear of feminist influence creeping in when a girl is taught to use her mind, think, and enjoy the process of analysis. Heaven forbid! The girls may want to learn mishanyos (as Sarah Shnirer herself did when she had yartzeit -- check her biography), and then develop curiosity about Talmudic studies. Perish the thought!

So we will keep the girls directed to things like "chessed projects" that consist of shopping sprees. I am not making this is up. This is the latest proposal my d…

This one made me do a double take

Someone sent me a friend request on FB. I often do accept people who FB friends in common with me if their profiles and pages look OK. This one definitely did not. One of the groups was: נשואים נשואות שמחפשים ולא מתביישים בזה. That's a direct quote; I didn't translate to obscure. For those of you who are Hebrew challenged, it means married people -- both male and female ) who are looking and are not ashamed. Look Hebrew, may be lashon naki, but not everything expressed in the language is. One of the unpleasant discoveries made on FB was how many ostensibly frum people identify themselves with groups, games, and pages, that are very very far from the virtue of tznius. So why am I on it? I am not on for games and voyeuristic questions. I really joined because social networking through such tools is considered imperative for businesses, especially media businesses. There are quite a lot of frum businesses on FB, some under actual business pages and some with the busines…

would you like to learn about miracle drugs and who knows what?

I'm considering allowing all my spam comments through.  At least there will be some comments then. Yeah, that's a hint.

If Austen were around today . . .

Would she blog? There actually is more than one FB page devoted to Jane, but there is not much on them.  Anyway, the question came up in response to What Did Jane Austen Know About Social Media?  Personally, I don't think she was quite as polite as she is made out to be, and those familiar with her letters would see what I mean.

Meta-criticism in a new light

If you are subscribed to the LinkedIn group Writing Mafia, you can see the thread,
Essentially someone asked for feedback on his blog and had a less than positive reaction to the initial response that came in.  This is followed with some back and forth on appropriate response, both as applied to the initial feedback and the writer of the query's outraged response.

We've come a long way, but not in our own society

No doubt about it, if Devorah were around today, she would be rejected and aspersion would be cast upon her motives.  I guess people were more open-minded about women several thousand years ago than they are in modern times.
That's my latest comment on 
It seems we've adopted the Victorian ideal as the Jewish ideal while the history of Jewish women is not so restricted.

Depressed by dating?

This may be for you: "Rebbetzin Aviva Feiner is starting a brand new series this month entitled, "Will Dating Ever Lead To Marriage, What Is Its Purpose?" This shiur will take you on an introspective journey that will bring you to a higher sense of self and the awareness of positive aspects that the dating process can bring. Rebbetzin Feiner's shiur will begin at 8:30 at the Feiner residence, 1133 Sage Street in Far Rockaway.

French or Russian

not the language, not the dressing either.  The terms here refer to a style of service.  See -NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner~y2010m2d7-Selecting-your-caterer--key-terms-to-know
Also check out: NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner~y2010m2d7-Controlling-catering-costs

His and her education as depicted by 2 ads

These ads appeared in the local paper this week.  Let's take the ladies first:
"Seminary for Girls" a local program, offering daily morning "Interactive Classes."  "Curriculum includes trip to Eretz Yisroel."  We are not told who is teaching or running the school, though we are assured that it is "Under the guidance & direction of leading and renowned Torah educators from here and Eretz Yisroel." So your guess is as good as mine.  It features: "Inspiring lectures on various topics: Halacha & hashkafa, Shabbos & Yomim Tovim, Kashrus, Foundations of building a Jewish home, The Shidduch process, Weekly parsha."    The first few items on the list are standard, the last a bit light -- a seminary should offer in depth textual study of TaNaCh, no just weekly parsha -- but did you catch the penultimate one and the one before that?  And I thought finishing schools were . . . well, finished.

And here is what is proposed for the h…

The Er and Onan Society

Here is a comment that appeared on the orthonomics. blog (note that the is not the view the blogger herself was promoting):
"my concern is that rather than encouraging couples to ask for a heter to use birth control, Rabbonim should be making that initial delay the DEFAULT, with couples needing a heter in order to have kids right away." This view is perverse from a halachic point of view, a feminist point of view, and even a sociological point of view. Get back to basics people, starting with Bereishis, stopping at Shmos with the midrashim on bizchus nashim tzidkaniyus nigalu avoseinu. I am not entering into the question of when and how contraception would be permissible here. That is a halachic discussion that requires first an understanding of the requirements on both a minimal and optimal level. What is beyond astounding, though, is that people completely pervert what psak is about when they make declarations such as the one above.
As for the title, I am not ref…

Pst, want to make some money off the books?

That's how I titled the post on a job offer with cash payments among its benefits on the Ezra LinkedIn Group.  I got some comments there that I posted to my blog post on the subject here:

Would you say that Rivka came from a "nice family?"

Sounds like a regular shidduch question, doesn't it?  In fact that is the question that underlies the post:
But the title of this post is quite specific.  The Rivka referred to is none other than Rivka Immeinu.  Remember, Avraham sent his trusted servant, Eliezer, all the way back to his home country to find a suitable bride for Yitzchak.  Eliezer spotted Rivka and came up with his own test to assess whether or not she was worthy of his master's son.  He decided on her before asking who her parents were.  While it's true that yichus is among the reasons offered for selecting a wife, (see it seems to have been perceived only on the plus side rather than as a reason to screen someone out.

Yitzchak's marriage to Rivka is actually foreshadowed in the account of progeny that follows the story of the akeida.…

If a picture is worth a thousand words . . .

how much is a slide show worth?  How about 3 of them?  Check out some beautiful pics at Picture-perfect-scenes-on-Long-Island-Atlantis-Marine-WorldPicture-perfect-scenes-on-Long-Island-Planting-Fields-Arboretum-State-Historic-Park,
-Picture-perfect-scenes-on-Long-Island: Nassau Museum
Comments are welcome on the Examiner posts.

The words you use may speak volumes about your marriage

I have to credit Elizabeth Oakes, the National Wedding Examiner for linking to:. 
You've heard, "there is no 'I' in team."  Well, there is something to how you think of your identity when you are linked to another.  As study found that couples who usually use "we," "us," "our," etc., were in a stronger relationship than those who use "I," and "me," in contradistinction to "you."
So the idea of ishto kegufo -  his wife is like himself [literally, his body] really illuminates how very together the couple should be in terms of identification.

Something to think about when preparing for Shabbos

In last week's parsha, Moshe instructs the Israelites about the mann. It was not to be kept from day to day, except for on Friday, when a double portion was to be taken because the mann did not fall on Shabbos. The mann was edible in its natural state. Nevertheless, Moshe brings up the possibility of baking and cooking it within the context of Shabbos: "Shabbathon, shabbas kodesh LaHamshem machar, es asher to'fu, efu, ve'es asher tevashlu, bashelu, ve'es kol haodef hanichu lachem lemishmeres ad haboker"  (Shmos 16: 23).  The Ramban explains that it is possible to read the text to mean that they would only bake and boil what they wanted for that day -- Friday -- and leave the rest of the double portion in its raw state for Shabbos.  But he actually prefers not to read it that way.

I would suggest that it can also be read as cooking the whole amount and leaving cooked mann for Shabbos. It is a mitzvah to honor the Shabbos by cooking and baking for special fo…