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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Mazel Tov’

Special Baby Born in Ramat Gan

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Mazel Tov is in order for a special new mother in Ramat Gan.

A rare Brazilian tapir, “Pessiflora”, has given birth to a son at the Ramat Gan Safari Park.

Father, Meir, has been moved to a separate enclosure until he overcomes his jealousy for the new arrival.

The unnamed baby was born after a 13-month pregnancy and is enjoying the attention of his mother and older sister, Papaya.

He was born with white stripes which will fade as he matures.

My Machberes

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

This week’s column written with Rabbi Yaakov Klass.

The Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas

The Torah commands that six events be remembered always. Consequently, some halachic authorities maintain that the biblical verses detailing those commandments be recited daily. They are the remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt (Devarim, Re’eh 16:3); the remembrance of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai (Devarim, Va’eschanan 4:9-10); the remembrance of Amalek’s attack (Devarim, Ki Seitzei 25:17-19); the remembrance of the golden calf (Devarim, Eikev 9:7); the remembrance of Miriam (Devarim, Ki Seitzei 24:9); and the remembrance of Shabbos (Shemos, Yisro 20:8).

Those who took part last week in the 5772-2012 Siyum Daf Yomi at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, will forever remember it as corresponding to receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.

MetLife has a seating capacity of 82,500, making it the 30th largest stadium in the world and the single largest in the greater metropolitan New York City area. More than 10,000 seats were added by filling the playing field with folding chairs, making for a total of almost 93,000 seats, all of which were sold.

Despite inclement weather, tens of thousands of Jews converged on East Rutherford. The New York City and New Jersey public transit systems were crowded with people traveling to MetLife. Roadways, highways, bridges and tunnels were teeming with vehicles of every description carrying observant Jews to the Siyum. Thousands flew in from cities near and far (from Mexico, California, Toronto, Montreal, Florida, etc.) to take part in the special event.

Awe is the only word that can describe one’s feelings in seeing the huge electronic SIYUM HASHAS New Jersey highway directional signs, indicating the enormity of the event. Traffic stops gave motorists and passengers an opportunity to look around and see so many others heading in the same direction with the same feeling of wonderment. Well before the scheduled opening, large crowds, impervious to the rain, had already gathered to wait for the earliest possible access.

Many brought along their Gemaras. Some had two Gemaras – the final tractate of Shas and the first – to finish and to re-begin. Thousands brought binoculars in order to have a close-up view of the great Torah leaders on hand.

When the doors to the Siyum opened Wednesday afternoon, Av 13 (August 1), everyone underwent a thorough security screening. Once inside, people rushed to acquire HaSiyum, the oversized booklet that was distributed, as well as HaSiyum Jr. for younger participants.

Fully armed with the coffee table-sized HaSiyum journal, the assembled proceeded to their designated seats. Every seat, even the most inexpensive, offered full views by means of multiple huge digital overhead screens. Of course, the more expensive seats were situated closer to the dais and to the venerated rabbis, rosh yeshivas, and chassidishe rebbes. The HaSiyum journal included the final and first pages of the Talmud and the entire closing Hadran formula, (all courtesy of the Mesorah Heritage Foundation of ArtScroll Publications). It also contained Minchah, Maariv, and chapters of Tehillim that were recited.

Right before 7 p.m., the official starting time, an announcement was made advising that due to the weather, traffic, and transit conditions, tens of thousands had not yet arrived and that Minchah was being postponed until 7:15. But right before 7:15 the same announcement was made, this time deferring Minchahto 7:30. As people filed into their seats, open umbrellas were closed and towels were used to mop up soggy seats. Miraculously, the rains greatly diminished at 7:30 and the weather for the rest of the evening was quite pleasant.

* * * * *

Once settled in, the huge crowd davened Minchah, led by Rabbi Yaakov Levovitz. The tefillah was awe-inspiring, leaving everyone wondering how many – if any – times in recent history so many people had prayed together in one group.

The program included a series of inspirational speakers including Rabbi Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, Rosh Yeshiva Beth Medrash Govoha Lakewood, who formally closed the 12th cycle of study; RabbiYissocher Frand, Rosh Yeshiva Ner Yisroel Baltimore, who advised Daf Yomi beginners to have a plan to complete the Daf Yomi study cycle (at the last Siyum Rabbi Frand memorably declared that the study of Daf Yomi is “never too little, never too late, and never enough”); and Rabbi Gedalya Weinberger, chairman of the Daf Yomi Commission, who drew sustained enthusiastic applause in beginning his address proclaiming “Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov!

Events In The West

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

On Wednesday, August 1, Dayan Aharon David Dunner will be the featured speaker at L.A.’s Siyum Hashas at the downtown Music Center Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. There will be a hookup with the tens of thousands of men at the national siyum in New Jersey.

More Summer Learning: Beth Jacob San Diego’s SEED program begins on Sunday, July 22… L.A.’s Anshe Emes will hold their annual Chofetz Chaim SEED program beginning at the end of July… The Valley Torah High School Alumni Association kollel continues through Monday, August 6.

Shul Update: After a protracted and controversial struggle, Chabad of North Hollywood, located in the Sherman Oaksarea of the San Fernando Valley, succeeded in obtaining approval from the Los Angeles City Council to proceed with the expansion of their current facility.

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Bas Mitzvah: Baila Ertel, daughter of Rabbi Shmuel and Chaya Ertel.

Mazel Tov – Wedding:Michael Denise to Michal Backer.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Moshe and Shifra Hager, a daughter (Grandparents David and Judy Hager)… Rabbi Dr. Raphy and Miriam Hulkower, a daughter (Grandparents Walter and Joann Hulkower)… Rabbi Eliezer and Beracha Cohen of Lakewood, NJ, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Gavriel and Grace Cohen; Rabbi Shlomo and Robin Goldberg)… Avrohom and Chany Stern of Lakewood, NJ, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Eli and Robin Stern)… Lavie and Amanda Klein, a son (Grandparents Shmuel and Tzipporah Klein; Isaac and Ahouva Shapiro)… Rabbi Avrohom and Russi Morgenstern, a daughter… Yoily and Leah Rosenberg, a son (Grandparents Meyer and Raizy Brief)… Shmuli and Ruti Berger, a daughter (Grandparents David and Carol Berger)… Zev and Naamit Nagel, a son (Grandparents Ronnie and Cheryl Nagel; (Great-grandparents Jack and Gitta Nagel).

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvahs: Samuel Ellenhorn, son of Joshua and Edith Ellenhorn… Mickey Cooper, son of Dr. Aharon and Odelia Cooper… Yossi Schlesinger, son of Fred and Clarisse Schlesinger.

Mazel Tov – Bas Mitzvah: Sivan Platt, daughter of Dr. Arthur and Yaffa Platt.

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Shimmy Bayer to Leeor Nahum… Ronit Derovan, daughter of Norman and Wendy Derovan, to Daniel Gorenshtein of Brazil… Tova Jacobs, daughter of Dr. Jerry and Ahuva Jacobs, to Moshe Lerer of Teaneck, NJ… Daniella Weiss, daughter of Isaac and Joyce Weiss, to Shami Reichman of Toronto.

Mazel Tov – Weddings: Phillip Marcus, son of Norman and Florence Marcus, to Pamela Kleinman… Avigdor Kessler, son of Hessel and Miriam Kessler, to Ariella Tzion… Batya Rotter, daughter of Dr. Arnold and Leah Rotter, to Gidon Winter of Melbourne, Australia… Daniel Kosberg son of Stephen and Miriam Kosberg, to Barrie Zigman, daughter of Arnold and Rosalie Zigman of Long Beach, CA… Tali Okrent, daughter of Dr. Derek and Batsheva Okrent, to Ted Smolar… Ilana Kellerman, daughter of Drs. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, to Jordan Moss… Adam Silverstein, son of Neil and Leslie Silverstein, to Rena Kolom of Lincolnwood, IL… Daniella Wasserman, daughter of Steven and Karen Wasserman, to Eli Hami, son of Brouria Hami and the late Yosef Hami… Melissa Gellman, daughter of Meir and Robin Gelman, to Mark Genet.

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Dan and Beth Nash, a daughter (Grandparents Carl and Sharon Nash)… Jay and Israela Kimche, a son (Grandparents Eli and Yona Sternheim)… Josh and Devorah Walker, a son.

Mazel Tov – Wedding: Michael and Elana Wenacour.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFIORNIA

Mazel Tov – Engagement: Jessica Attia, daughter of Albert and Mazu Attia, to Aaron Wolf of England.

Mazel Tov – Wedding: David Goode to Rifkah Krolikowski.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Birth: Shai and Robin Attia, a son.

Mazel Tov – Wedding: Heshy and Chaya Fried.

VALLEY VILLAGE, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Birth: Avi and Debbie Erblich, a son (Grandparents Baruch and Leah Erblich; Leslie and Michelle Levin of Las Vegas).

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Aaron Mamelak, son of Dr. Aaron Mamelak.

Mazel Tov – Weddings: Ariella Tzion, daughter of Yonaton and Liora Tzion, to Avigdor Kessler… Dina Ackerman, daughter of Zoltan and Martha Ackerman, to Moshe Franklin of NY.

DENVER, COLORADO

Mazel Tov – Bas Mitzvah: Talya Schreiber, daughter of Alan and Judy Schreiber.

Mazel Tov – Wedding: Nurit Hirsch, daughter of Dr. Fred and Pia Hirsch, to Matt Rotbart, son of Dr. Harley and Sara Rotbart.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

Mazel Tov – Birth: Gavriel and Avigayil Rudnick, a daughter (Grandmother Ruth Hyman).

Mazel Tov, Rabbi Tzvi Fishman!!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

An amazing thing happened to me last night! While I was sleeping, an angel appeared in a dream and told me to start a new Jewish religion.

“A new Jewish religion?” I asked, bewildered.

“That’s right,” he replied.

I was certain that I was hallucinating because I had fasted yesterday and that my mind was playing tricks. So I went back to sleep. But the angel appeared once again and told me to start a new Jewish religion.

Two times is already a sign that a dream is true, so I was really at a loss for words.

“Why me?” I asked.

“You have a nice beard,” the angel replied.

“Lots of people have nice beards,” I answered.

“You have a nice smile, too” he said. “Looks are what matters these days. If you want to have lots of followers, you have to look the part.”

It sort of made sense. But who was I to start a new Jewish religion? True, Orthodox Judaism, while showing a definite resurgence in recent years, still wasn’t pulling in the masses. And all the breakaway movements hadn’t done anything to stem the tsunami of assimilation which was eating away at Diaspora Jewry. So there certainly was room for a new movement that would inspire the Jewish People back to the fold.

Needless to say, after my middle of the night encounter with the angel, I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got dressed and sat down at the computer to print out an official Rabbi diploma. After all, if I was going to start a new Jewish religion, I’d have to be a Rabbi. So I typed up a very distinguished looking certificate with a picture of Jerusalem and printed out another 500 copies, figuring I would have to have a lot of assistant Rabbis to help me spread the new movement all over the world. Plus, I figured, I was going to need money to publicize the new Jewish agenda, and by selling official Rabbi certificates to as many people as I could, I could generate funds for the operation. So, if anyone would like to become an official Rabbi, and help out the cause, all you have to do is send me $5000, and I will mail the certificate to your home, and you can be an official Rabbi too.

When my wife woke up in the morning, I asked her to please start calling me Rabbi.

I won’t tell you what she answered, but as they say, no man is a prophet in his own home.

“At least just for show, honey,” I begged. “I’m going to become the new Internet Rabbi. Soon, I’m going to be world famous.”

“Famous, shmamous,” she answered. “Did you pray Shachrit yet?”

“No, I’ve been busy,” I admitted.

“Well, go pray, and then you can worry about saving the world.”

Why bother to pray, I thought? After all, going to minyan three times a day can be a big burden, and formalized prayer can turn a lot of people off. If I was going to start a popular new Jewish religion, I’d have to attract as many followers as I could, and any whiff of coercion was sure to keep people away. Tefillin too would have to go. What enlightened person wants to put a little box on his head and walk around with tzitzit? Ever try to make a pass at a shiksa wearing tzitzit and a kippah? They were a big turn off too. In fact, all of the Torah’s commandments were too heavy and time-consuming to expect people to follow, so why not do away with them all? The Jewish holidays too. Why should Jews feel different from their gentile neighbors, with separate Jewish holidays? The progressive and reform liberal movements still pretended to have some sort of parve Jewish holiday observance, but why continue the masquerade? It only served to separate us from the goyim. In my new Jewish religions, there wouldn’t be any commandments or holidays at all. Everyone would be free to do just what he or she wanted, and they could still be Jews. If anyone wanted to be a Jew, even gentiles, just wanting to be a Jew was enough. No need to study. No tests. No primitive mikvahs and ritual immersions. What’s important is feelings, right? If someone wants to be a Jew, or feels like a Jew, all he or she has to do is send me $2000 a year for a yearly membership in the new Jewish religion, and they will receive an official certificate that I will print out stating that they are 100% Jewish.

West Coast Happenings

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Events In The West: On February 10-11 the Westwood Kehilla hosts Sara Rigler, author of Holy Woman: The Road to Greatness of Rebbetzin Chaya Sara Kramer and Lights From Jerusalem, as its scholar-in-residence… On February 11 David Siegel, consul general of Israel in Los Angeles, will speak at B’nai David-Judea in the Pico-Robertson area of L.A… On February 15, Rabbi Manis Friedman will speak on marriage at the Chabad of the Valley Men’s Institute… And on February 19-20 San Francisco offers its Limud Bay program. This year’s program includes Rabbi Joshua Strulowitz of Adas Israel, who will participate in a panel discussion.

Traffic Tickets Increase: The cost of traffic tickets is on the rise. If you drive 1-15 mph over the speed limit, the fine will now be $241; 16-25 mph above the speed limit will cost you $328. It’ll be a $616 penalty for passing a school bus with flashing lights. Also, make sure your teen children know that texting and using cell phones can cost them their lives. If they survive, tickets will cost them $148 for texting and $256 for cell phone use.

White House Halacha: A Los Angeles Times article about President Obama’a new chief of staff, Jacob Lew, said that even though he is an observant Jew, he is available if needed by the president. People wondered what that meant. It seems that when Bill Clinton was president, he called Lew, a top adviser, on Shabbos. Lew heard Clinton say over his answering machine, “God will forgive you if you talk to me; I’m the president.” This prompted Lew to ask his rabbi what he should do in this situation. The rabbi answered that since the president’s call might be a matter of life and death, he can take the call.

Kosher News: Kikkoman Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce is now under the OU… Multigrain Cheerios Peanut Butter is certified as kosher by the OU, but the OU symbol was left off by mistake.

Women Only: On February 5 Aish HaTorah LA hosts Rabbi Yaakov Solomon, co-author of the film “Inspired.” The topic of his 11 a.m. speech at Morry’s Fireplace will be “Chesed: It’s The Little Things That Count.”

