web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘mother’

In Hebrew: ‘Pamper’

Monday, May 13th, 2013

לְפַנֵּק In many countries all over the world yesterday it was Mothers Day – יוֹם הָאֵם, in Hebrew.

Here’s a song by Arik Einstein dedicated to his mother. I venture to say it might be sung for most mothers. One of the lines in the song is:

אִמָּא, אִמָּא אַתְּ פִּנַּקְתְּ אֹתִי Mom, mom, you pampered me פינקת comes from the active-intensive פִּעֵל verb, לְפַנֵּק, which also means to indulge someone.

Other forms of this root:

לְהִתְפַּנֵּק- to indulge oneself – a reflexive-intensive הִתְפַּעֵל verb מְפֻנָּק, מְפֻנֶּקֶת- spoiled person, overly-indulged (referring to a male and female, respectively) – an adjective deriving from a passive-intensive פֻּעַל verb. לפנק has its source in Biblical Hebrew.

Visit Ktzat Ivrit.

Shabbos Mevorchim Teves

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Our Jewish calendar is based on the lunar year, and Rosh Chodesh, literally the head of the month, occurs when the moon renews itself. It is a holiday — in that we daven mussaf, just like on Shabbos and Yomim Tovim, we do not conduct fasts, and the pious among our people eat a special seudah. Traditionally, women do not sew on Rosh Chodesh and refrain from performing heavy-duty tasks.

Rosh Chodesh was presented to women as a special reward for not partaking in the construction of the Golden Calf; when their husbands asked them wives for their gold rings, the women refused to hand them over for this purpose.

Originally, the days of Rosh Chodesh were intended to be a gift for the people in merit of the twelve tribes, but the tribes forfeited their entitlement to this benefit when they sinned with the Golden Calf, and the holiday was subsequently given to women who did not participate in the fiasco.

The Pirkei d’Rebbe Eliezer further states that just as the moon regains its youth at the beginning of each month, woman will be rewarded in the World to Come by being rejuvenated every month. One cannot help but note the contrast between this and Avraham Avinu’s request of Hashem — that man be endowed with visible signs of aging, so that the age difference between father and son could be discerned and proper respects be conferred upon the elder. (This was the first time since Adam HaRishon that the concept of zekeinim came into being.)

This Shabbos we bentch the new month of Teves, which falls on Friday (December 14 on the English calendar) and heralds the month that saw the birth and passing of Avraham Avinu, as well as the birth of Shimon, the second son born to Leah Imeinu.

The yahrzeits of many luminaries are celebrated during this month, among them the Rambam (20 Teves), the Baal HaTanya and the Shem MiShmuel (24 Teves), and Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch and HaRav Pinchas Hirschprung (27 Teves). Here I must add that I had the distinct honor of being in the presence of HaRav Hirschprung z”l but fear I was much too young to appreciate the privilege or even to properly absorb the import of his teaching at our Rosh Chodesh assemblies in Bais Yaakov of Montreal eons ago.

A couple of striking calamities befell us during this month: Ezra HaSofer and Nechemya ben Chachalya passed away on the ninth day of Teves, and it was on the tenth day of the month (Asara b’Teves) that the king of Babylon lay siege to Jerusalem, which eventually led to the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash on Tisha b’Av.

The eighth day of Teves saw the Greeks coercing the seventy-two Sages of Israel to translate the Torah into Greek — a most unfortunate occurrence that brought spiritual darkness upon the Jewish people. The last two lights of Chanukah that are lit in the month of Teves serve to illuminate all of its days and to nullify its forces of evil.

* * *

The Rambam in his later years had served as personal physician to the king of Egypt. Thus, upon the Rambam’s passing, the king ordered that a magnificent carriage drawn by six horses escort the holy man’s remains to Eretz Yisrael. The aron was escorted by thousands of weeping Jews.

Upon entrance to the Holy Land, hundreds more joined the procession — but along the way an argument broke out between the Jews of Jerusalem and those of Teverya; the former wanted their Rebbe to be interred in the holy city, while the latter insisted that he be interred next to his kin in Teverya.

In the midst of this altercation a band of robbers intercepted the group, forcing its members to abandon the carriage as they ran for cover. The horses then broke into a gallop and didn’t break stride until they arrived in Teverya, where they came to rest near the kevarim of the Rambam’s relatives.

Needless to say, this was taken to be the Rambam’s way of signaling his preferred burial place.

