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We have very different views on the issue of having guests over for Shabbat meals. One of us feels strongly that Shabbat should be for bonding with our own children after a hectic week, while the other feels just as passionately that we should often have guests over at our home.
We have a terrific marriage, Baruch Hashem, but our strong differing views are a sore point in our relationship.
Tamar and Eitan
Rabbi Horowitz Responds
Tamar and Eitan:
Please accept my congratulations on the quality of your marriage. A home imbued with shalom bayis is, in my opinion, the greatest gift you can give your children. A quality marriage never comes easy, but it is well worth the energy and effort that you invest in the most important relationship in your life.
As for your dilemma regarding Shabbat guests, it is difficult for me to give meaningful guidance without knowing the two of you, the age of your children, and many other variables that will impact on my response. Having said that, permit me to share some questions on this subject. Hopefully, exploring the answers to these questions will help you resolve this matter.
My first question would center on the objections of the spouse who does not wish to have guests over. The stated reason for not wanting company on Shabbat was to “bond with our own children.” But is that the only motive for rejecting company? I would suggest that it is entirely possible that your spouse may just want to be left alone after a long week (essentially to bond with himself/herself – or with you, for that matter). I suspect this is the case, and the “bonding” matter is only part of the picture.
If this is the case, I think that the one who wants company ought to wisely step aside most of the time and allow his/her spouse the quiet time he/she needs. Why did I not suggest that you divide things evenly? Because I think that for some people, “quiet time” is a necessity and not a luxury – a “need” and not a “want.” As such, the one who craves downtime should take preference.
Another question to ask is, “Are the people we are inviting our guests or our family’s guests?” If it is a married couple with children, are their kids close in age to yours, and are the children compatible with each other? Either answer is fine. But be aware that if the guests are yours, in all likelihood the rhythm and talk at your Shabbat table will be of little if any interest to your children. Thus, you should see to it that when you have adult company over, you afford your children the right to be excused from the table when they wish to do so. Failure to do this will quite possibly create resentment on the part of your children, and they will start thinking that guests equal long Shabbat meals where we are stuck at the table with people who talk about things we don’t care about.
Finally, you may want to ask yourselves if you are maintaining the proper balance between the needs of your children/family and the demands of your social obligations. Always keep in mind that your primary responsibility is to provide for the needs (and wants) of your children. Sometimes that responsibility means pulling in the welcome mat and bonding with your spouse and children.
Obviously, if both of you agree that having company over would not negatively impact your children or your quality of life, I would most certainly encourage you to have guests as often as you feel it is appropriate. But this does not seem to be the case in your home setting.
I read your question with interest, as I presented a similar question to my great rebbe, Rav Avrohom Pam, zt”l, about 10 years ago. At about that time, I had just started both Yeshiva Darchei Noam and Project YES, and suddenly there were dramatically increased communal demands on my time. I told my rebbe that I was concerned that I was not spending enough time with my children during the week, and that I thought I ought to discontinue our practice of having guests over for Shabbat. I asked the rebbe if canceling the mitzvah of hachnasas orchim at this stage in my life was in accordance with Torah hashkafah (philosophy). Rav Pam fully supported my decision. He told me that my primary obligation was to the children that Hashem blessed us with, and if I felt they needed my time, it was not only permissible not to have guests over, but was the proper thing to do.
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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Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.
There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.
This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).
While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.
Maybe now that your kids are back in school, you should start cleaning for Pesach.
The interpreter was expected to be a talmid chacham himself and be able to also offer explanations and clarifications to the students.
“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”
“On Sunday I was at the Kotel with the battalion and we said a prayer of thanks. In Gaza there were so many moments of death that I had to thank God that I’m alive. Only then did I realize how frightening it had been there.”
Neglect, indifference or criticism can break a person’s neshama.
It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.
The assumption of a shared kinship is based on being part of the human race. Life is so much easier to figure out when everyone thinks the same way.
Various other learning opportunities will be offered to the community throughout the year.
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/shabbat-guests/2007/10/17/
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