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Engagement: Chaim Marcus, son of Rabbi Yitzchok and Ita Marcus, to Pessie Chazkelevitch.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Jake and Yehudeet Counne, a son (Grandparents Avi and Annie Hier; Great-grandparents Rabbi Marvin and Malka Hier)… Levi and Feigie Lieder, a daughter… Rabbi Maury and Malka Grebenau of Dallas, TX, a daughter (Grandmother Marcie Meir)… Rabbi Elisha and Bracha Finman, a daughter (Grandparents Nigel and Traci Hamer)… David and Jennifer Bitran, a son… Shimon and Sharona Ishal, a son… Rafael and Rachel Abraham of Teaneck, NJ, a daughter (Grandparents Mark and Linda Abraham)… Rabbi Avraham and Yocheved Willig, a daughter… Mordechai and Tova Elkin of Yerushalayim, a daughter (Grandparents Tzvi and Rakel Birnbaum; Great-grandmother Marcia Josephy)… Ken and Alexandra Blaker, a son… Dov and Aura Rosenblatt, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Shlomo and Olivia Schwartz, and Gary and Judy Rosenblatt of Teaneck, NJ)… Rabbi Shalom and Shaindel Glick, a son… Rabbi Baruch and Devorah Zheutlin, a son (Grandmother Karen Zheutlin)… Noach and Alexandra Blaker, a son.

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvahs: Yossi Orloff, son of Reuven and Yehudis Orloff… Binyomin Vilner, son of Rabbi Menachem and Rena Vilner… Emanuel Mahpari, son of Rabbi Shimon and Orly Mahpari… Shlomo Tzvi Lasker, son of Rabbi Elie and Shaina Lasker… Akiva Rosenblatt, son of Yaakov and Avigayil Rosenblatt.

Mazel Tov – Bas Mitzvah: Lauren Ashkenazi, daughter of Allen and Sharon Ashkenazi.

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Tova Mojdihiazad, daughter of Parviz and Edna Mojdihiazad, to Yosef Braum, son of Michael Hekmajad Braum and Veda Hekmajad… Daniella Wasserman, daughter of Steve and Karen Wasserman, to Eli Hami, son of the late Joseph Hami and Brouria Hami… Miriam Yemini, daughter of Rabbi Amitai and Faye Yemini, to Moshe Hildeshaim of Crown Heights, NY… Shloime Retek, son of Chaim Aizik and Raizy Retek, to Esther Reizel Fortgang… Yehuda Stepen, son of Fred and Debra Stepen, and Ellen and Ilan Paz, to Aviva Goldhaber of Queens, NY… Miriam Shoshana Hier, daughter of Rabbi Ari and Sandee Hier, to Yehuda Yitchak Dubin of Teaneck, NJ… Chaya Berkowitz, daughter of Shaya and Mora Berkowitz, to Zalmy Raksin of Crown Heights.

Mazel Tov – Wedding: Aaron Schultz, son of David and Debbie Schultz, to Chava Rubin of Boca Raton, FL.

Congratulations: The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Kudos to longtime L.A. resident Marcia Josephy, who was a museum curator during the early years, and also served as co-curator of the permanent exhibition in the museum’s new home in Pan Pacific Park.

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Birth: Shabsi and Faiga Walfish, a daughter.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 5/08/09

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Dear Rachel,

I was really taken by the series on “Esther” and want to thank you for sharing the extended fascinating story with your readers. Her experience, as she herself had indicated, has much to impart. But perhaps as her story took on momentum, the primary lesson that first sparked the tragic occurrences in her life was obscured.

When she first wrote last May, her main lament was her rejection of a young man who had wanted to marry her and whom she dismissed out of hand for no other reason than that she had considered him to be inferior due to their dissimilar backgrounds.

It didn’t take her long to realize her mistake, which cost her dearly, and there was no way to undo the damage or to turn back the hands of time.

Unfortunately, many young people err in their judgment by exercising very little forethought before making the most crucial decision of their lives. Esther’s story is a powerful lesson for singles who are obsessed with outward appearances and who insist on pursuing material wealth over moral values.

