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The merit of constancy _ Beha'halothcha

The Parsha of Beha'halothcha gets its name from the second verse (in the eighth chapter) בדַּבֵּר אֶל אַהֲרֹן וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ אֶת הַנֵּרֹת אֶל מוּל פְּנֵי הַמְּנוֹרָה יָאִירוּ שִׁבְעַת הַנֵּרוֹת
Rashi explains it this way: 
When you light: Why is the portion dealing with the menorah juxtaposed to the portion dealing with the chieftains? For when Aaron saw the dedication [offerings] of the chieftains, he felt distressed over not joining them in this dedication-neither he nor his tribe. So God said to him, “By your life, yours is greater than theirs, for you will light and prepare the lamps.” - [Tanchuma Beha’alothecha 3]בהעלתך: למה נסמכה פרשת המנורה לפרשת הנשיאים, לפי שכשראה אהרן חנוכת הנשיאים חלשה דעתו, שלא היה עמהם בחנוכה, לא הוא ולא שבטו, אמר לו הקב"ה חייך, שלך גדולה משלהם, 
My grandfather quotes that explanation and asks what was particulalry consolation about the menorah service.  What makes lighting the menorah greater than the offering of the Nesi'im?…

Shopping for the dress

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There are exclusive designer salons offering true couture customization and discount bridal warehouses that offer dresses off the rack, as well as many places in between. Determine where to go based on your budget and your preference of style.
There is no point in going to a salon that starts in the thousands when you have only afford hundreds. You will just be wasting n time and raising false hopes. S


Many bridal salons require you to make an appointment to meet with your "bridal consultant" who is supposed to provide you with personal attention and to make certain you do not merely browse. It is advisable not to make this a solo trip. Bring along your mother if she’s picking up the tab for the dress, as she would want to approve what she pays for. If you are choosing the dress without parental guidance, then you can take a friend with good taste and enough honesty to tell you that “yes, that dress does make your hips look wide” when you ask her. As too many…

How to avoid the wedding dress premium

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Today the Washington Post ran a Wonkblog entitled "Don’t buy a ‘wedding dress’ for your wedding" that warns about the markup anything labeled wedding, including dresses incurs. This is now borne out by analysis: Edited studied thousands of e-commerce listings for white wedding dresses across mass-market retailers such as J. Crew, Nordstrom, H&M and Asos and compared the pricing of those items to the pricing of dresses that were comparable in design but not described as bridal gowns in any related text or keywords. The analysis found that, on average, retailers were charging 3.9 times as much for the wedding dresses.  And it's not just the bride that can end up shelling out big bucks for wedding day attire: Researchers found that frocks marked as bridesmaid dresses were 1.8 times more expensive than like items that were not labeled bridesmaid dresses.
Years ago I wrote about the fact that the same exact gown sometimes costs more in white than it does in other colors …

A lesson from the repetition in Naso

My grandfather's sefer didn't have anything on Parshas Naso. But I did find something on the parsha that is very much worth sharing: Rabbi Frand's take on why all the leader offerings were identical. See http://torah.org/torah-portion/ravfrand-5758-naso/ Rabbi Frand offers an analogy of a string of bar mitzvahs in which each one has to change the menu, which leads to escalation. The same can be said for sheva brachos or even a string of weddings for which each hostess wants her colors, decor, and menu to be at least as good as the one before-- if not better. That leads to inevitable upmanship.
Rabbi Frand then returns to the thinking of the second Nasi: The Medrash says that this is what went through the mind of Nesanel ben Tzuar: If I try to do different than the Tribe of Yehudah, if I try to ‘one-up’ Nachshon ben Aminadav, then the Nasi after me and the Nasi after him will face a spiral of escalating sacrifices, escalating costs, until day 12. Imagine what the Nasi will …

Number association

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One of my relatives liked to use this trick to get wedding guests to come on time: she'd put down odd times on the inviation. Instead of saying, say, "Chuppah at seven," she would write a time l
ike 7:12. She explained that if you put down a round number, people assume it's approximate, so you can come 20 minutes later without a problem. The odd numbers stick out in their minds, though, and then some come to see will it actually happen at exactly twelve minutes past the hour.

In our minds certain times are round times, on the hour, on the half hour, and even on the quarter hour. But we don't consider a time ending in 12 to be a time to set an event. That's why it comes across as very specific.

In TaNaCh we see that kind of use of numbers, as well. I've been meaning to address the subject ever since I came across the absolutely wrong assertion that  Joel M. Hoffman makes in And God Said (pp. 87-88). Falling into the logical fallacy of begging the question,…

The Persistence of a Positive Influence

On Bamidbar
 Rashi comments about the encampments of Yehuda, Yissachar, and Zevulan about which it is said, "tov latzadik, tov leshcheno"  for they were the enighbors of Moshe who was involved in Torah, and, consequently, they became great in Torah. He goes on to quote phrases that associte these tribes with Torah accomplishments.

My grandfather points out that the verses Rashi cites refer to the tribes later, in the years when they were settled in the land of Israel. Their proximity to Moshe was, obviously, only during the generation of the desert. Yet the influence extended all those generations!  He suggests that perhaps the impression set during the formation of the nation was particularly stron that it would remain even in the generations that follow.

Related: http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2015/10/dvar-yehudah-parsha-points-from-my.html

The anti-hero and heroine in the Book of Ruth

One of the traditions of the holiday of Shavuoth  is reading Megillath Ruth.  The story of this most famous of converts to Judaism encompasses both the themes of accepting the Torah and the origins of the Davidic monarchy. Shavuoth is identified as the birthday of David the first king in that line.  I wanted to share some further observations on the lessons inherent in the story.  Let's look at the characters who provide foils for our hero and heroine.

Boaz is the one who does the right thing despite it appearing to be a bad business bargain.  The contrast to his heroism is seen in the backtracking of the closer relative, identified as Ploni Almoni, which is the equivalent olf John Doe, to not embarrass him by name or because his actual name was Tov, which means good, something he did not live up to.  See further details at kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2008/06/taking-spiritual-advantage-rather-than.html

The contrast to Ruth, is her sister-in-law, Orpah.  In the text, she doesn'…

Bechukothay Telechu

On the words Im bechukothay telechu (26:3), Rashi cites the view of Toras Kohanim  saying that this is not just about keeping the mitzvos, which are already coved by the word "ve's mitzvothay ta'asu" Rather it refers to being ameliym batorah toiling in Torah study.

My grandfather points out that the word  telechu [you will go/walk] connotes progression, that it's not sufficient for a perosn to do the mitzvah out of habit but to use keeping the mitzvos and the chukim of the Torah  as a means of ahieving an elevation of the soul and a a greater inclination to the spirutal -- on top of that which one has already accepted.  And that is not possible without toiling in Torah.

So why is this term used instead of directly saying "toil in Torah study?" My grandafather says because that is the true goal of toiling in Torah study -- to be telechu, that is advancing spiritually.

Related post: http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2015/10/dvar-yehudah-parsha-points-fro…