Yes, beauty plays a role in courtship. But when we allow it to rule, then we – not beauty – become our daughters’ tyrants. We are fearful our daughters will remain single for too long, and so we grasp at straws – thin, brittle, unstable straws. But “extreme makeovers” and intensifying their already ample body-image anxieties are not the answer.
Dear Dr. Respler: I am, Baruch Hashem, a healthy mother and grandmother who was recently trying to be helpful to my married daughter. After Shabbos my daughter, who has a large family, had many dishes piled in the sink. I planned on rinsing the dishes and placing them in the dishwasher, and then straightening up downstairs while she put her younger children to sleep. Aware of my plans my daughter, who loves me and means well, said, “Ma, please don’t work so hard. I will put the children to sleep, and then I can clean up and load the dishwasher quickly. I will do it quicker than you, and I want you to relax.” I was hurt. I know that she really wanted me to take it easy, but suddenly I felt like an old, useless woman. Do you think my daughter was right? How can I tell her how I feel without hurting her? My husband and I are planning to move in with my daughter, son-in-law and their children for Pesach. We always enjoy going there, but I do not feel good when I cannot be useful. I would like to help my daughter over Pesach, and would feel better if she allowed me to help her. Please advise me. A Healthy Grandmother
Dear Gary, As Pesach approaches, I get worried because I want to have a great Yom Tov, and yet, every year, the seder ends in some sort of fighting and arguing. My husband wants the seder to be all about divrei Torah and so do I, but between the younger children (who we want to be awake for the whole seder) and guests, we somehow end up in stern looks and squabbles. I'm happy we have guests or else we'd probably start yelling at each other and even Eliyahu Hanavi would bail. I know everyone jokes about how tough Pesach is, but I can't see the humor anymore – and neither can my children. What can we do to manage a calm (I don't even wish for happy) seder? A Sad Mom
In our March 16 issue we featured The Tyranny of Beauty: A Plea to Mothers Of Girls In Shidduchim, in which the author described a “Meet and Greet” for young women in a certain age and mindset (looking for young men who are sitting and learning) and mothers of the young men they could potentially date. The article received a tremendous amount of comments on our website and via e-mail. Below are some of the responses.
Is this what three thousand and three hundred years of Jewish tradition has come to, that a nation that has always dared to walk alone, with different ideals and values from the wider culture, should so fully capitulate to the most corrupt, misogynistic values, that we would advocate that our young women have plastic surgery in order to get married?
Don't worry, Yitta, I'm not going to crucify you, as you feared. I actually agreed with the gist of your article, which was obviously heartfelt and well-intended. I just want to point out where you crossed a line...
Dear Dr. Respler: I recently lost my husband of 51 years, and I am very depressed. He was a true talmid chacham and a loving husband. Every morning when he was well, he went to shul early. He never missed a minyan and he learned every day. All his life he ran a business and, baruch Hashem, he worked hard and took excellent care of our children and me. I look at my grandsons and my grandsons-in-law and they don’t hold a candle to my husband. Even the children who learn in kollel are not as careful as my husband was about being on time for minyan. Everyone seems too busy for me, and I feel very lonely.
In the first part of this article (Family Issues 3-2-2012) I shared the many memories resulting from my year of avaylus (mourning) for my mother. This week I would like to connect those memories to a better understanding of how good could potentially come from bad happenings in an effort to improve relationships.
I know I’m going to be crucified, but if the appeal I make below helps even one girl in shidduchim, then it will be worth all the fury and outrage that shall inevitably descend upon my soon-to-be beleaguered head.
It was Yehudah’s third birthday party. Instead of calmly interacting with his guests, he either ignored them or bossed them around with his limited vocabulary of ten words. He ran around nonstop and elbowed every person in his path. Then, his mother, Shoshana, decided he needed some time to himself so she asked him to play quietly in the den for a few minutes.
Dear Dr. Yael: I read the March 2 letter from A Lonely Wife who feels unappreciated and neglected as she seeks more attention from her...
What's more important - love or money? Let's hear what a 90-year-old woman sitting in front of two elevators in a nursing home had to say. I asked her, "If both elevator doors opened at the same time, and out of one came the richest man in the world, and out of the other came the nicest man in the world, who would you want to marry?" She thought about it for a good while and then answered, "Both of them."
Dear Dr. Respler: I enjoyed your recent column concerning the jealousy a girl had toward her newborn brother.
For most physicians specializing in the treatment of infertility, the subject of sexuality - and especially the "how to’s" of sex - are rarely a subject of concern.
In her ninety-eighth year my mother beat pneumonia twice. She always said that she would know when her time was up – and she did. People would ask her what she attributed her many years to. Though she was not raised in a religious home, she would always say that Hashem knew what He was doing. We learn in the Torah when one honors parents the reward is a long life. She was certainly proof of this.
More Commentary On Bais Yaakov’s High School Education