Thank you, Esther, for allowing us to glimpse your pain in the hope that others will think twice about following their foolish aspirations. May you know only of happiness from now on and forever.

A Grateful Reader

Dear Rachel,

Just wanted to say thank you for that upper on Erev Pesach – the wonderful conclusion to Esther’s story. In these hard times it was especially gratifying to hear good news and to be uplifted by a very happy ending (or beginning?) to what started out as a real tragedy.

What a zechus for you, Rachel, and for the Jewish Press! You literally revived a Yiddishe neshama!

Keep up the good work!!

Still smiling

Dear Rachel,

I made copies of all the letters that comprised Esther’s story and shared it with all my married children who were just as enthralled as I was. Now whenever we are tempted to get annoyed by everyday nuisances, we remind ourselves of a woman who suffered unspeakably and who managed to survive despite tragedy that must have made it excruciatingly difficult for her to face each new day. Suddenly, our own inconveniences seem petty in comparison.

Esther certainly deserves her new found happiness and we wish her all the best and more.

Counting our blessings

Dear Rachel,

I’ve been following this fascinating story from the beginning and am awed by the kindness of Hashem for the complete transformation in “Esther’s” life. From someone who sympathized in her pain, I wish to convey my happiness for her and wish her all the best in her new life with her new husband, her son and family, and with her Aliyah. Her life truly made an Aliyah!!!! When things settle down, perhaps she would write a book; this could be a bestseller.

Cheering from the sidelines

Dear Rachel,

I write to convey my Mazel Tov to Esther. Wow! To believe that in our times of Hester Panim a miracle like this can happen! How a life can be turned around from a torturous existence to a joyous productive life with just a little bit (or a lot) of caring from family and strangers!

Mi Keamcho Yisroel!

Dear Rachel,

Like you, I became misty-eyed as I read of Esther’s engagement and of her imminent departure to the Holy Land. Like others, I suspect, I was so overcome with excitement over her good fortune that I was practically dancing in my living-room out of a genuine desire to be mesameach Chossen v’Kalla. I extend my heartiest Mazel Tov to Esther, as well as my wish that other sad souls be inspired by her story to hope and pray for a brighter future.

Hope indeed springs eternal

Dear Rachel,

As I glanced heavenward on Erev Pesach and beheld the glorious sun that so many around the globe were hoping to see on this particular morning of Birchas HaChama, I couldn’t help but think of Esther and of how she wrote “The sun rose on me in middle of the night! Miracle of miracles!!!” Yes, as you said, in the realm of G-d nothing is impossible. May the sun keep on shining to light Esther’s way as well as all of Klal Yisrael’s!

Never doubt that the sun will come out…

Dear Esther Enthusiasts,

Many of you have written to express your heartfelt congratulations to Esther, and we all seem to be in accord – we wish her fulfillment of her heart’s desires and a happy life forever after. Thank you all for your heartwarming comments and letters. Hopefully Esther continues to stay in tune, even as she embarks on her new life. Baruch Hashem!!

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 3/06/09

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Dear Victimized,

In your letter (which appeared in last week’s column) it didn’t seem as though you were seeking advice as much as simply needing to air your frustrations and pent-up emotions repressed for the many torturous years of your dysfunctional marriage.

Surely there is much more to this fiasco than the details in your letter reveal, yet you can rest assured that reader sympathy leaned heavily in your favor. How could anyone help but empathize with you and the miserable situation you endured for so long?

At the same time, we are somewhat puzzled. For instance, for most of your letter we are led to believe that your spouse was an uncaring, ungrateful, unfeeling and selfish witch. Then about three quarters of the way into your letter, we are suddenly exposed to your ex-wife’s suffering from an “eating disorder.” That tidbit of information out of left field shifts the force of our emotions, for a person thus affected cannot be held totally accountable for his/her actions.

And of course the question that begs to be asked: Why didn’t you put an end to your distress by ending the marriage long before 14 years elapsed? (You indicate that it was your wife who finally took the initiative to dissolve the marriage.)

Though you don’t state so outright, we are given the impression that you have availed yourself of some counseling, but presumably only towards the very end of your marriage or after you found yourself alone. Consulting a reliable therapist early on would have sooner brought home the realization that you were not to blame for the shabby treatment your ex doled out on a regular basis. Plus, a professional counselor would have steered your wife to receive medical attention for her debilitating condition. And if your relationship had proven to be unsalvageable despite professional guidance, you would have at least been able to resolve to break free of your misery, perhaps at a much earlier time.

If your ex was, in fact, ill when you married her (as you imply), how did she manage to have children, and how badly did having them further wreak damage to her already delicate mental and physical state? Where was her family (who must have been aware of her eating disorder) while all this was transpiring? Where was yours…?

Your story offers some vital lessons.

(1) At the top of the list: Every shadchan (or anyone playing the role) has an obligation to divulge any medical and/or physical condition to the interested party. Withholding such important information will inevitably lead to heartbreak and serious repercussions for the couple as well as their families.

(2) Constant putdowns can affect a victim’s self-worth to the point where s/he will feel deserving of the abusive spouse’s wrath. (Your feeling at fault was a normal reaction to your wife’s abnormal actions.)

(3) Professional marriage counseling can help avert or mitigate the agony of a victim’s “battered person syndrome” (see #2 above).

(4) “Eating disorders” are serious ailments often accompanied by depression and anxiety. They can cause irreversible organ damage and can be fatal if medical attention is not solicited in a timely manner.

(5) You made it clear in your letter that you and your ex-wife were not on the same page in your religious standing. Though this may not necessarily have been the undoing of your marriage, it nevertheless contributed to the discord and underscores the importance of seeking a mate with whom one shares common values and goals.

(6) Every divorce action leads to heartache and emotional upheaval, particularly where children are involved. Badmouthing one’s ex (lashon ha’ra) only serves to compound and prolong the misery all around.

(7) Embitterment and hope cannot co-exist. To get on with a meaningful and purposeful life, one must purge all bitterness from the heart. Life may at times seem unfair, but it is wrong and senseless to judge all of man (or woman) by the actions of some.

(8) A newly divorced person is greeted with Mazel Tov for having dissolved a hopelessly unworkable union and is wished good fortune from here on in – something that can be realized only by leaving the past behind.

You end your letter with a unique observation: “… the first woman on earth gave the first man on earth to eat of the apple so he should not live and so that she could marry someone else.” You then ask, “So who is selfish – man or woman? Who was wronged? Who had the problem, and who is the snake?”

It was, indeed, the first woman who gave the first man to eat of the forbidden fruit, but it was the snake on two feet who instigated the whole spiel, hoping to gain Chava for himself (for he thought that she would first offer the fruit to Adam who would then die).

A forgiving Creator spared the lives of Adam and Chava. The serpent, however, was immediately condemned to lose its legs and to slither on its belly and eat the dust of the earth for eternity – for it had spoken lashon ha’ra against Hashem (when it tried to convince Chava that a jealous G-d did not want man to possess the knowledge only obtainable by eating from the Etz HaDa’as).

Hopefully, you are on the road to a full recovery from your ordeal and are receiving both therapeutic and legal counsel in order to cope and deal with the unfortunate circumstance of your children’s unhealthy living conditions.

Preparing for the Purim holiday brings to mind a most remarkable woman – our brave and beautiful Queen Esther, the Megillah’s heroine who used her attributes and then some to help bring about a miraculous outcome for her persecuted people.

Esther HaMalkah’s beauty shone from within; her outstanding trait of discretion, both in her bearing and speech, is one that every woman should make note of and strive to emulate.

Hatzlachah for a better and brighter future… and Simchas Purim!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-147/2009/03/04/

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