Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
While recently riding on a private local bus, I couldn’t help but overhear two elderly, balbatish ladies talking. What caught my undivided attention, however, was the pride in one woman’s tone as she announced that she and her husband would boycott their granddaughter’s wedding because they did not approve of the young man.
Apparently, the young bochur did not meet the grandmother’s stamp of approval even though, from what she described – he seemed like a rather acceptable fellow. He was in college, pursuing a graduate degree, working part-time and had attended a modern Yeshiva. His parents were first generation Americans and spoke with accents. These facts of his life – as far as she was concerned – placed him on the “wrong side of the tracks.” Simply put – he was not good enough for her granddaughter.
She insisted that she deserved at the very least a boy who was Rosh Yeshiva material, one who had graduated from a “yichusdik” yeshiva, and who would make learning his priority. Such a grandson-in-law she could be proud of – not some “modern” college boy whose parents were unknown outside their immigrant community.
“Bubbi” had given her grandchild the ultimatum – either break up with the boy ? or she would not attend the wedding.
It took all my self-restraint to avoid shaking this pitifully narrow minded lady who actually felt that she had her grandchild’s “best interests at heart.”
What she was truly looking for was in-laws who would impress her chevra.
I fervently prayed that the girl in question would have the gumption to stick to her convictions and remain loyal to the young man and go ahead with the wedding.
There are many stories that have crossed my path similar to this one, where close relatives put undeserved pressure on a young person to pick between them and their zivug. The excuses are superficial and often based on snobbery or a desire to maintain control over an adult child.
In the former scenario, a potential spouse is rejected because of pettiness and sinat chinam: the boy/girl is from a different culture (Sephardi or Ashkenazi, Chassidish or Litvish); wants to learn/or wants to earn; is too frum/not frum enough; comes from a ba’al teshuva family, or from the wrong community in Europe. The excuses are endless, and for the most part, without real merit. And worst of all – this pressure causes so much discord, aggravation, and anguish at a time that should be joyous and full of appreciation to the Ribono Shel Olam.
To the grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts and close family members who insist “him/her or us” – I say shame on you!
I personally have been to so many weddings, including two of my own, where the mothers and/or fathers of the chossen or kallah are newly minted adult orphans, having lost a beloved parent or both in recent years. Day to day life has become bearable, but Yomim Tovim and simchas are still challenging emotionally.
As we marched our children to the chuppah, most of us valiantly but unsuccessfully tried not to cry, but tears of supreme joy spilled down our cheeks, alternating with tears of supreme grief because our mothers/fathers could not physically share in this ultimate moment of nachas in our families.
To have been able to embrace and be embraced by our parents as the glass was broken and the young couple excitedly emerged for the first time to build a bayit ne’eman b’Yisrael would have been the crowning moment in our lives and theirs. This is especially true for elderly Holocaust survivors. Witnessing their grandchildren getting married, many named after their own murdered mothers and fathers and siblings – would be the superlative validation of their survival and the rebuilding of the fragile family tree.
I personally know of grandparents who have been blessed with the health and years to participate in the simcha of their oldest grandchild. They have declared their “principled” intention of not attending her wedding if she doesn’t break off the engagement because they “don’t approve” of the groom.
Instead of thanking the Creator for His benevolence in granting them life and allowing them to reach this tremendous milestone in their lives – of seeing bnei banim – children of children – getting married and establishing a new home – they willfully and self-righteously turn their backs on this merciful gift from Hashem.
It makes me wonder who to pity more: the grandmother, or her granddaughter.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Everyone is always looking for cute yet simple and inexpensive ideas to enhance their table at special occasions. Here are some attractive ways to create that festive look. Whether you use china or plastic, your guests will surely be delighted with your charming setup.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a chavrusa working with you, guiding and helping you in your work environment?
What made an M.I.T. scholarship student, taking time off from his doctorate in medicine, to backpack, and then decide to backtrack, chuck it all… and get a haircut? Perhaps it is easier to understand a Harvard law student becoming enamored with the logic of Gemara and settling down to struggle with the intellectual challenges of Aramaic acrobatics.
JetBlue flew an empty aircraft from Boston to JFK to assist us. The care and concern of the flight attendants was amazing. They were astounded by our group, so much so that at the end of the flight, the captain related for all to hear that he was truly impressed by the care that the HASC counselors provided for the special-needs campers – all of whom have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. We did our best to demonstrate a true kiddush Hashem.
Q: What does twice exceptional or 2e mean?
The battle over partnership minyans is just the latest scuffle in the war over women’s roles in the Orthodox community.
Last month’s column outlined some efforts during the first half of the nineteenth century to establish Jewish agricultural colonies in America. In only one case was a colony actually established.
According to Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish scholar, “Gifts for the poor [matanot l’evyonim] deserve more attention than the seudah and mishloach manot because there is no greater, richer happiness than bringing joy to the hearts of needy people, orphans, widows and proselytes.”
Having everyone home on a snow day can be a lot of fun – the first few times it happens. Once snow day number six hits, perhaps not so much and the real creativity has to come out.
Imich was born in 1903 in Poland, where he later earned his Ph.D. in 1927, despite the best efforts of anti-Semitic professors to sabotage his thesis
Never sacrifice the people who matter for anything of lesser importance…
Hannah believed that one must learn about the evils of the past so that they aren’t repeated.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.
Time never stood still for anyone – why would I be the exception? In my hubris, I thought that somehow I would live forever – and I suspect we all have secretly felt that way, even though we know it’s a fantasy.
Outside is a winter-white wonderland replete with dazzling trees, wires, and sidewalks seemingly wrapped in glittery silver foil. It’s quite lovely to look at, which is about all I can do since I’m stuck indoors. Icicle-laden tree branches are bent and hunch-backed by the frozen heaviness of their popsicle-like burden, and the voices squawking from the battery-operated transistor radio I am listening to are warning people not to go out since walkways and roads are extremely slippery, and there is real danger from falling trees.
Let me begin by congratulating my dear machatunim, Soraya and Jay Nimaroff, on being the recipients of the Community Service Award at the Sderot Hesder Institutions 18th annual anniversary dinner.
But even though their medical situations were similar, how they mentally dealt with their new status quo was often as different as night and day.
How confusing it was growing up with conflicting messages. On the one hand, we were told, even admonished, to eat everything on our generously piled up plates (it was a sin to waste food), yet we were made to feel like we were a lower form of human being if we were overweight.
While in New York recently, I was invited to see a performance of “Waiting for Godot” – a multi-layered play on the human condition that I was introduced to in high school. What was fascinating and unique about this particular production was that this renowned play was being performed in Yiddish – with English and Russian subtitles beamed onto a screen for non-Yiddish speakers. (Staged by the New Yiddish Rep, at the Castillo Theatre, and directed by Moshe Yassur, it stars Shane Baker, David Mandelbaum, Rafael Goldwaser, Avi Hoffman and Nicholas Jenkins.)
Now and then my Bubby would open up about what she went through in the camps, of what she witnessed… From time to time she would talk about her baby sisters – twins – and how she would sew them identical dresses and braid their hair the same way challenging everyone to guess who was who.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/stupidity/2004/12/01/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online:
No related posts.