A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.
A good friend of mine, “Sarah,” recently shared her concern over her two year old grandson’s health. As far as she could remember, he was always coming down with a cold, ear infection, or stomach virus. It seemed as if every other week, the little boy had to be taken to his pediatrician. Since her daughter-in-law worked and took college classes, Sarah often had to use her own personal and sick days at work to be available to watch him when he was sick and home from day care.
Sarah strongly felt that her grandson’s frequent illnesses were due to a combination of being exposed to other ill children at his day care center and the fact that it was unlikely he was napping properly while other babies and toddlers were crying and screaming nearby. He was run down and therefore his immune system was not up to par. And the fact that the boy was in day care, she angrily insisted, was her son’s fault.
Her son, a brilliant young man, had decided after he came back from his year in Israel that he was not going to attend the Ivy League college where he had applied and had been accepted. Instead, he would become a full time learner, and then go into chinuch. His rebbes and friends and applauded this decision. Many expressed how envious they were that they had a son who was such a talmid chacham.
While she and her husband took pride in their son’s Torah study, they were also somewhat concerned. Both were college graduates and they had expected him to be one as well. Though they both had well-paying jobs, they barely managed to pay their mortgage, tuition and camp for five children, insurance and maintenance of their minivan and car, plus all the extras that are part and parcel of raising a frum, middle-class family. How would their son manage to support his family?
Their concerns were realistic. While their son learned, their daughter-in-law, whom they loved and admired, held the fort. “Leah” went to college with the goal of graduating in the health sciences so that she would have a career that paid decently. She also went to work because the bills had to be paid. When she had the baby, she had no choice but to hand him over to a woman in the neighborhood who watched several babies at her home. Both her own mother and her husband’s mother worked and were not available for full time baby-sitting. And staying home with the baby was out of the question.
At one point, Sarah had considered quitting her job for the baby’s sake, but part of her paycheck went to subsidize her son’s expenses and truthfully, she loved her job. She had been a stay-at-home mother until her youngest was in pre-school. She believed in the theory, backed by research, that the first three or four years of a child’s life form the foundation for the future.
A child who felt loved and had his/her mother’s attention and encouragement would likely grow up to be a confident, competent adult. She believed those children who were lacking emotional nourishment grew up to be insecure and unsure of themselves, and easy prey for abusive or manipulative people – whom, she felt, had also been emotionally neglected children.
Those years at home had been draining but fulfilling. When her youngest went off to school, Sarah was ready to join the world of working (out of the house) adults and to make use of her hard-earned education and skills.
Now, Sarah couldn’t understand this new world of barely-home-mothers and barely-home-babies. She blamed it on the barely-home non-working fathers. Whatever happened, she wondered, to men who earned during the day and learned at night and in their spare time? Weren’t the gedolim from the Talmudic times wage earners? Some were royal court doctors, some were shoe-makers and milkmen, but all worked. The great and venerable Chofetz Chaim had a grocery store.
The only solution, as unfair as it sounded, was for only the children of the wealthy to be full time learners, supported by their parents so that their wives could stay at home with their babies. Or perhaps a Yissachar and Zevulun arrangement could be made where a wealthy friend would support the learning family and share the learner’s zechus of learning Torah.
Sounds good, but was it realistic? All I could do was listen. And to say a quiet mazel tov when she called last week to let me know her the young couple was expecting.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.
We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.
Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.
Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.
A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.
Dear Dr. Yael:
My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.
The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.
Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.
She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.
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!
Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.
While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.
I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.
Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.
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/whos-watching-the-kids/2004/12/29/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: