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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Shavuos-Related

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Welcome back to “You’re Asking Me?” where we attempt to answer questions sent in by people who fortunately have fake names, so they won’t be embarrassed. I don’t know how they got through school, though.

Dear Mordechai,

My husband has no idea what he’s doing when he’s buying flowers. What do I do about that?

Shoshana Bloom

Dear Shoshana,

Buy them yourself. I don’t know who came up with the idea that flowers are the kind of thing a person can’t buy for themselves. It’s not like pouring wine on Pesach.

I don’t mean to be insensitive here. It’s one thing if it’s your anniversary, or if he’s sorry. Or both. But for Shavuos? It’s flowers! Who cares who buys them?

Guys don’t think in terms of flowers. I once actually bought flowers for my wife on her birthday, which is on Pesach, and I was all proud of myself until she told me that we don’t actually have any Pesach vases. It hadn’t even occurred to me that we’d need a vase. So I had to go out and buy one, even though I’d already bought her something.

The way I see it, buying flowers is like buying fruit. You buy fruit, and if you don’t eat it right away, by the time you remember you have it, it’s gone bad. With flowers, there’s no good time you can eat it. All you do is wait for it to go bad. I’d rather get her a bowl of fruit.

I don’t even know what I’m looking for when I’m buying flowers. The only difference between bouquets, as far as I can see, is the price tag. So I usually buy the cheaper ones. That way I can buy two, and get more flowers for the same price. I feel like if I buy the more expensive one, the only way to make that worth the money is if she knows it’s the more expensive one. It’s not like the more expensive ones do something the cheaper ones don’t. So I have to make it a point to mention to her that it was the more expensive one. That’s classy.

So trust me, even if he buys you flowers and you replace them with an entirely different bouquet that does not look anything like the one he bought you, he won’t notice. He’ll just assume that anything that seems different is something you did when you took them into the kitchen and cut off the bottoms.

I’m not saying guys are insensitive, though. While you’re fretting about flowers, he’s probably out getting you some nice cheese.

Dear Mordechai,

I’m looking for a good dvar Torah to say at the Yom Tov meal. Something Shavuos-related.

Desperate

Dear Desperate,

I hear you. Your wife especially wants you to say a vort at the meal. It’s the least you can do after making her buy her own flowers.

She figures that you had all night, the least you could have done is come up with a dvar Torah. As if: A. you remember anything you learned at 4 in the morning, and B. everything you learn can be broken into neat 2-minute chunks that you can say at the table, out of context, to your wife and kids.

“So is everyone here familiar with Eruvin? Good.”

Not everything can be wrapped into a neat little bow with a question and an answer that takes something you already knew and puts a new spin on it that changes everything.

I don’t have a vort. I just woke up. To the kids saying, “Mommy says that if you don’t get up, she’s making kiddush herself.”

And it’s not like you spent all night saying, “Listen, I need a vort.” You actually spent all night saying, “Listen, I’m a month behind on the daf. It’s now or never.” Because Shavuos night is infinitely long, and you’re infinitely awake for it.

But here’s a news flash: All divrei Torah are Shavuos related. Hope that helps.

Dear Mordechai,

I want to buy more than one type of fancy cheese for Shavuos, but I don’t know how to request it at my store’s cheese counter. What’s the plural of “cheese”? I thought I knew, but the word I have in mind can very easily be misheard as a totally different word that is frankly, highly inappropriate to Shavuos. What do I do?

Still Deciding

Dear Still,

Actually, it’s possible that “cheese” is already plural. No one ever says, “I want a cheese,” they say, “I want some cheese.” So from what I can tell, the singular form of “cheese” is “chee”. Which is actually spelled “qi”, and is a Chinese term meaning “the driving force of any living thing,” which perfectly describes cheese. It’s also a great word for “Words with Friends.”

More likely, though, if you can’t say “one cheese,” you’re not supposed to say “two cheeses” either. Grammatically, it’s probably a non-count noun. So if you want to request it, you’re best off adding words you can pluralize, as in: “I’d like two things of cheese, please… Two bricks… Some curdled… You know what? Just give me all your cheese.”

Or you can just get non-fancy cheese from the fridge display, where you don’t have to ask anybody. That’s what most of us do.

Dear Mordechai,

Is there a good book you can recommend for Shavuos? I’ve already finished the Torah.

J.K.

Dear J.,

Actually, I do. My fourth book is coming out this week. Because I apparently have so much knowledge that it’s just spilling out into books at this point.

The book is called “Cholent Mix,” because it’s basically a whole cholent of articles. And, like cholent, it’s good any day of the week, it makes you feel happy but tired, and it’s probably not so good for you.

The title also lends itself to a great practical joke: Every time your wife tells you to buy cholent mix from the store, buy a copy of my book. I don’t know if she’ll appreciate the joke, but I will. You should probably also buy flowers, though, just in case.

Anyway, the book is out just in time for Shavuos, for all the people who are saying, “I need something to do; my husband is going to be asleep for 3 days.” And for all you men out there, I will say – and I’m sure rabbonim would back me up on this – that reading my book is just like sleeping.

You might need more than one copy, though. So, um, “Don’t forget to pick up cholent mix”, if you catch my drift.

Got a question for “You’re Asking Me?” Send it in. I’ve got all night.

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