This is my blog for topics of general, Jewish interest, named for the magazine I launched in 2005. I have additional blogs for other areas. Follow on Twitter or on Google+ under Ariella Brown. Please note that comment moderation is on, which could keep your comment from appearing right away.
The thought that counts for gifts in the Torah
Chanukah really was the time of gifts over 2,000 years ago when the nesiim of each shevat brought their offerings, and the way they did it tells us much about the Torah perspective on bringing gifts.
I was very impressed by this particular dvar Torah from Rabbi Yissocher Frand. I'm also taken by "herring from New York," as the ultimate standard of luxury. In NY itself, herring is of no account for most kiddushes today, and you'd have to set out sushi platters to really make a statement. http://www.torah.org/learning/ravfrand/5774/miketz.html
The Torah Readings Of Chanukah
the Mishkan was completed on the 25th of Kislev. The actual inauguration of the Mishkan was put off until the first day of Nisan, which is when the Nessiyim started bringing their offerings. But since the Mishkan was actually completed on the 25th of Kislev, we read the section of the Nessiyim on Chanukah, to link the rededication during the Chanukah period with the original dedication of the Mishkan in the time of Moshe.
...... The Medrash indicates that when the Nessiyim brought their offerings, every Shevet had in mind what they would be bringing. The first day, Nachshon ben Aminadav of the Shevet of Yehudah brought his offering. The second day was the turn of Nesanel ben Tzuar of the Shevet of Yissachar.
The second person to offer was faced with a dilemma. What should I bring? The first person brought a beautiful offering, but what should I bring? Should I bring the same offering? No! That is not going to be good enough anymore. He was tempted to bring something even more impressive, which would have put pressure on the third Nossi to bring something even more expensive and so on down the line.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of one-ups-man-ship. It is like kiddushim in shul. The first week's sponsor has one potato kugel. The second person to make a Kiddush the following Shabbos has to add kishke to the menu. By the third week they are adding "herring from New York". It quickly becomes a contest of outdoing one's predecessor.
What did Nesanel ben Tzuar decide? He resisted the temptation. He recognized that the purpose of the Mishkan was to bring unity to the Jewish people, not strife and competition. He recognized if they began the inauguration of the Mishkan with competition, there would not be 'achdus' [unity] amongst the Jewish people, there would be dissension. Therefore, he took heroic action and brought exactly the same type of Korban as did Nachshon ben Aminadav, thereby sending a message -- my friends, this is not the time for competition or ones-up-man-ship. His example was followed by the third, fourth, and fifth Nessiyim and so on down the line.
This explains why the Torah, which is so frugal with its words, spends 60 plus pasukim in repetition of that which we already knew. The Torah could have told us in a pasuk or two that they all brought the same offering. Why go through the repetition, over and over again? The Almighty is teaching: "It is so precious and dear to Me that you each brought the same offering and did not play ones-up-man-ship that I will give each Nossi the exact same amount of 'print' in the Torah."
The Chofetz Chaim suggests it could be for this reason -- the Almighty's pleasure at the unity of His children by this non-competitive gesture -- that He made an exception and ruled that 'This private offering can even negate the laws of Sabbath.'
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…
At the end of her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain puts in "A Note on the Dedication" that explains why she selected her grandfather for that honor because he "spoke so eloquently the language of quiet." She doesn't identify him by name but drops a number of hints, like "Brooklyn neighborhood where he served as a rabbi," "as a widower he'd lived alone for decades," "when she spoke the congregation swelled to standing- room-only," and "he died at the age of ninety-four, after sixty-two years at the pulpit."
She also gives a couple of clues to her family by identifying her father as "a dedicated physician" and the size of her family, which included one sister and one brother. So these were what I had to go on to make the connection. Well, actually my husband took over the Google search when he arrived at http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/18/nyregion/rabbi-is…
If I were giving the advice, I''d keep it much simpler: Be a mensch. As Hillel told the prospective convert who wanted to know all of Torah on one foot -- what is hateful to you, don't do to another.(see http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2012/02/all-you-need-is.html) The rest is all commentary. The same holds true in this case. For example, isn't it obvious, if a guy gives you options, that he wants you to respond with what you would prefer?
Anyway here's the list of tips.
Preparing for the Date: If the male has called twice with no response and left a voicemail, then at that point the female should be courteous, and either return the call, or text the male to let them know when they will be available to speak. If th…