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August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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Dear Rachel,

At this most hectic time of year with Pesach quickly approaching, I couldn’t put off writing to say thank you. A few weeks ago, around Purim time, I was feeling very down due to having messed up. Let’s just say my boo-boo was an oversight that could have resulted in serious repercussions had it not been discovered in the nick of time.

With a heavy heart I made my regular morning stop the following day at a local newsstand to pick up a copy of The Jewish Press, as I do weekly on my way to work. Seated on the train, I leafed through the pages without paying much attention to their content. I finally settled on reading the Chronicles column, figuring it would immerse me in someone else’s tzoros and take my mind off my own. The column was titled “Lessons in Humility” (Chronicles, March 14) and amazingly spoke to me as though it had been written with me in mind.

I owe both you and Rachel Weiss (the writer of the first letter) a debt of gratitude for putting things in perspective for me. By the time I got off the train, I felt as though a burden had been lifted from my heart. Since I had already owned up to my blunder, I was now able to heed your advice and “move on” with my day and my life.

Gratefully yours… Dear Gratefully,

Nothing is as satisfying as knowing that someone out there was genuinely helped by this column, so thank you for taking the time to share.

 

Dear Rachel,

Re “Pesach Jitters” (Chronicles, March 28), I really empathize with the man whose wife gets obsessive about cleaning for Pesach. I’m a woman whose husband has much in common with that wife. My husband, for instance, insists on taking our fridge apart in pieces and soaking them in a tub of hot soapy water.

He will also not sell foods that are not actually chometz but gives them away (to non-Jews) or tosses them in the trash.

He won’t touch any of the Kosher for Pesach processed foods available on grocery shelves, regardless of their hechsher, so you can just imagine what wonderful cakes I turn out in my Pesach kitchen when my cabinets are devoid of cocoa, vanilla, or even potato starch. (He is not averse to my using potato starch, provided I manufacture my own.)

I can go on and on, but you get the picture. Reminds me of an old Yiddish saying: “Mehn ken nisht lehrnen an alta behr tantzen” – one cannot teach an old bear to dance. We’ve been married for almost half a century and I guess you can say I’ve gotten used to his ways. All the tumult and needless pre-Pesach tension as a result of my husband’s meshugassen got to me once upon a time, but I learned long ago that it doesn’t pay to get aggravated.

To his credit, he never hesitates to roll up his sleeves. So while our kitchen floor is cluttered with refrigerator parts, I stay out of his way (for my sanity’s sake) and busy myself elsewhere in our home (as I’m doing now) till he’s done.

In your response to the harried husband, you mentioned something about adult children acting in an opposite manner to that of their parents. I couldn’t agree more, and our married children are proof. They make a concerted effort year in and year out not to go crazy with chumros (going above and beyond halacha) in their own homes, determined to maintain a peaceful and calm environment, both before and during Pesach.

            Wiser in my old age  

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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