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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Caught in the Dark


This month, we have some questions from readers who read last month’s column, wherein I asked all the questions, and decided they didn’t want to go through that again.

 

Dear Mordechai,

What do I do about saying Kiddush Levana in the dark? I can never see the siddur.

New Moon, Twilight

Dear New,

I don’t know; say it during the day.

Actually, there is no good answer. Kiddush Levana is traditionally said on Motzaei Shabbos outside a shul that has the worst outdoor lighting ever. Also, traditionally, when you’re looking at the moon, the shul is never behind you so you have the light coming over your shoulder; it’s always in a place where you have to back away from the shul and kind of see it peeking over the roof, through a cloud. So unless the shul’s neighbors have some good lighting, you end up holding the siddur tilted away from you, upside down, and leaning in from behind it, until some fat guy comes and confidently parks himself so that you’re squinting in his shadow.

“Hello?” you say.Schmutter-061314-Men

Aleichem Shalom,” he says.

So my advice is to say it outside.

That’s the problem. It’s dark outside.

No, I mean outside of a siddur.

I actually learned to say it by heart, because otherwise I miss the Kiddush Levana window. We can’t say it for the first 3-7 days of the month, and we can’t say it after the 14th. And if it’s one of those months like Tishrei, where no one says it until after Yom Kippur, then your window starts on the eleventh, and that’s during a week when everyone has their sukkahs up, and sukkahs attract storm clouds.

And if you for some reason don’t say it on whatever Motzaei Shabbos falls during that window, you’re going to forget, because no minyan you daven at for the rest of the week is going to say it. Also, every time you go out of town for Shabbos, it’s cloudy where you are, and meanwhile everyone in every shul in your hometown said Kiddush Levana and no one talks about it anymore.

Also, for a while, I lived in an apartment, so I’d have to notice the moon, remember that I had to say Kiddush Levana, go inside for a siddur, climb the stairs, get into the apartment, and then forget why I came inside.

(This was in the days before backlit smart phones.)

So one time I decided to see if I knew the whole Kiddush Levana by heart. And I did! As far as I know. I have no way to know if I’m making mistakes.

So you should definitely learn it by heart. Though I don’t know if this will help with your lighting problem. Knowing it by heart helps if you’re saying it alone, but when you’re saying it with others, people keep interrupting your flow to tell you “Sholom Aleichem.”

Sholom Aleichem.”

“WHAT!”

Talk about lousy first impressions.

One benefit of saying it by heart, though, is that no one will give you his siddur to bring back into the shul. And that’s great, because once one person gives you a siddur, the whole rest of the shul does.

Another option is to sponsor large-print Kiddush Levana cards. Those are reflective, easy to see, and easy to carry if you need to shlep 500 of them back into the shul. They’re even laminated, for people who say Kiddush Levana in the rain.

 

Dear Mordechai,

What should I give my father for Father’s Day? I just realized it’s this Sunday.

Erev Yom Tov Shopper, Card Section
 

Schmutter-061314-ToolsDear Erev,

Honestly? If you and your siblings all get together and decide not to mention that it’s Father’s Day, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll forget. Just sneak around and don’t even talk to him, which will be fine with him, because probably what he wants for Father’s Day is to be left alone. Or a tie. He can definitely use another tie, because ties are something that wear out, as opposed to him still having every single tie he’s ever worn since the one he wore to his bar mitzvah, which currently goes up to his belly button.

Okay, so not everyone gets their father a tie. You might go with, say, a cordless drill, and your father is going to spend the rest of the day walking around the house looking for things that need cordless drilling, and that’s great. But Father’s Day comes every year. How many drills can you get him?

Two, tops. One for Pesach.

Or maybe you can get him something he’s actually into. What’s he into? Do you even know?

So you get him something from the standard list.

THE STANDARD LIST:

–A gift that says, “Dad, you have too much ear hair. We’ve all been talking about it. You probably didn’t hear us.”

–A barbecue set, because he forgot to clean the one from last year, and he’s secretly hoping someone gets him a new set so he can throw the old one away.

–A tie hanger for all those ties you keep getting him.

–Random things that say “World’s Best Dad,” like you’ve sampled all the dads, and you know.   Honestly, what dad is saying, “I’m looking for something where you press a button and it sings”?

This is why dads don’t want anything. The last thing he wants is for you to rub in the fact that you don’t know him.Schmutter-061314-Ties

Plus, he knows the whole day is a scam. We all know that Mother’s Day was created by the flower companies because it’s the spring and they suddenly have a surplus of flowers and no one is buying them, besides – you know – the Jews. But Father’s Day wasn’t even that. The flower companies know they’re not making a ton of money off Fathers’ Day. They just created it so mothers wouldn’t feel bad making a big deal about Mother’s Day, and so kids can use their Fathers’ money to buy their father things he doesn’t want that he then has to pretend to like and then use to make the kids feel good.

It’s not even like we’re celebrating an anniversary of something. It’s a Sunday. It’s a day for fathers, and they don’t even get to take off work. Also, shouldn’t it be the same day as Mother’s Day? When you were born, you met both parents on the same day, one would think.

Actually, I think Father’s Day should be the Sunday before Mother’s Day, to remind fathers that Mother’s Day is coming up. Maybe that should be our gift.

Though technically, our family doesn’t really celebrate it, I don’t think. My wife told me we don’t celebrate Mother’s Day, although to this day I don’t know if that was a trap.

But I do know this: Your father probably wants you to be there when he needs you – not just to tie up his one day off from work. He doesn’t want to have to summon you from across the house 500 times every day, and then the one day that he has everyone around him, you’re underfoot too. Be there for him all the time.

For example, right now he needs someone to carry in a bunch of Kiddush Levana cards.

 

Have a question for “You’re asking Me?” Send it in. Or hand it to someone who’s coming in anyway.

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2 Responses to “Caught in the Dark”

  1. I seem cool on paper… but in real life I’m very annoying

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