* * *

While the Baal HaTanya was imprisoned due to the false propaganda spread by the misnagdim, he once received a personal visit from a minister who asked him to explain the pasuk in Bereishis where Hashem asks Adam “Ayeika?” (Where are you?) The visitor was intrigued: Does God not know everything?

Road To Recovery

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Dear Brocha,

Thank you so much for your column and for shining light on this matter.

Addiction has been gnawing at the souls of our community for a long time. Yet, it still remains a disease that is swept under the table.

At first, when I found out that my wife of 21 years was addicted to pain killers I was relieved!

She has been suffering mood swings the likes of which I had never seen before, since our three-year-old son passed away about six years ago.

Soon after he was niftar, my wife fell into a deep depression. She went to doctors who prescribed painkillers to help her cope with his death. Apparently, once she was hooked my wife began taking cocktails of medications without my knowledge. As a result, our lives turned from tragic to chaotic.

We went from grief counselors to marital therapy. However, my wife’s behavior kept getting more erratic. She went from being a warm, caring & loving mother to a paranoid, angry & depressed person whom none of us recognized.

One day, our twelve-year-old daughter came home and found my wife passed out on the floor.

She called Hatzolah, and it was at the hospital that I was made aware of my wife’s addiction.

My wife was frightened that she had a seizure and agreed to go to a rehab to get proper treatment. I was told that her having been found passed out on the floor by our daughter was her rock bottom.

My wife is presently at an out-of-state rehab where the goals are to wean her off the drugs, and then teach her proper coping skills.

The last couple of weeks have been tough on all of us.

My children are ashamed that their mother is a drug addict – and miss her and how she used to be.

I am having a tough time coping with the guilt of not having realized how much she was hurting, and what was truly happening to my family.

Evidently, my drug of choice was to throw myself deeper into my work.

I am beginning to see that I was numbing myself in that way, and wasn’t there for my wife and children when they needed me most.

I have been attending Al-Anon meetings and placed our children into therapy. We are all trying to heal. Yet, I see it’s a slow painful process. The facility my wife is in will be hosting a “family program” next weekend. Thus far, I have already attended two family Sundays by myself and have found them to be highly informative and helpful. My wife looks better each time I see her. Her spunk for life seems to be coming back and I am really hopeful that we have just received a new lease on life! For this upcoming family weekend, my wife’s counselor wants me to bring our children.

Truth be told, ever since my daughter found my wife on the floor, she does not want to have anything to do with her. When my wife was in the hospital she didn’t want to visit, and is refusing to come along for the weekend visitation. When I try talking with her about it, she tells me that her brother’s death affected everyone in the family, but only her mother chose to be a “druggie.” I don’t know what to do? Do I force my daughter to visit her mother? I feel that if she would see for herself how hard her mother is working on her recovery, and how much better she looks, she will be able to let go of some of her anger and resentment. Do I force her or try to trick her into coming?

Trying to keep my family together

Dear Trying,

I feel so sorry for your predicament. My heart goes out to you and your family.

I am also very grateful and impressed that you are so forgiving and understanding of your wife’s addiction.

Addiction is a disease and is treated in the medical community as one. However, socially has yet to accept it as such.

Although your daughter is still young in age, she was obviously forced to grow up very fast.

Two Years Ago – Two Very Special People

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

I have not done this before. I have never memorialized two of the closest people to me in one article. I gave it a lot of thought, and it is not just because they died within hours of each other two years ago that I decided to do this. It is also because there was a tremendous connection between them, and as I thought of each one I was overwhelmed by the similarities.

My mother, Irene Klass, was one of the smartest women I have ever known. She was truly an intellectual. She loved to spar with my husband, Ivan Mauer. He too was brilliant and a true intellectual. They had running debates about the likes of Henry Clay and others from American history. They both liked to cite Shakespeare and challenged each other to finish their quotes. And that was only the beginning. When the two of them were together in a room, it was never boring. I used to marvel at the extent and the depth of their knowledge. And I thrilled at the love and camaraderie that existed between them.

In later years when we would enter Mom’s house, she would say, “Doc take my blood pressure.” He would oblige and say, “Mom you’re like a young girl. If only all my patients had your numbers.” She would smile and then bring up something in the news, and they were off, discussing and debating.

My mom grew up during the Depression years and did not have the luxury of a college education. But no one who knew her could believe that. She was blessed with a photographic memory and a love for learning. She read extensively, and my husband would refer to her as “my mother-in-law the Ph.D.” I was always so proud that I was her daughter.

My husband was also one of the smartest people I ever knew. And his knowledge was so widespread. He read extensively and always had a number of journals he was in the middle of, aside from the daily newspapers. Of course, both my mother and my husband liked The Jewish Press best of all the newspapers.

I always thought that Eishet Chayil could have been written specifically for my mother. She was one in a million. She was full of charity and loving kindness, her hand outstretched to all who needed. I learned so much from her.

All the years I was growing up, my mother was my best friend. She was so different from everyone else. She was ahead of her time in matters of health and raising children. When I had children of my own, I marveled at how right she was long before her ideas were widely acknowledged as the correct way. When she felt something was right, she wasn’t afraid to take a stand. And she recognized quality when she saw it. She was a right hand to my father throughout their married life, and the success of The Jewish Press was no less due to her efforts than to his.

She was open and honest with me and with my sister, Hindy. There was nothing we couldn’t ask her. And from our earliest years we knew that whatever she told us was the absolute truth. She was consistent and fair – the kind of mother others wished was theirs.

My mother did not have the benefit of a yeshiva education, as in those years it was not so accessible, but she was religious to the core of her being. I do not refer to what passes for religious today, when many just look at the outside appearance. Her belief in the Almighty was absolute. She prayed the standard prayers and many of her own.

She was not only modest in dress but also in speech and action. She treated all people with a smiling countenance and asked after their welfare. She helped every type of person, including those whom most others would not even look at.

She wrote countless articles for The Jewish Press that garnered her praise from readers ranging from the author Herman Wouk to Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm.

In a sense she was indescribable, and here I am trying to describe her.

Birth Under Fire with Israel’s Doulas

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Throughout the country, thousands of reservists have been called to the border with Gaza. These men left behind wives, mothers, children and friends. Some have had to say good-bye to their pregnant wives; whether in the first stages of their pregnancy or approaching their due-dates.

For some, the constant threat of rocket fire doesn’t matter. For the doulas of the Israel, there is work to be done. A professional doula is certified to assist at natural births. The doula, unlike a midwife, begins working with the expecting mother long before the birth, and accompanies her during and after the birth, offering both physical and emotional support.

Israeli doulas have formed a group of volunteers who are offering their services free of charge to the residents of the south, women whose husbands have been called to the reserves and any pregnant woman feeling distress due to the security situation. The doulas are divided into smaller groups, based on their residence, and offer immediate support to expecting mothers all over the south. These services include meetings in which the doula visits her client’s home and performs services such as reflexology, massages, and shiatsu. In addition, women who wish to consult a doula can do so via their Facebook group called “Women Supporting Women- Operation Pillar of Defense.”

Doulas at doulas-only tea party.

Doulas at doulas-only tea party.

This group of dedicated volunteers was established by Ravit Stern-Ginat, 33, who has nine years of experience working as a doula. Ravit lives in Alfei Menashe, a community in Samaria. The idea to establish the group came to her when she saw a picture of a pregnant woman hugging her husband as he departed for the reserves. Her immediate thought was that she finally found a way to help. ”Whether before, during or after the pregnancy, being a new mother is no easy task”, Ravit told Tazpit News Agency. “Especially for those who no longer have the support of their significant other. I wanted to help them.”

Ravit turned to her friends and fellow doulas, and their response was, “of course.” Thus began the Facebook group “Women Supporting Women—Operation Pillar of Defense,” currently numbering 1,347. Members of the group include professional doulas, women seeking advice in pregnancy related matters, and some who just seek moral support. Ravit was amazed by the success of the “operation” and at the positive results, just two days after she first thought of the idea. Besides the ever-growing Facebook group, companies have contacted her to offer free gifts for the mothers under her care.

Ravit’s goal is to reach as many women as possible to ensure that they receive the help and support they need. She was interviewed by Israel TV Channel 1. They were impressed by the initiative and the readiness of the volunteers. “We’re making a lot of noise so that we can help as many as possible. We want to help; this is the purpose of our job”, Ravit said.

Yifat and Orly are two of the hundreds of volunteers. Yifat Hovev, 26, mother of three, is living in Jerusalem. She heard of Ravit’s group and loved the idea. To her, this is proof that “we, the Israelis, are all brothers. This is the least we can do.” Yifat’s husband has not been called into the reserves yet, but has been told to be on standby. If he is called, Yifat will continue providing the support.

Orly Kalush, mother of ten and grandmother of four, has dreamt of being a doula since giving birth to her first child. She lives in Maon, a small community south of Hebron. When she saw Ravit’s Facebook page calling for volunteers, she joined immediately. “We are ready to give support everywhere, all areas are covered.” Orly has not yet had the chance to care for an expecting mother affected by the situation in the south. She explains: ”There are just too many doulas who signed on to help!”

Letter to Our Son After Shabbat

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Dear Son,

I hope you had a Torah scroll with your platoon for Shabbat, and that you heard the Torah reading. The Parsha of Toldot begins, “These are the generations of Yitzhak, Avraham gave birth to Yitzhak.” Now this is very strange. When the Torah says, “These are the generations of Yitzhak,” we are ready to hear about the offspring of Yitzhak – Yaakov and Esav – yet the verse continues, “Avraham gave birth to Yitzhak.” Why talk about Avraham? He’s the father not a son! From this, we learn that the father is in the son. The father is passed down to his son and grandchildren from generation to generation. That’s how I feel, right now, as if I am with you on the outskirts of Gaza, waiting for the orders to wipe out Hamas and the other hornets’ nests of terror based in schools, mosques, hospitals, homes, and underground tunnels under the city, where they are hiding like cockroaches in the dark.

Over Shabbat, I remembered back to the Gulf War. Just before the missiles started falling on Tel Aviv, I had been called to milluim and was doing reserve military duty in the all Arab city of Tulkarim. You were maybe nine months old at the time. When the first missiles were launched, soldiers with beards received an order to shave, so that gas masks would fit better in case the missiles were armed with chemical heads. So I shaved. I didn’t tell your mother, thinking I would surprise her when I came home on leave, and sure enough, when I knocked on the front door several days later, the second she saw me, she gasped and retreated back into the living room, startled, as if some strange frightening caller was standing at the door. But the minute you saw me, you called out, “Ba!” and came crawling like a rocket, recognizing me immediately, even though I didn’t have a beard. When I picked you up, you were as happy as could be. “These are the generations of Yitzhak, Avraham gave birth to Yitzhak.” Father and son. Son and father. We’re the same.

So know that I am with you. So is your mother. The whole Shabbat, she waited for the moment she could turn on the radio to learn what was happening. Of course, when the warning siren suddenly sounded in Yerushalayim on Shabbat evening, and a distant boom shattered the tranquility, that brought the war even closer for your mother. More reservists were called up during Shabbat, and we heard rumors that troops would be sent to the north as well, but wherever you are, and whatever you end up doing, know that ever role is vital, whether it be that of a pilot, or the soldier that loads the bomb on the plane, the controller in the computer room, or the “jobnik” who folds the emergency parachute. King David made sure that everyone in the army of Israel received the same share of the booty, the soldiers that fought in the front, and those who stayed behind to guard over the camp.  “All for one, and one for all.”

Because I am in you, like Avraham was in Yitzhak, I know many of the things you are feeling. Even though you have received the finest training, going into battle is not an easy thing. You have a sensitive and caring soul, and even though you are as big and strong as Samson, in civilian life you wouldn’t hurt a fly. But as we learn in this week’s Torah portion, sometimes Yaakov has to dress in the clothes of Esav to bring blessing to the world. At his mother’s urging, to receive his father’s blessing, Yaakov puts goat skins on his arms, so that when his blind father embraces him, he will think it is indeed his eldest son, the hairy hunter Esav.

Rabbi Kook explains the story represents the victory of the forces of good over the forces of evil. Yet to triumph over the wicked Esav, the holy and righteous Yaakov is forced to resort to cruelty and deception.  Though it goes against his inner nature, Yaakov takes up the characteristics of Esav, the hunter, murderer, schemer, and warrior, to insure that the blessing of Avraham comes to the world through its proper channel.  Like today, when the Nation of Israel is forced to adopt Esav weapons of killing and war, it goes into battle not for the sake of destruction, but to bring an end to all killing and wars. Not out of a beastly passion for killing and war, like that of our enemies in Gaza, but out of the knowledge that this is the only way to make the world a better place. The arms and armies are like the arms and armies of Esav, but the voice is the voice of Yaakov. We fight when we have to, not for the sake of killing, but to put an end to all killing and bloodshed.

When we have to, we take up the rifles of Esav, but we are still Yaakov inside, guided by the light of the Torah. We have no other choice. In a world that lives by the sword, we have to take up the sword too. We cannot merely sit and pray for miracles. One of the commandments of the Torah is “Milchemet Mitzvah,” the mitzvah to go to war to defend Jewish life and to conquer the Land of Israel and keep it under out own Jewish sovereignty. You, my dear son, are engaged in a “Milchemet Mitzvah” twice over – defending the lives of the million Jew under rocket fire, and fighting enemies whose goal is to conquer our Land.

Not only am I and you mother with you. Our whole nation is with you. The Torah is with you. Avraham and Yitzhak and Yaakov are with you. The G-d of Israel is with you. Uproot the evil, my son. Go with a clean heart and a clear conscience. For G-d’s honor. For the honor of Israel. For the sake of the world.

Hazak V’Amatz,

Abba

Goodbye Dairy: Hello Tofutti!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Tofu.

For most of us, the word conjures up images of a spongy white unpalatable mass that is best left on the shelf of our local health food emporium.

But for New Jersey resident David Mintz, tofu is a magical substance that holds endless possibilities, particularly for the kosher consumer. For over thirty two years, Mintz’s Tofutti Brands has waved its magic wand, transforming soybean curd into numerous non-dairy delights, most notably, Tofutti, a non-dairy ice cream substitute available nationwide – and in thirty foreign countries.

There is no doubt that Mintz comes by his obsession for feeding people honestly. The son of a Williamsburg baker, he began his career in the food business in the mid 1960′s with a Catskills grocery store, quickly discovering that the real money was in selling prepared foods. He augmented his own recipe base by recruiting help from experienced cooks, by placing an ad in a local publication asking grandmothers to share their cooking secrets with him. Eventually, Mintz relocated to Brooklyn, opening two restaurants there, with a third on Manhattan’s East Side, in addition to a thriving catering business. While customer’s enjoyed Mintz’s menu, he was besieged with requests from those who wanted ice cream for dessert.

“Obviously I couldn’t serve ice cream after a meat based meal,” recalled Mintz. “I lost a lot of business that way. I even had people who would ask me to supply the food for an event and then they would bring in their own ice cream for dessert, but I couldn’t go along with that. I wondered what I could do to solve this problem and that was what spurred me on.”

Having read about tofu, which had long been used in China, Mintz ventured to Chinatown in order to conduct his own trials with the chameleon-like soybean curd. At first taste, tofu left a lot to be desired.

“It tasted like biting into a pillow,” reminisced Mintz.

Undaunted, Mintz began to experiment, discovering early on that while tofu made an impressive non-dairy sour cream substitute and incorporated it into numerous recipes, including quiches and dips. But turning tofu into ice cream was a much more difficult process, ultimately it took Mintz ten years.

“I would close my restaurant at nine and then would begin ‘Tofu Time’, when the ladies would work with me till two, three or even four in the morning, trying to create a passable ice cream product,” said Mintz. “There were so many disappointments and I can’t even begin to count how many times I nearly gave up.”

In fact, it was the Lubavticher Rebbe who provided Mintz with continuous encouragement during his ten-year odyssey.

“The whole block where my Manhattan restaurant was located was bought by Donald Trump in order to make way for Trump Plaza,” explained Mintz. “I kept asking for extensions, but they were razing the entire area and I had to leave. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin from the Upper West Side came into my restaurant and offered to help me out at a new location on 72nd and Broadway. I made all the arrangements and then I went to see the Rebbe for a bracha.”

The Rebbe categorically refused to give his blessing to the new restaurant.

B’shum oyfen nisht, (Absolutely not),” declared the Rebbe.

“Why not,” queried Mintz. “It is a golden opportunity.”

“It is not for you,” responded the Rebbe.

Instead, the Rebbe encouraged Mintz to continue with his tofu experiments, assuring him divine assistance and ultimately worldwide success.

“The Rebbe was my driving force,” recalled Mintz. “He told me I could do the impossible and he urged me to have bitachon, to believe that Hashem would help me. There were many times I was ready to throw in the towel and then I would remember the Rebbe’s words. The next day, I would pick the towel up again and get back to work.”

Mintz’s earliest test runs, at the Welsh Farms plant in Long Valley, New Jersey, were nothing short of disastrous, as the Tofutti prototypes were too viscous for the ice cream machines and literally blew out of the presses, spraying geysers of the ice cream substitute all over the ceiling.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/goodbye-dairy-hello-tofutti/2012/11/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: