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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Mishloach Manos’

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Candy Time Again: Another concerned reader’s perspective

(See Chronicles of Sept 28 & Oct 19)

Dear Rachel,

Your response to “Concerned Bubby” about the candy problem is disturbing indeed. But it reflects a much bigger problem. As a guest in many frum homes, chassidish and Litvish, I’ve witnessed this obsession with sweets getting completely out of hand — a health problem you merely pooh-pooh away. Shocking!

What you don’t seem to understand is that training children to overindulge –especially on sugar – sets them up for a myriad of health problems as adults. You are literally grooming the bodies’ cells for obesity and diabetes.

As an example of this insanity: A mother told me that her son (about 6 years old) already had a mouthful of cavities. As I recall, nearly every tooth. Yet, Shabbos he was still given candies and sweetened drinks. Is this not insanity?

I have seen kids proudly show me their spoils from shul, loads of sweet “junk.” More than they could possibly eat.

The glut is especially high on Purim — before Pesach. Is this some masochistic tendency? Mommies just adore cleaning and hunting for sticky chametz in drawers, closets and under beds.

Candies are given as rewards in school. I remember when we got stars and stickers. Why are the yeshivas – our “frum culture” – equating reward with gashmius (materialism), and unwholesome at that! Bad for mind and body.

Stop it already!

We can learn a great deal from the Biblical commentator, the Ramban, who discusses “Naval Birshus HaTorah” – being disgusting within the framework of Torah. Just because something is kosher does not give us license to gorge.

As far as what you stated about maturity, I have heard many a time that famous “adult” excuse at the Shabbos table for overeating: “I’m eating for the extra ‘neshama‘ (soul) I get on Shabbos.” Please!

But this is just a symptom of an overall “sickness.” At one time families were so poor that cakes and candies were luxuries. Now, luxury is the norm in many Orthodox homes. We are furthermore obsessed with any cuisine alien to Judaism, be it Japanese, Chinese, Italian… so long as it is something exotic and expensive.

Our frum culture today actually mirrors the goyish society we are so intent on avoiding. We have lost the sense of Yiddishkeit, of really feeling Jewish.

Most of the songs on Jewish radio are just rock music adapted to Tehillim. And wedding music must blast like an acid rock concert. Even today’s chazzanim are more “entertainers” than the sweet singers of old in baal tefilla style. (As my zeide a”h was a chazzan, I know.)

Mishloach Manos is given the way non-Jews give Xmas presents. We have lost the whole idea Mordechai and Esther intended. We are required to give two prepared foods to a fellow Jew. But no, everyone in the “shtetl” has to get one and everyone must outdo the other. Keep up with the Shapiros… the more expensive and lavish, the better.

The same with weddings and simchas in general — thousands of dollars are spent on but a few hours of celebration.

Then you read about children starving. Has this frum culture no shame? Does just stamping a kosher sign on something make it Jewish or Torahdik?

We read about the lulav and esrog symbolizing the achdus of all Jews, and yet self-righteous individuals view other Jews with disdain because they practice different minhagim (customs).

How many chassidic sects fight each other?

As far as summer camp is concerned, when did that start? Children stayed at home and helped their parents, or found something to do to earn a little money. Each generation is getting more and more spoiled in gashmius and more and more starved in ruchnius (spirituality) — as in understanding, kindness, self-sacrifice and respect of others and especially elders.

These young minds spend all day in school during winter and then are thrown into summer camp, away from the very people who should be teaching and molding them.

In light of all this, is it any wonder our frum kids are going off the derech? What else are they seeing but hypocrisy and parents who don’t want to spend time with them… to bond, to talk about their problems, to feel WANTED?

The yeshivas are no less to blame, encouraging this sense of hypocrisy. Why should yeshivas have instances of bullying and other abuses? Where are the teachers? Where are the parents?

A Sweet Sales Agent

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Purim was less than a month away. Advertisements for Mishloach Manos baskets sprouted on the shul bulletin board. The most prominent ad depicted various mouthwatering baskets, with prices to match:

“Make Purim Memorable! Manny’s Magnificent Mehadrin Mishloach Manos offers a range of baskets to suit every taste and budget. Your shul representative is Mr. Jerry Lewis. Please place orders by Rosh Chodesh Adar to ensure timely delivery.”

A week before Purim, Manny brought 250 baskets of Mishloach Manos to Jerry’s house. “We’ll put them over there in the corner of the living room,” Jerry said. The two men unloaded the baskets into the house.

“Manny’s Mishloach Manos baskets have arrived,” Jerry announced in shul. “Orders can be picked up from me 7-10 p.m.”

During the following days most of the baskets were collected. Jerry looked forward to receiving 20 percent of the sales profits from Manny in payment for his efforts.

Three days before Purim, Jerry came home from work in the afternoon. He grew concerned when he saw one of the windows was open. He entered the house and saw that the remaining Mishloach Manos baskets were gone.

Jerry called Manny to inform him of the theft. “Our house was broken into,” he said. “Fifty baskets of Mishloach Manos were stolen!”

“I can’t believe it!” exclaimed Manny. “That’s a thousand dollars’ worth of baskets. Did you keep the house locked?”

“Yes, the door and windows were locked,” said Jerry. “The thief pried open a window.”

“It’s a shame there weren’t window gates,” replied Manny. “Who’s going to pay for this?”

“I suggest we let Rabbi Dayan work this one out for us,” replied Jerry.

The two came before Rabbi Dayan. “We have an unfortunate case to discuss,” Manny said. “Mr. Lewis agreed to sell Mishloach Manos baskets for 20 percent profit, but some baskets were stolen from his house. Is he responsible for them?”

“Was the house properly locked?” asked Rabbi Dayan.

“Of course,” said Jerry. “The thief pried open one of the windows.”

Rabbi Dayan turned to Manny: “Were you aware that the baskets were being kept in the living room?”

“Yes,” answered Manny. “I unloaded the baskets there.”

“It might seem, at first glance, that Mr. Lewis is responsible,” said Rabbi Dayan, “but there are two reasons to exempt him.”

“Can you please explain?” asked Manny.

“A sales agent is considered a shomer sachar [paid guardian] on the merchandise he holds,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Therefore, in principle, he is responsible for theft and loss of the merchandise. This is true even if he hasn’t earned any profit yet, since he has the potential of profit from the sales.” (C.M. 185:7; 186:2; Pischei Choshen, Pikakon 1:5)

“But I kept the baskets in my house like the rest of my possessions,” said Jerry. “We’ve never had a break-in before.”

“A shomer sachar is obligated in theft even if he guards the entrusted item the same as his own property,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “He is being paid to watch extra carefully.” (303:10-11)

“Why, then, should Jerry be exempt?” asked Manny with surprise. “This seems a classic case of theft.”

“Although a shomer sachar is generally obligated in theft and is expected to watch extra carefully, he can stipulate with the owner for a lower level of responsibility,” said Rabbi Dayan. (296:5) “A number of authorities maintain that when the owner was aware of the conditions in which the merchandise would be kept, it is considered as a stipulation that such guardianship suffices. Here, you knew the baskets would be kept in the house and Mr. Lewis would go to work daily. Similarly, some exempt a sales agent if he guarded the merchandise in the customary manner of such merchandise, since this is the common business practice and expectation of the supplier.” (P.C., Pikadon 3:[53]; Divrei Geonim 95:69)

“What is the other reason to exempt?” asked Jerry.

“Although a sales agent is considered a shomer sachar on account of the expected share of profits, he is not being paid explicitly to guard the merchandise, but for his efforts in selling it,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Therefore, some authorities write that he does not carry liability when he kept the merchandise the way people regularly do, unlike a true shomer sachar who is expected to be extra careful.” (Pischei Teshuvah 303:1; P.C., Pikadon 3:[54])

“If I am exempt from the theft,” said Jerry, “I suppose Manny also has to pay my share of profits?”

“Because both reasons to exempt are subject to debate,” concluded Rabbi Dayan, “if Manny has not paid you and you do not hold any of the sales money, he can withhold payment of your profit or wages against the value of the theft.”

The two men thanked Rabbi Dayan and left the beis din.

Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to subscribe@businesshalacha.com. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.com.

‘How Do I Cope?’ (Conclusion)

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

In my last column I published a letter from a woman whose husband, like many others, was experiencing financial reversals. While in the past they had been prosperous, overnight everything changed. She was concerned for her husband’s health since he has a history of high blood pressure and heart problems. He had become tense, irritable and depressed. She conceded that she herself was in the same emotional state – and her mood was impacting on her children.

She wrote that she and her husband support their married daughter, son-in-law and two small children in Jerusalem, where he is learning. While this never presented difficulties, it has now become problematic. She doesn’t know how to break the news to them. Additionally, she has a 19-year old daughter who is in the shidduch parshah and is also hoping for a husband who will be learning. “How can I tell my daughter,” she asked, “that we won’t be able to do for her what we did for her sister?”

The writer of the letter then went on to detail many other problems, including the high cost of tuition and camp fees for her other children. She also mentioned Purim coming up and the expenses that she has incurred in the past sending Mishloach Manos to relatives, friends, shul members, business associates, and her children’s rebbis and teachers. To sum it up, she felt devastated and panicked at the challenges looming ahead and wondered how she would cope. The following is my reply.

My Dear Friend:

Undoubtedly, these are difficult times. To one extent or another, the financial meltdown has impacted on all of us. Almost every week at our Hineni Center, people of all ages and backgrounds share their financial woes with me. Many have lost their jobs, cannot find new employment, and have difficulty meeting their everyday needs. As critical and painful as the situation may be, we should not mistake it as a threat to our lives or our survival. Undoubtedly, it involves our parnassah, our ability to support our families and ourselves, but just the same,it is not debilitating or terminal illness, nor is it our Shalom Bayis or the lives of our families, if, that is, we are determined not to make it such. I realize that this is easier said than done, since a financial crisis can place our health and Shalom Bayis at risk. But that’s precisely why we have to be on guard not to allow such tragic consequences to unfold.

There is a wonderful story about a pious Jew in ashtetlwho was plagued by terrible poverty. Sukkos was approaching and he didn’t have money to buy an esrog. He suffered great anguish because of this. How could he celebrate this great Yom Tov without an esrog?

He had no assets and lived from day-to-day, trusting in Hashem. He did, however, possess an heirloom that had been passed down from generation to generation in his family. That heirloom was a special treasure to him and his wife. But, he reasoned, as precious as that heirloom was to him, it would not enable him to keep Hashem’s holy mitzvah of making a blessing on the esrog.

So he decided that he would sell the heirloom and purchase an esrog. When his wife came home and noticed that the family heirloom was missing, she asked, “Where is the heirloom?”

“I sold it.”

“You did what?” she cried in outrage.

“I sold it,” he repeated, “so that we might have an esrog for Sukkos.” And as he spoke, she spotted the beautiful esrog sitting on the shelf. As she spoke, she spotted the beautiful esrog sitting on the shelf. Filled with rage, she grabbed it and smashed it to the ground.

The man began to tremble in disbelief. Surely this couldn’t be happening. He wanted to yell and scream, but then he caught himself and began to reason in his mind. The heirloom is gone…the esrog is gone – am I now going to lose my Shalom Bayis and health as well? No! He resolved – a thousand times no! I will not allow myself to fall into that trap.

The response of that pious Jew should resonate with all of us. It’s bad enough that we are experiencing a financial crisis. Are we now to place our health,shalom bayis and our families in crisis as well?

So, first and foremost, resolve not to fall into this trap. Remember, we are Yidden! We experienced trials and tribulations throughout the centuries. There is no pain or suffering that we did not endure. In our own time, we witnessed the Holocaust…the entire world was convinced that we had reached our end, and tragically, it’s not over yet! Islamic extremists are spilling our blood, terrorizing our people; Baruch Hashem, we are here! Now if we were able to survive such cataclysmic catastrophes, surely, we will be able to overcome this financial crisis as well. We need only learn to tackle our problems the Torah way.

