Showing posts from July, 2013

It's not just the best policy (part 2 of 2)

Continued from part 1

I was absolutely amazed by Rabbi Paysach Krohn's approach because I always feel out of sync with the rest of the world in my belief that you should only say what you mean and avoid lies, especially to children. Though it was more than 20 years ago, I vividly recall hearing a man get up to say a speech in honor of his elderly mother on her birthday. He recounted that one time she was going out with his father, and he was upset about her leaving. To quiet him, she said she would buy him a special toy (he said it was the equivalent of an Erector set). She didn't buy it, though, admitting that she only said that to get him to behave the way she wanted. I was doubly  appalled: One, at the fact that she lied to her son in that way, and two that he publicly recounted this story as if it reflected well on her. Though I was years away from being a mother at the time, I thought that 's really not the most vivid memory I'd like my kid to have about me. But h…

It's not just the best policy part 1 (of 2)

According to the shiur I heard from Rabbi Paysach Krohn on Tisha B'Av, honesty is essential. Toward the end, he mentioned the pasuk everyone quotes for avoiding lashon hara with a reminder of what the last part of it says. "Netzor leshoncha mera usfathecah midaber mirma" It's not just a matter of avoiding evil speech but of avoiding twisted speech, that is prevarication.

He mentioned that the three letters of Emes in Hebrew, aleph, mem, and taf are stretched all over the alphabet because you have to really look around for truth. In contrast, the three letters for lies -- shin, kuf, and reish are all together because lies crop up all the time.

Rabbi Krohn included setting appointments that you don't intend to keep on time under the dishonest category. Saying directly that this is important for all doctors, he said, it is dishonest to double (and triple, quadruple) book appointments because, then the time you tell your patients to come is a lie. He pointed out that…

The younger, the better?

I've addressed so-called solutions to the shidduch crisis, that include bribing people to match younger men with older girls,  in the past Orthnonomics also address it:
Chaim Yudkowsky point out in In Response to the Proposal Encouraging Our Young Men to Marry Very Young, it's not all positive.
I have suggested that instead of pushing for younger bachurim, they should not  push girls of 19 into shidduchim at all. That's not to say that that no one should marry young, but as ► Myth: Marrying young is a good thing, say age 19 or 20. ► Truth: Marrying young is great in the short-term, and gives parents a sense that they have “made it.” However, no couple that age can be financiall…

On Paragons

I recently heard a speaker give an inspirational talk about doing better, aspiring higher, etc. She referred to someone in her life who had great difficulties and suffered more than most people, yet she declared, that was always smiling and never complained.  My rebellious internal  response, was that sounds most admirable but beyond human capacity. We even see that such paragons as Moshe, as well as the avos and immahos  had their moments when they were, shall we say, not smiling.

(It's possible that this person was careful never to show a feeling of misery around others, as in the story of a rabbi who said he suppressed his crying when his mother was around and only let himself go -- as a baby yet -- when she would not hear).

We see multiple instances of great people having difficulties and not remaining calm. There were points at which Moshe lost patience with the complaints and rebellions of the people he had to lead.  Rachel had an altercation with Yaakov, who responded fairl…

True bridal beauty

This is not the time when we think of weddings, but one of the points here was recounted in this morning's shiur by Rabbi Frand, and the theme was the 9 Days, so do bear with me. .

The traditional praise sung for a bride is "kallah na'ah vechasudah" [the bride is pleasant in appearance and kind] (rather like the fairy-tale descriptions that say "she was as good as she was beautiful"). Certainly, brides aspire to look their best for their wedding day. Some even demand that the women around them only wear certain colors to set them off in what they consider a flattering setting. But the Jewish ideal of beauty is not that of a self-absorbed bridezilla (a word Rabbi Frand brought up in his talk).

Rabbi Frand recounted a story that a rabbi from Dallas told him. The source of the story was a pediatrician who worked in a hospital emergency room in Israel. She said that one day a bride came in in full bridal regalia --the gown, veil, etc. She asked why she had come…

My lifetime of dressing modestly

Obviously, my title is a twist on Lauren Shields' "My year of modesty"  (it should be 9 months of modesty, if the title were precise) In some ways, here project parallels that of Pheobe Baker Hyde, who was also featured in Salon for her year without makeup. Both seem to have inspired by some protest against the beauty industry. Shields makes that clear in this paragraph:
Why, if beauty didn’t matter to me, did I have more than $600 worth of makeup in my closet (and I never left the house without at least some of it on) and more shoes than any sane individual needs? Why was I convinced that if I didn’t look “sexy” or at least attractive no one would listen to what I had to say?
In eschewing  a lot of makeup and hair products, I'm not exactly motivated by a protesting an industry that suggests that women have to shell out a fortune in order to feel confident about themselves. However, I can appreciate that point. As for me, it's really more a combination of not feel…