As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
One of the techniques I have found most helpful when mediating disputes between rebellious adolescents and their parents is to give the teenager six or eight index cards, and ask him or her to jot down a request or concession that he or she would like his parents to grant. Then I ask the teen to stack the index cards in priority order, with the most important request on top. Finally I have him assign a value from 1-10 for each of the requests, with 10 denoting something that he would consider of paramount significance and 1 representing a matter that is not terribly important. I then hand a similar number of index cards to the adolescent’s parents and ask them to do the same.
While this exercise is certainly not a miraculous cure for friction between teens and their parents, it is often helpful in establishing healthy dialogue and effective problem solving in a strained relationship.
With this in mind, I wish that someone would gather Israel’s Orthodox Knesset members (who purportedly represent their observant constituents in Eretz Yisrael) and ask them to assign a value from 1-10 regarding the importance of moving the clocks from Daylight Savings Time weeks before the rest of the civilized world.
For those who live in the Diaspora and may not be familiar with the yearly tempest in a teapot, here is some background: Most countries in the Western world move their clocks back from Daylight Savings Time around the end of October. However, a number of years ago, religious Knesset members in Israel introduced legislation to implement the clock change a week or so before Yom Kippur in an effort to “shorten” the fast day for Israelis.
Not surprisingly, this issue provokes resentment among non-observant Israelis year after year, as they complain about losing an hour of afternoon sunlight during the beautiful fall season. This is compounded by the fact that due to Israel’s brutal summertime heat, some of the nicest weather days are in the fall. These days are now shortened by the clock change, with people around the country returning from their offices after dark during part of September and all of October.
So I ask our Orthodox Knesset members the following question: Is this matter really a 10 on a scale of 1-10? Is it even a five? Don’t we have more pressing matters on our communal agenda than this one? Why are we adding yet another point of contention in our already strained relations with our secular brothers and sisters?
There are certainly other solutions to this “problem” that do not require wholesale changes that affect the entire country for weeks on end. We could change the clocks in our shuls and homes if we wish to do so for the day of Yom Kippur – just as sleep-away camps in the United States do during the summer months. This is done in order to operate on Eastern Standard Time, which allows for night activities after dark and for the children to go to bed earlier. We could start prayers an hour later on Yom Kippur, or we could simply not change anything and “deal with it” – as the kids say. My wife and I were vacationing in the Canadian Rockies this past summer, and we fasted on Shiv’ah Asar B’Tammuz until nightfall, which was at 11:15 p.m. So again I ask: Why are we needlessly provoking enmity over this non-issue?
What concerns me most is that this issue of the clock change is indicative of the “everything-is-a-10 mindset” that some (or many) in our community maintain. Certain issues are indeed a 10, and we rely on the da’as Torah of our gedolim to guide us as to which issues fall into that category. But in all other nonessential matters, we should practice the concept of darchei noam (paths of pleasantness), and be sensitive to the wants and needs of others outside our community. Keep in mind that no one was ever brought closer to Hashem by force.
Even if we don’t practice tolerance for its own sake, we ought to do so strictly for pragmatic reasons. I have no doubt that sooner or later (probably sooner) there will be a colossal pushback from secular Israelis who are resentful at their growing perception that observant Jews are not only appropriately lobbying for the right to practice religion as they wish, but are imposing their will on the broader community.
We went through this a few short years ago when Tommy Lapid and his Shinui party garnered 15 Knesset seats by tapping into anti-haredi feelings. At that time, there were terribly painful cuts made in yeshiva and family subsidy support, some of which still has not been reversed. But just because Lapid bungled his mandate and slid off the political radar, the feelings of those who voted for him did not diminish over the course of time.
We would be well served to maintain our perspective on non-urgent communal issues, and start acting as if we do not have a limitless number of cards in our deck to needlessly squander.
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and menahel of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and the founder and director of Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S.
To purchase Rabbi Horowitz’s Dvar Torah Sefer, “Growing With the Parsha” or his popular parenting tapes and CD’s – including his 2-CD set on “Raising your Adolescent Children” – please visit www.rabbihorowitz.com, email email@example.com, or call 845-352-7100 x 133.
About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.
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‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.
One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.
The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.
Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.
The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…
The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.
It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.
Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.
I’m here to sit next to you and help you through this Purim with three almost-too-easy mishloach manot ideas, all made with cost-conscious paper bags.
Kids want to be like their friends, and they want to give and get “normal” mishloach manos stocked with store-bought treats.
Whenever he did anything loving for me, I made a big deal about it.
“OMG, it’s so cute, you’re so cute, everything is so cute.”
Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.
These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.
All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.
A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”
Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”
One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz:
We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/is-everything-a-10/2007/10/24/
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