As I write this article, it is Parshas Mishpatim, in which many of the struggles of the indigent, the downtrodden, are dealt with. There can perhaps be no poverty more abject than the plight of the man who has only one garment or blanket and must now offer it as collateral for his debts.

Regarding such an individual, the Torah admonishes his creditor to return the item every day and not deprive the poor man of his clothing or dignity. Failure on the part of the lender to comply can result in terrible consequences, for the Torah warns that, if the poor man cries out to G-d, He will surely listen (Exodus 22: 25-6).

What is puzzling in the text however is that the word, “V’Hayah – And it shall be when he cries out, G-d will surely listen.” This expression, “V’Hayah,” always connotes joy so how can a man in such dire straits be joyous?

The Torah teaches that he can, if, that is, he knows in his heart that there is a G-d he can turn to who will listen to his cries. That knowledge, that emunah, faith, will enable him to soar above his penurious condition. That faith is more powerful than any poverty; that faith has enabled our people to survive the centuries and overcome all vicissitudes, and that faith can sustain us today. We need only tap into it.

At the very genesis of our history, following our Exodus from Egypt, we sojourned for 40 years in the barren desert where Hashem sustained us with manna. But manna was a peculiar food. We were to take only the allotted portion that was our daily ration, and those who gathered more discovered that their manna rotted. Thus, early on, Hashem taught us basic principle of Jewish life…emunah. Yes, to have faith that Hashem would provide for tomorrow even as He did today. That faith is your heritage – never lose sight of it!

Having said all this, let us consider some practical suggestions for your dilemma.

Bear in mind the story that I related, and internalize its mussar – moral. Repeat in your mind: “It’s bad enough that we are experiencing a financial crisis. I am not going to place our health and family in crisis as well.”

That thought should steady you and prevent depression. As a wife and mother, there is much that you can do to remove the stress from your husband and children. By encouraging him, you will strengthen him, by assuring him that, with G-d’s help, you will manage, you will imbue him with confidence, and by putting a smile on your face you will put a smile on his. Smiles are infectious and if you are consistent, your children will smile with you as well. I realize that this will not be easy, so keep in mind a teaching of the Breslover Rebbe that my beloved husband of blessed memory, HaRav Meshulem HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, would often quote: “When there is no reason to smile, put a smile on your face and Hashem will give you every reason to smile.” Simply put, you cannot afford to collapse or be depressed. There is just too much as stake. Be strong – that’s what being an aishes chayil is all about.

As for your children you must tell them the truth. They are not made of tissue paper. They too have to be strong and become innovative about finding some sort of work. Unquestionably, it will be a struggle, but struggle can make them stronger as well.

Years of plenty and pampering have left many of our young people with feelings of entitlement, but if challenged, their Yiddishe neshamos will come to the fore and B’Ezrat Hashem, they will make it.

As for your single daughter who is in the shidduch parshah – you must be frank with her as well. Explain to her that if she truly desires to have a husband who learns full-time, she can follow the example of the many young kollel wives who work and support their families, or she might consider marrying someone who is kovea itim – combines learning with working. In either case, with Hashem’s help, it will be okay.

It is also important that you and your husband take a good look at your finances and determine where you can trim and cut back…one of those items may be the costly Mishloach Manos to which you referred. There is no requirement to send elaborate Mishloach Manos to multitudes of people. Even if you didn’t find yourself in difficult financial straits, I would advise you to spend less on Mishloach Manos and more to Matanos L’Evyonim – gifts to the poor. A second look at the lavish Mishloach Manos in which people try to outdo one another is long overdue.

In general, I believe that it is a good idea for all families nowadays, even if they are not affected by the meltdown, to become more modest in their spending and try to help their brethren who are less fortunate. And if we do that, if we feel for one another, encourage one another, and share with one another, then surely Hashem will help us.

