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.
With Pesach upon us, Jews must refrain from indulging in some of their favorite foods, drinks and even cosmetics for over a week. No matter how much a person craves a bagel, a shot of
whisky, or a dab of a favorite perfume, he/she scrupulously avoids these items.
In the weeks leading up to Pesach, even the most habitual procrastinators get off their couches and force themselves to do groan-inducing activities such as scrubbing the oven, the fridge, and the floors. There is no “I’ll do it later” option. Men and women know they have to roll up their sleeves and get the house, the car, the office, and the store chometz-free and ready for Pesach.
For Torah fearing Jewish families, there is no question about doing what is necessary to properly observe the laws of Pesach, or for that matter, those of kashrut and Shabbat and
Yom Tov during the year. This is part of their life pattern, wherein they consistently fulfill the requirements of daily prayer, family purity, giving charity, kashrut, etc. Doing so requires self-discipline, restraint, and controlling impulses. These traits, that are invaluable in successfully handling life, are tragically lacking in today’s hedonistic society.
There has been much press lately about the epidemic of obesity in American children. The fact that so many youngsters are dangerously overweight is not really a surprise. As they grow up in this age of self-gratification, permissiveness and green lights for all kinds of immoral behaviors, why shouldn’t children eat what they want, when they want, and how much
they want? In a “do what feels good” society, kids are doing just that – snacking themselves to oblivion. There are no rules to teach them self-control or patience.
Over the years, non-observant friends and acquaintances have mocked me about keeping kashrut and Shabbat and being “religious,” expressing their opinion that, for example, while “in
the old days” there might have been a reason for not eating pig or shellfish due to sanitary problems, in our modern times, with food inspectors and sterilization and homogenization
techniques – the idea of “forbidden” foods is obsolete.
They are totally missing the point! Many of our mitzvot don’t have an obvious explanation. We can try to understand the rationale for mitzvot, but we can never plumb their true multi-faceted depths.
The value of keeping the rules and regulations of the Torah becomes apparent to anyone raising children - even without knowing their “whys.” To me, it’s all about the crucial
development of self-discipline, self control, and restraint. For that reason alone, every mitzvah is a blessing and a gift from Hashem.
A child who has to wait a few hours before having an ice cream because he had a meat lunch learns early in life to control his urges. He learns to be patient. He realizes that he can’t get what he wants – when he wants it. A die-hard baseball fan who refrains from watching a ball game on Shabbat - because it is Shabbat – is learning that he has to make some sacrifices, and that the world does not revolve around his desires. These are invaluable lessons that will help
children deal with life as adults.
Instant gratification - the philosophy of the masses – is what is undermining physical health and family life in the western world. The individual raised in a secular society whose mantra is “I want this…and I want it now,” is in serious trouble, because the people he comes in contact with also worship the “me comes first” motto and may even lie, cheat, and steal in their quest for pleasing themselves.
Child psychologists know that children – (and I believe adults as well), crave boundaries. Kids may protest loudly when their parents set limits to what they can or cannot do, but deep down, they desperately need guidelines and boundaries. Parents who make it clear to their children what they are allowed or not allowed are giving the message that they love their kids and are watching over them. The world is fascinating – but scary, and all human beings need and yearn for limits – and secretly appreciate having them. Without limits, there is anarchy, chaos and confusion. Getting structure in the form of “no, you can’t do this or go there” from those who are more experienced and wiser is actually reassuring and appreciated.
So, too, our Heavenly Father has, out of love, given us rules to guide us through our life’s journey so that we do not get overwhelmed, lost, or stumble onto dangerous paths. The
resulting attainment of self-restraint, of self- control, of patience, is the ultimate Divine bracha and reward.
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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/the-heavenly-gift-of-restraint/2004/04/28/
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