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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Real World’

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 1/12/07

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Readers React to Disappointed Husband (9-29) and His Critics (11-10/17/24)

Dear Rachel,

The letters in response to Disappointed Husband consisted of back-and-forth quibbling about love versus attraction and polished but empty career women versus frumpy but loving homemakers.

The main problem is that women these days are stretched too thin.

Society marries men off at around 22, often without concrete plans for supporting a family. Their wives are thus being forced into the workplace to cover the expenses. Between self, work, home, and the large number of children that we Baruch Hashem are having, many women are overburdened and must compromise priorities. When weighed against the mortgage and the children, the husband is often the first to be neglected.

We have to work our men harder. Women are falling apart picking up the slack, and the Jewish family is suffering. The time has come to balance our aversion to “materialism” and insistence on young men’s spiritual growth with an honest acknowledgement that the cost of supporting a frum family these days is in the six figures and climbing. Boys should be rushed through GED programs if necessary and sped into lucrative jobs, like marketing and the sciences, so that they are financially prepared to marry.

Money issues have turned the shidduch scene into a competition over whose parents have the deepest pockets. And now, as the letters to your column prove, they are eating into ourshalom bayis. Let’s take care of them.

A Realist

Dear Realist,

That we live in a materialistic world that goads us into wanting it all is unfortunately the way it is. Consequently, fortification of our spirituality is a dire necessity to counteract the inducements we are confronted with. But there is that fine line that allows us to take advantage of modern day conveniences – which in turn actually serve to provide us with more time for spiritual reinforcement. Simply stated, anything taken to an extreme will prove harmful rather than beneficial, whether it is overindulgence of materialism or staying the learning course despite financial exigency.

The focus of the letter that prompted readers to state their points of view centered on the traditional family – man of the house as wage earner, woman as homemaker. All the same, women in the workforce (unfortunately the focal point of our Disappointed Husband’s concentration) are here to stay – and are, by and large, making significant contributions to the business world.

There is no blanket solution for all families. Each has to base its decision on its own special and individual circumstance. Generally speaking, you make a valid argument. A couple embarking on a life together should be prepared to meet the needs of a growing family. Among a father’s responsibilities is to ensure his son’s preparedness for life’s journey – both in a ruchnius and gashmius capacity.

Dear Rachel,

I have some questions to ask of the woman who touts looking good for the hubby all the time. Does she wear her best clothes when she is cleaning the oven? When she gets up in the morning, must she rush and present herself in a glamorous way before she can say good morning to her husband with whom she just shared her sleeping quarters? Does she suggest that we wear our Shabbat best when taking out the garbage?

There is a time and place to “dress up and to dress down.” Must a woman wear makeup 24/7 – even when she is giving birth? Following the birth of my son, I was told “could you dress up for visitors who will come (to the hospital) to see you?” a half-hour after a 12-hour labor and delivery ordeal, by my late step-mom!

The fact is we cannot always look like kings and queens. As long as we are presentable and maintain cleanliness, there is nothing wrong with wearing casual clothes around the house. Do we wear ball gowns while bathing the kids, cooking, cleaning, or engaging in other mundane chores?

The notion that women are to be “made up” morning, noon and night is unrealistic and fanciful, as well as unhealthy. (Our pores need to breathe.) And why all this concentration on “packaging?” With trust, kindness and respect between spouses, we set the right example for our children. Is it beauty and perfection that we want in the home, or real life?

As for the original letter writer who started this hot debate, my main concern is how the husband treats his wife, not the robe that she wears.

May Hashem bless all our homes and help us build Bayit Ne’eman B’Yisrael.

Living in the Real World

Dear Living,

Many of our readers seem to associate the robe and snood with sloppiness and unsightliness. In truth, there are women who wear a snood well, even while others wouldn’t be caught dead in one. Robes, too, can be most flattering and stylish – or ill fitting and unattractive. It all depends on the wearer. If she takes pride in her appearance, she will look good whether she wears designer labels or hand-me-downs.

