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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘give’

The Beautiful Pear

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Thank you for reading one more Style with Esther!

Today we will talk about some tips and guidelines that could help a lot the pear shaped women. But keep in mind that these guidelines are not the ultimate truth, nor should they limit your fashion creativity. The body type guidelines serve as an invisible friend, they can help you in those moments you feel fashionably lost or overwhelmed.

I must confess that if you need to buy a new garment or are rushing to dress up for a party, using these guidelines can be very handy. Yet, as I said above, they’re not written in stone. So, it’s OK if you want to be adventurous and try something that is actually listed for another body type. After all, most women are a combination of two body types, so why not have fun with it and try something new? If what you’re wearing makes you feel empowered and happy, you’re probably making the right choice—but a small dose of good sense also helps.

THE BEAUTIFUL PEAR

If your hip measurement is larger than your bustline, you’re probably a pear shaped woman.

Since the attention on your figure is concentrated in your hipline, it will be a step toward harmony to distribute that attention to your upper bodice. The basic idea is to dress up your upper bodice and go simple with the lower. Easy, right?

How to bring the attention up?

By the use of pockets on your shirt, details on lapels, collars (have you seen some wonderful fake collars lately that work as a necklace?), shoulder pads, embroideries, studs, yokes, draped tops, exquisite brooches, ruffles— the list of embellishments goes on and on. If you’re in a rush and have no time for all these details, just choose a top with a stronger color or one with beautiful prints. They’re the fastest ways to bring the attention upwards.

If you like jewelry, that’s another good reason to wear big pendants or necklaces made of beautiful stones.

Also, knit tops will help you define your waistline, especially if they have a V-shaped neckline, because it will elongate your neck and bring the attention up to your face and to your tiny waist. U-shaped necklines work just as well.

What about sleeves? Give preference to sleeves with details. It could just be a knit top with small pleats on the sleeves, created with the help of an elastic, ¾ length bell sleeves or sleeves with cuffs that will bring the attention upwards and balance your look.

When wearing jackets, give preference to tailored ones, since they will define your waistline. The jacket length should reach at least 1 inch below your hipbone. If a jacket ends exactly at your hipbone, it will make your hipline look larger than it really is. Wearing cropped jackets is also OK, since they end exactly at your waistline. Just keep in mind that cropped jackets are not the rule for all pear shaped women. They could look great for some but give too much of a boxy look to others. You just have to ask yourself how you feel about that cropped jacket when facing the mirror. Listen to your heart.

When wearing dresses, give preference to wraps or fake wraps that have an A-line, semi-flared, or flared skirt. Besides the comfort, they will enhance your waistline.

A-ha! We have finally arrived to the skirt identity crisis! Many beautiful Pears have asked me about the logic of wearing A-line and flared skirts.

The answer lies not only on the skirt shape but also in the fabric being used. A flared skirt made of a lightweight, soft fabric that falls naturally, such as knits, silks and many other types of light weight fabrics, will create a really beautiful look!

On the other hand, an A-line made of a tough denim or any other heavyweight fabric will need some time for reflection upon its usage. It will look good for some and not so great for others. Keeping that in mind, go for A-lines, flared and semi-flared skirts made of lightweight fabric with confidence, as they will dress you well and look great. Another great reason for you to wear these styles is that they will fit your waistline perfectly without interfering with your hip measurement.

How to Give

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Listen to these stories. Behind them lies an extraordinary insight into the nature of Jewish ethics:

Story 1. Rabbi Abba used to bind money in his scarf, sling it on his back, and place it at the disposal of the poor (Ketubot 67b).

Story 2. Mar Ukba had a poor man in his neighborhood into whose door socket he used to throw four coins every day. Once the poor man thought, “I will go and see who does me this kindness.” That day Mar Ukba stayed late at the house of study and his wife was coming home with him. As soon as the poor man saw them moving the door (to leave the coins) he ran out after them, but they fled from him and hid. Why did they do this? Because it was taught: One should throw himself into a fiery furnace rather than publicly put his neighbor to shame (Ketubot 67b).

Story 3. When Rabbi Jonah saw a man of good family who had lost his money and was ashamed to accept charity, he would go and say to him, “I have heard that an inheritance has come your way in a city across the sea. So here is an article of some value. Sell it and use the proceeds. When you are more affluent, you will repay me.” As soon as the man took it, Rabbi Jonah would say, “It’s yours is a gift” (Vayikra Rabbah 34:1).

These stories all have to do with the mitzvah of tzedakah whose source is in this week’s parshah:

“If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need…Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8, 10-11).

What we have here is a unique and still remarkable program for the elimination of poverty.

The first extraordinary fact about the laws of tzedakah as articulated in the Oral Tradition is the concept itself. Tzedakah does not mean “charity.” We see this immediately in the form of a law inconceivable in any other moral system: “Someone who does not wish to give tzedakah or to give less than is appropriate may be compelled to do so by a Jewish court of law” (Maimonides, Laws of Gifts to the Poor, 7:10). Charity is always voluntary. Tzedakah is compulsory. Therefore tzedakah does not mean charity. The nearest English equivalent is social justice.

The second is the principle evident in the three stories above. Poverty in Judaism is conceived not merely in material terms: the poor lack the means of sustenance. It is also conceived in psychological terms. Poverty humiliates. It robs people of dignity. It makes them dependent on others – thus depriving them of independence which the Torah sees as essential to self-respect.

This deep psychological insight is eloquently expressed in the third paragraph of the Grace after Meals: “Please, O Lord our God, do not make us dependent on the gifts or loans of other people, but only on Your full, open, holy and generous hand so that we may suffer neither shame nor humiliation for ever and all time.”

As a result, Jewish law focuses not only on how much we must give but also on the manner in which we do so. Ideally the donor should not know to whom he or she is giving (story 1), nor the recipient know from whom he or she is receiving (story 2). The third story exemplifies another principle: “If a poor person does not want to accept tzedakah, we should practice a form of [benign] deception and give it to him under the guise of a loan” (Maimonides, Laws of Gifts to the Poor 7:9).

Maimonides sums up the general principle thus: “Whoever gives charity to the poor with bad grace and averted eyes has lost all the merit of his action even though he gives him a thousand gold pieces. He should give with good grace and with joy and should sympathize with him in his plight, as it is said, ‘Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?’ [Job 30:25]” (Laws of Gifts to the Poor 10:4).

This is the logic behind two laws that are otherwise inexplicable. The first is “Even a poor person who is dependent on tzedakah is obliged to give tzedakah” (Laws of Gifts to the Poor 7:5). The law seems absurd. Why should we give money to the poor so that they may give to the poor? It makes sense only on this assumption – that giving is essential to human dignity and tzedakah is the obligation to ensure that everyone has that dignity.

The second is the famous ruling of Maimonides that “the highest degree of charity, exceeded by none, is when a person assists a poor Jew by providing him with a gift or a loan or by accepting him into a business partnership or by helping him find employment – in a word, by putting him in a situation where he can dispense with other people’s aid” (Laws of Gifts to the Poor 10:7).

Giving someone a job or making him your partner would not normally be considered charity at all. It costs you nothing. But this further serves to show that tzedakah does not mean charity. It means giving people the means to live a dignified life, and any form of employment is more dignified, within the Jewish value system, than dependence.

We have in this ruling of Maimonides in the 12th century the principle that Muhammad Yunus rediscovered in our time, and for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize: the idea of micro-loans enabling poor people to start small businesses. It is a very powerful idea.

In contradistinction to many other religious systems, Judaism refused to romanticize poverty or anaesthetize its pain. Faith is not what Karl Marx called “the opium of the people.” The rabbis refused to see poverty as a blessed state, an affliction to be born with acceptance and grace. Instead, the rabbis called it “a kind of death” and “worse than 50 plagues.” They said, “Nothing is harder to bear than poverty, because he who is crushed by poverty is like one to whom all the troubles of the world cling and upon whom all the curses of Deuteronomy have descended. If all other troubles were placed on one side and poverty on the other, poverty would outweigh them all.”

Maimonides went to the heart of the matter when he said (The Guide for the Perplexed 3:27), “The well-being of the soul can only be obtained after that of the body has been secured.” Poverty is not a noble state. You cannot reach spiritual heights if you have no food to eat or a roof for your head, if you lack access to medical attention or are beset by financial worries.

I know of no saner approach to poverty, welfare, and social justice than that of Judaism. Unsurpassed in its time, it remains the benchmark of a decent society to this day.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/rabbi-lord-jonathan-sacks/how-to-give/2013/08/01/

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