Finally, you write that you have always been a “stay-at-home mom” and have no experience in the work place. But sometimes, circumstances demand that we tackle challenges that we have hitherto not considered. If your situation is truly critical, then I would recommend that you explore every job opportunity. Don’t be embarrassed to speak to friends, acquaintances…let people know that you are looking for work. Many organizations offer guidance in this regard. Research it, and as you do so, remember, there is no shame in working.

Keep a positive attitude, even if it means that you must pretend. Remember the teaching of Sefer HaChinuch – “A man is shaped by his deeds,” so if you pretend long enough after a while you will discover that that which at first was pretense, has become second nature, and of course, don’t forget the most important ingredient of all – Daven! Prayer is one of the most powerful tools that we possess. Seize it – it works!

May Hashem be with you, guide you and bring the geulah to all our people.

Latest In Kosher Food

Friday, April 11th, 2003

 Purim Delights

Fruit Leather (Stretch Island Fruit, OK parve)
is a 100% natural snack. 100% natural means no
added sugar, no artificial colors or flavors, no fat and
cholesterol ¡? and great taste. The Wild Apple tastes
like a green apple, the Mucho Mango tastes like a slice
of mango, etc. But you get more than great taste and a
healthy snack. On each package of fruit leather is an
interesting humorous jingle about the flavor you are
about to eat, so you get something to read as well. For
Purim, include Stretch Island Fruit Leather in a box
with a bottle of water, a package of nuts and seeds
and call your Mishloach Manos “A Traveling Snack.”

Bellagio Gourmet Hot Cocoa (Caffe D'Amore,
OU dairy) is the best hot chocolate you will ever taste.
Rich European chocolate combined with an amazing
choice of flavors creates a taste sensation that will
delight your palate. From Chocolate Truffle and White
Cholocate to Raspberry Parfait and Orange Pecan,
there are flavors to satisfy your every mood and
craving. There is also a collection called Chai Amore,
which features creamy tea lattes made from the finest
ingredients. These products can be found in specialty
stores or on the web at www.caffedamore.com For
Purim, fill a basket with a selection of hot cocoa
flavors, a package of biscotti and bag of mini
marshmallows and your Mishloach Manos becomes “A
Relaxing Break.”

YoCrunch (The Yofarm Company, OU dairy) is
a yogurt adored by both parent and child. What could
be better than serving your child a snack that is 99%
fat-free, healthy, and yet something that he will love
to eat? YoCrunch comes in a typical 6-oz yogurt
container with a special crunch-on-top section. The
toppings can be added to the yogurt, eaten separately
or saved for later. While all the combinations taste
great, the overwhelming favorite in this office was the
Cookies n'Cream, which is vanilla yogurt with Oreo
cookie crunch. YoCrunch can be found in your local
kosher grocery or supermarket. For a Purim twist, fill
a basket with a YoCrunch, a box of cereal and a small
carton of juice and make your Mishloach Manos
“Breakfast to Go.”

L'Chaim (BBM Chocolate, OU parve) has
added some new products to an already incredible line
¡? crunchy granola and muffin bars. Found in your
local kosher grocery, these healthy snacks are a tasty
treat and a great addition to Mishloach Manos no
matter what your theme.

Polenta (San Gennaro Foods, Kof-K parve) is
an ancient Italian product similar to cornmeal mush.
Originally made from millet or spelt, and a staple of
the Roman soilder's diet, this product is now made
from corn and can be found in a variety of ethnic
dishes. Polenta is a great substitute for pasta, and is
higher in fiber as well. In our office, we fried it lightly
in a pan coated with cooking spray and then added
tomato sauce ¡? it was both delicious and filling. For
recipes visit www.polenta.net. Polenta comes in a
variety of flavors and can be found in your local super-
market. Please be sure to look for the Kof-K on the
packages before purchasing. For an interesting Purim
twist, shape the polenta into hamantashen before
frying and feast on a crunchy treat.

Have a very happy and safe Purim.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/food/jewish-fress/latest-in-kosher-food-2/2003/04/11/

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