A husband who genuinely loves his wife will love her all the more when he is greeted at the end of his workday by the mouth-watering scents of homemade fare and bright-eyed children fresh from being bathed. Some flour dusting on his wife’s robe or wet rolled up sleeves won’t bother him a whit.

For, as you say, at the end of the day the qualities of the virtuous wife will override the artificial exterior of the woman whose every hair is in place and who won’t risk damaging her freshly manicured fingernails.

A word of caution to women whose husbands prefer that they dispense with the robe and/or snood: you must not have any hesitation in deferring to your spouse. Maintaining shalom bayis and creating an aura of good feelings that come from pleasing one another are top priorities.

A Visit From Beyond

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

During this past Yom Tov, I spent some time with my son who lives out of town. One of the first things he asked caught me off guard, but also brought me joy. He wanted to know if I had gone to the cemetery. I immediately understood what he was asking – and I said yes. I did go and had personally invited my parents to his upcoming wedding.

I was pleased that he asked, because honoring parents does not end with their passing. Nor does their connection with you end. Since my parents’ passing in recent years, we have conversed many times, albeit in the pre-dawn hours, in dreams.

Therefore, I was not surprised when that very night, my father, Chaim ben Aharon Yosef HaCohen, came to me in a dream. Usually, I am a spectator, watching the dream as if it were a movie. This time, I saw myself on the phone and my father was on the other end. At the beginning of the dream, I watched myself dialing my parents’ number – one that they had for over 35 years. I saw my father pick up the receiver. I remember seeing myself look surprised and exclaiming, “Daddy, you’re back – why didn’t anyone tell me that you were back from Israel?”

My father just smiled. Suddenly, I realized – how could this be? He has passed away. I woke up with a start. I then understood that he wanted me to know that he had accepted the invitation to his grandson’s wedding.

Half awake, I remember being deeply touched by this scenario. In his life, my father, a Holocaust survivor who had lost 10 siblings and over 50 of their children, was quiet, passive and subdued. He preferred that my mother take care of personal business. In Olam Habah, the Real World, he has become confident and in charge, and has appeared to me that way in his other dream-visits to me.

In my family, visits from those who have passed on are taken very seriously. One of my earliest memories is being told how my mother’s father, Shimon Bredin, a”h, had saved my mother’s life in Auschwitz, even though he had already been long murdered. He and his wife had been selected for death by the Nazi monster doctor, Yosef Mengele, whom the inmates called the Angel of Death. They were gassed since they were middle-aged and deemed unfit for slave labor.

My mother, a starving teenager, was planning to go to the camp kitchen and try to find some work in an attempt to get more food for her and her sickly sisters. On the night before she planned to approach the kitchen staff, her father came to her in a dream and warned her not to go. She listened to his warning and didn’t go. In doing so, she saved her life since the Nazi commander on a whim had ordered all the kitchen help to be gassed and replaced with new inmates.

As I grew up, I would often share this story with my friends, who in turn would confide in me that their family had similar stories. I remember the story of a friend’s brother who, as an infant, was suffocating when his head was caught in his crib bars. His mother was warned by her mother in a dream to go and check on the baby.

It is easy to be skeptical about these stories – how can the dead reach out to us? Some may think it is wishful thinking to believe in encounters from beyond. But the answer may be in the prayer we say first thing as we get up – Modeh Ani, where we thank G-d for being merciful and returning our souls. The implication is that the soul had departed – that we were temporarily in another world.

I imagine that while we may be on the Other Side, our departed must travel quite a distance down to our level as they are on such a high madraiga (level) in Olam Haba that we would not be able to reach them. That is likely why we don’t dream about them every night.

They reach out to us only during special occasions. Like accepting a wedding invitation and letting their daughter know that they will be there to share in her joy and to shep nachas as she escorts her son to his future.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/a-visit-from-beyond/2004/11/17/

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