web analytics
October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



You’re On Your Own

Schmutter-011014

This week we deal with questions from people who, one way or another, are on their own.  And as usual, we don’t really help them.

 

Dear Mordechai,

I’m making a bris for my son, who has no name yet.  Do I have to give a speech or anything?

Aral Sifasayim

Dear Aral,

Probably.  In general, people expect you to speak at a bris, although they’d prefer you start after they leave.  You can actually get away with not speaking at all if you postpone it long enough, unless it’s a weekend bris.  Then people will just hang around.

And in fact, you allow for people to leave early.  Brissim are the only simchos where you actually leave a box of pre-cut silver foil near the food so people can wrap things up as they run.  “I don’t care if you eat at my simcha,” is your basic message.  “I just don’t want leftovers.”  Though this is a relatively new thing.  For years, people were sneaking out of brissim with a bagel wrapped in a blue napkin.

There’s no other simcha where this is a normal thing to do.  Even at weddings, where people have to get home to their kids, they never have the option of wrapping up their main dish before the chosson and kallah come out.  If you want your chicken cutlet, you have to dance for it.

But what are you going to do?  People need to leave.  They only put in a quick appearance at the bris so that in twenty years from now, at this kid’s l’chaim, they can come over to him, in front of the kallah, and say, “I was at your bris.”  That’s not awkward.  There’s no good response to that.  The conversation just ends, with the three of you standing there.

But the people who are sticking around expect you to speak.  Although that’s kind of unfair, considering you had 8 days to prepare for this thing on no sleep with a brand new baby in the house, and most of that time was spent either having humorous kitchen incidents while your wife was in the hospital, or trying to hammer out a name.  So most speeches are about the politics of why you picked that particular name.  Though you don’t really go into the politics.  You go into the positive qualities of the person you named the boy after, so that it’s really more of a hesped.

Like if you gave your child two names – that of your grandfather and your wife’s grandfather – you’re going to say that the reason you did this was that each of them had great qualities, rather than that you spent an entire week arguing about which one to name it after, each of you expressing real concern over what your respective mothers would say if you used the other name, and you had a deadline, so you decided to go with both, and hoped you wouldn’t run out of names before your last kid.

But you might as well speak about the name, because it’s all you’ve been thinking about for eight days, and everyone wants to know, “Why that name, of all the names out there?”  Unless you have a lot of boys.

Of course, aside from your relatives, who already know why you picked the name, everyone else is just trying to make conversation.  Do you know why everyone you know has the name they have?  Nobody’s actually cares anymore once they leave the bris.  I’ve met thousands of people in my life, and I’ve never said to myself, “Where does this guy’s name come from?  His grandfather, or his great-grandfather?”  Unless he has a highly-uncommon name, like Yisro.  Then I want to know.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “You’re On Your Own”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Abbas and the Temple Mount: "It's mine, all mine. No Jews allowed.
Abbas Declares Closure of Al Aqsa Mosque a ‘Declaration of War’
Latest Sections Stories
Part of the reconstructed Gwozdziec Synagogue.

The Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews is designed to tell the whole thousand-year story of the Jews in Poland.

Nimchinsky-102414-Flag

This past summer was a powerful one for the Jewish people. I will always remember where I was on June 12th when I found out that Gilad, Eyal and Naftali were kidnapped. I will always remember the look on my sister’s face on June 30th when she told me that they were found. I will […]

Schonfeld-logo1

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

The Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel.

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.

Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

More Articles from Mordechai Schmutter
Schmutter-101014-Decorations

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Schmutter-logo-NEW

Maybe now that your kids are back in school, you should start cleaning for Pesach.

If I’m going on for oven mitts, I don’t want to see sock puppets until at least page 40.

Alternatively, you can try your absolute hardest to listen whenever she says anything.

Father’s Day comes every year. How many drills can you get him?

This week, I’m asking the questions for a change.

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!

Purim around here is crazy. And I’m not just talking about the amount of questions I get.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/youre-on-your-own/2014/01/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: