Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Well met

Note: I wrote this up last week, but never posted it here, so here it is still in time for this week's parsha.

After the disruption caused by Hurricane Sandy to my part of Long Island, the regular Monday night class with Rav Goldvicht resumed. At tonight's class he mentioned several concepts linked to Jewish marriage. . One of them is insight into the three meetings at a well recounted in TaNaCh that resulted in betrothals.
The first one was recounted in the text we read last Shabbos: Eliezer's quest to find a bride  for Yitzchak. The well is what served as his test of whether or not the girl he encounters will demonstrate the trait of kindness that distinguishes the ways of Avraham. The test was to see if the girl would not only willingly share her water r with him but also offer to give the camels to drink.
While that is a familiar story to most of us, Rav Goldvicht explained that it was not merely the kindness of the act but the sensitivity displayed. Eliezer's request was to drink water from the girl's own pitcher. He then watched to see what she would do with the water he left over. While she may be disinclined to drink from the same vessel, it would be somewhat insulting to spill out the water he had come in contact with. So the solution was to offer it to the camels and then to follow up by giving them as much water as they required.
The second couple to meet at a well was Yaakov and Rachel. Rachel was shepherding her sheep, and came to the well for their water. A similar situation occurred for the third couple: Moshe and Tzipporah. Why does a well work so well for these occasion? From a purely pragmatic perspective, it makes sense that the source of water would be the gathering place in an arid climate. However, there is more to it.
There are three natural sources of water: a cistern, a spring, and a well. The cistern only receives water from rain. A spring brings up water from the ground. The well is the only source that combines both water sources, bringing up the groundwater but also receiving rainwater. So a well is the most apt symbol for the marriage that brings together two different people in a new combination.

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Thanksgiving related posts

I tried to look up my posts that touch on this national holiday, but Google refused to help. I'm not kidding. It perforce showed the search results that included my Examiner posts but only offered error responses when I tried to click over to them. But they really are there, so if you are interested, here are a few:

For thoughts on Jewish holiday celebrations
For thoughts on the consumerism of the season, especially the absurd frenzy that marketer try to whip up with Black Friday specials:

For a good Shabbos recipe:

If you prefer to use fresh cranberries in dessert, see the apple crisp recipe

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saturday, November 03, 2012

on shalom bayis

Sometimes we lose sight of the forest and focus too much on individual trees. The same holds true for the populairyt of segulos as an instant solution to problems.

from  the inimitable Barzilai
Something That Works Better Than a Segula

Eli sent me a link to the introduction of a sefer called טיב החסד (published two years ago by R' Gamliel Rabinowitz/Rappaport, associated with ישיבת שער השמים),  in which he tells us a story about the Satmerer Rov's reaction to the Shalom Bayis explanation of the minhag:
הרה"ק מסאטמר זצוק"ל שמע פעם מאחד הרבנים שמדקדק לקפל הטלית מיד במוצאי שבת קודש, שמקובל לסגולה לשלום בית. ענה לו רבי יואלש בחן פקחותו, כמה שהסגולה עוזרת איני יודע. אבל אם מיד במוצאי שבת תקפל גם השרוולים ותיגש לעזור בעבודת הבית זה בוודאי יעזור
that he's not sure how much the segula (of folding the tallis right after Shabbos is to bring Shalom Bayis) helps.  But if right after Shabbos someone would fold up his sleeves and get to work helping to put the house in order, that for sure would help.

Read the rest of the post about shalom bayis and the tallis at ttp://


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