Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
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techniques – the idea of “forbidden” foods is obsolete.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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Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.
Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.
While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”
The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defines a mentch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”
Certainly today’s communication via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and the like, including the ubiquitous Whatsapp, has reduced the need to talk with people and communicate at length.
These two special women utilized their incredibly painful experience as an opportunity to assist others.
Maybe we don’t have to lose that growth and unity that we have achieved, especially with the situation in Eretz Yisrael right now.
Sleepily, I watched him kissing Mai’s chubby thighs.
I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.
My teachers like me and they tell my parents that I am a great girl with good middos.
The chicken and waffle nuggets were fabulous and were like chicken in a dessert form.
“Have you forgotten your dreams?” The Hope Merchant asks a defeated and hopeless Lily when she “happens” upon his shop.
A young lady in her early 20’s, “Sarah” was redt to “Shlomie” a boy from her home town who learned in an out-of-town yeshiva. The families know each other well, which in today’s shidduch scene is a big plus – since it was therefore unlikely the kids would “fall in” due to misinformation and misinterpretations.
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.
One can argue that forgetting something on a regular basis is a sign of advancing age and it’s time to for a neurological evaluation, but based on the number of young people who need to replace a lost smart phone (too bad it’s not smart enough to warn its owner that that they have become separated – or is there an app for that too?), I safely can say that losing “stuff” cuts across the generations.
For quite a few days in late December, Toronto was transformed into a breathtaking – literally and figuratively – frigid winter wonderland, where every twig, leaf, car door, and outdoor wire and cable was totally encased in ice. When the sun shone the landscape was blindingly brilliant as if billions of diamonds had been glued to everything the eye could see.
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.
The necessity of speaking up when you “have a hunch” applies even more when it comes to shidduchim. One little girl did just that – she said something – and I was fortunate enough to be in town for the very joyful, lively wedding that resulted from her speaking up.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/the-heavenly-gift-of-restraint/2004/04/28/
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