web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



A New Al Chayt

Al-Chayt-010612

Share Button

Master of the Universe, I am filled with remorse and compunction. My head is bowed in shame, my hands tremble, and my heart overflows with trepidation as I approach you with my abject confession of guilt. As I consider the nature of my heinous offense, self-loathing surges throughout my being, my pitiful human vessel barely able to contain the turbulent roiling of my besmirched soul. I engage in endless rounds of self-flagellation and castigate myself mercilessly in a desperate attempt to uproot the evil within me, but surcease eludes me. How could I have caused my sweet, good and innocent son such needless suffering? Do not smite him, O Lord; smite me instead, because it is I who has sinned, not he. Why should he suffer the consequences of my own hand? Dear G-d, I beseech you…. please. Please, please forgive my unpardonable crime of using plastic tablecloths on Shabbos instead of the more righteous way…sending my fancy tablecloths to the cleaners each week for a mere $50.00 so I will be deemed elegant by the powers that be.

I did not know, dear Lord, that–with what I hoped was thrift and economy as prescribed and praised in the Eishet Chayil paean– I would be torpedoing my son’s chances of a good shidduch. My son is a gem, Hashem, a brilliant full-time learner who has somehow managed to squeeze in two Masters Degrees at night and volunteer work with Chai Lifeline and Tomchei Shabbos, but these accomplishments, it appears, are minor when compared to my glaring lack of elegance. How can I even bear to go on living, O’ dear Lord, when I am besieged daily by the painful knowledge that I’ve ruined my son’s shidduch possibilities because my priorities as a mother were wrong. How could I have been so naive, so clueless? I truly believed that what mattered most was laboring hard to inculcate within my son an inspiring array of great middos, wonderful values and ideals, and sincere frumkeit; helping to develop and nurture within him curiosity about the world, a calm temperament and good-natured manner, exceptional intelligence and a charming personality. How could I have emphasized the tofel to such an extent and degree? What was wrong with me? Why didn’t my friends, relatives and neighbors caution me as they watched my missteps, intervene to impede my destructive, ways, steer me towards a different…and better direction? Why didn’t they disabuse me of my ill-conceived perspectives and lecture me on the realities of life…and shidduchim. Why didn’t they just tell me straight out that in our world surface trumps substance, and that what really counts in life is the surface of your Shabbos table. Could they not have taken me aside and explained that ultimately plastic kills, and that what’s really consequential in life is whether the mother scrapes or stacks?

How could I have failed to glean the genuine essence of life, O Lord? I thought I was following the path of the pious in teaching my son to be kind, courteous and loving to everyone he met; to stand up for the elderly and pregnant women on the bus, to carry the groceries of overburdened neighbors when he met them on the street, to offer rides to strangers pummeled by the rain. I thought his learning, his frumkeit, his refinement, his tenacity and hard work would stand him in good stead, make him an excellent shidduch prospect. I imagined that in the eyes of the world he would be admired, viewed as a gem and great catch. How can I atone for my sin, Master of the Universe? Unwittingly, I have tarnished my son’s value because of my own errant ways. I promise you I was unaware that I was violating the most cardinal rule in the shidduch world: “Under all circumstances, thou shalt always be elegant.”

I confess: I thought sending a fancy tablecloth to the cleaners every single week was akin to being a profligate, recklessly extravagant and unnecessary. I never realized that an almost imperceptible overlay of thin plastic could have such far-reaching and dire consequences. I was able to host the masses of unexpected guests my husband typically brought home from shul with a certain degree of sangfroid, because I didn’t have to fuss over worries that the tablecloth would get stained or the lavish china would chip (sin #2, after a while, I began to retire the china in lieu of fancy paper plates). With material concerns absent, I was able to field some pretty chaotic scenes with unusual calm and peace. Instead of worrying about the state of my house, I was able to focus on the state of my guests instead. Hashem, sincerely, I thought that was a good thing, truly I did. Wasn’t it more important to be attentive to my guests’ emotional needs than to have to peer anxiously each time they raised a glass to their lips? How could I have ever dreamed that my son would be punished for my sins of omission, and be rendered less estimable, because his mother doesn’t like washing dishes?

Before my son entered shidduchim, I used to hear other people speak about the questions typically posed to “references,” and I absolutely refused to believe that these were true. I was sure that everyone was trading in gross exaggerations. But now that he’s in the parsha, my friends and acquaintances who are often called to vouch for my son (the intelligence gathering is unrivaled by the CIA, Mossad and FBI combined) tell me that my cavalier use of plastic tablecloths has dealt my precious jewel of a son a blow of serious proportions.

How can I expiate such an unforgivable sin, Hashem? This is what I’ve resolved: This year bli neder, I am going to enroll in a food decorating class so I can learn how to transform radishes into roses, study online with Martha Stewart so I can figure out the finer differences between stacking and scraping (which still has me scratching my head in confusion), hire a cleaning lady to wash my china, crystal and silver (newly retrieved from the china closet), and purchase a tablecloth store so I will be able to access an ongoing stream of brand-new tablecloths each and every week, and never need to use plastic again.

In the merit of all these zechusim, may I please see favor in your eyes Hashem (and in the eyes of all the shadchanim and the myriad mothers who inquire about my housekeeping habits…. oops, I mean my son) and may he be blessed to find his richtige zivug this year – somebody who has her priorities on straight and understands what really counts in life.

PS Unfortunately, I can’t use my real name, because…. it isn’t good for shidduchim!

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “A New Al Chayt”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Blue Valley High School, Overland Park, Kansas, the school attended by 14-year-old shooting victim Reat Griffin Underwood.
Kansas Shooting Suspect a White Supremacist, Indicted for Murder
Latest Sections Stories
Tali Hill, a beneficiary of the Max Factor Family Foundation.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Yeshiva Day School of Las Vegas’s deans, Rabbi Moshe Katz and Rabbi Zev Goldman, present award to Educator of the Year, Rabbi Michoel Paris.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

Your husband seems to have experienced what we have described as the Ambivalent Attachment.

The goal of the crusade is to demonize and hurt Israel.

The JUMP program at Hebrew Academy was generously sponsored by Evelyn and Dr. Shmuel Katz.

More Articles from Nechama Baron
Al-Chayt-010612

Master of the Universe, I am filled with remorse and compunction. My head is bowed in shame, my hands tremble, and my heart overflows with trepidation as I approach you with my abject confession of guilt.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/a-new-al-chayt/2012/01/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: