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Show Me The Service!

18 Sivan 5772 – June 7, 2012
I am on a bus as I write this article and the ride will be at least 11 hours. For me, one of the big draws of traveling in a manner most would feel is quite tedious, is that several long distance bus companies offer free WIFI service. This allows me the opportunity to possibly enrich myself financially (by watching the ebb and flow of the stock market); educate myself (by reading various online newspapers, including The Jewish Press); entertain myself (downloading the many humorous, sometimes witty, satirical articles/photos/cartoons available to brighten a person’s day) or write a column, (and for a change not have the pressure of stressfully productive hours before my deadline) – all time consuming activities that should make time pass quickly.

The Taste Of Love

15 Sivan 5772 – June 4, 2012
“I think I’m going to stay alone for Yom Tov,” I said, shivering with the frightening finality of the words. The rav sprung into action. He pulled open the fridge and pulled out a small tin of sliced gefilte fish. He pulled open the freezer and pulled out a pan of roasted chicken.

Parshas Bamidbar

4 Sivan 5772 – May 24, 2012
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In The Past We See Our Future

3 Sivan 5772 – May 23, 2012
The past is never dead. It’s not even past. – William Faulkner We Jews are a people of memories. Our past defines who we are. The past infuses our religious lives with context, purpose and meaning. How could we be if not for knowing how we were?

Candy Bouquet

27 Iyyar 5772 – May 18, 2012
Looking for a bouquet of flowers that will satisfy everyone’s taste – have we got a sweet idea for you! This beautiful “arrangement” (as easy as an Alef Bais Vase” can be simply assembled and is sure to be the most popular bunch of flowers. All it takes is a trip to the candy store, and let your creativity blossom, as you fill the skewers with candy. As an added bonus these flowers are sure to stay looking fresh throughout Yom Tov…unless they’re not eaten first.

Boundless Miracles Available For The Taking

18 Iyyar 5772 – May 10, 2012
Dear Dr. Respler: The holidays are a great time to learn about ourselves – the good, the bad and the ugly – and then try to make lemonade from the lemons, turn the positive into building blocks, and generally create good things from the lessons learned. The Yamim Tovim are saturated with kedushah, leading to beautifully crafted creations from what one learned and experienced during these holy, spiritual days.

Sefiras Ha’Omer – Why We Count, What We Count

Sefer HaChinuch: The Torah commands us to count the Omer so we can relive the Exodus from Mitzrayim. Just as the Jews back then anxiously anticipated the great day when they were to receive the Torah, so too we count the days till Shavuos, the Yom Tov that commemorates the giving of the Torah. To the Jews then, accepting the Torah on Har Sinai was even greater than their redemption from slavery. So we count each day to bring ourselves to that sense of great enthusiasm, as if to say, “When will that day come?”

Rejoicing Proud Jews: Reflections on Lag B’Omer

18 Iyyar 5772 – May 9, 2012
The victory of the Jewish idea is celebrated on Lag B'Omer. It fits neatly between Israeli Independence Day and Yom Yerushalayim. These three days are all driven by the same spirit: the liberation of Jewish peoplehood, the return to the land, and the reemergence of authentic Jewish culture.

My Own Hashgachah Pratis

27 Nisan 5772 – April 18, 2012
Several weeks ago I started a series on hashgachah pratis, or Divine Providence. Every believing Jew knows that events do not just unfold randomly; the story I told of two brothers named Yaakov and Yedidya clearly testified to that reality in a contemporary setting.

Lifetime Guarantee

24 Nisan 5772 – April 16, 2012
Ever since I’ve started writing “You’re Asking Me?” people have been writing in to ask for advice, like they expect me to have all the answers. Seriously. Don’t these people have any friends? Or anyone else they can ask?

Q & A: Shir HaShirim On Pesach

21 Nisan 5772 – April 12, 2012
Question: Why do we read Shir HaShirim on Pesach? Also, why do we generally read it on the Shabbat of Chol HaMoed as opposed to the first days of Pesach? Finally, why don’t we recite a blessing over the reading of Shir HaShirim as we do for Megillat Esther? Menachem (Via E-Mail)

Preparing For Pesach

8 Nisan 5772 – March 30, 2012
For weeks before Pesach the people in small towns across Poland, Lithuania and Russia lived only with the Yom Tov in mind. The housewives turned their homes upside down, the matzah bakery became alive, tailors and cobblers prepared to meet the seasonal rush, and the children worked themselves into a pitch of excitement, which they could not have endured had they had to wait for the seder night one day longer than they already did.

Personalize It – Crystallize It!

Whether you are staying home for Pesach or going away, it is nice to have something new to enhance this special Yom Tov. With rhinestone monograms now so readily available you can turn many household items from ordinary to extraordinary.

Weighing Our Words Carefully

7 Nisan 5772 – March 29, 2012
Dear Dr. Respler: I am, Baruch Hashem, a healthy mother and grandmother who was recently trying to be helpful to my married daughter. After Shabbos my daughter, who has a large family, had many dishes piled in the sink. I planned on rinsing the dishes and placing them in the dishwasher, and then straightening up downstairs while she put her younger children to sleep. Aware of my plans my daughter, who loves me and means well, said, “Ma, please don’t work so hard. I will put the children to sleep, and then I can clean up and load the dishwasher quickly. I will do it quicker than you, and I want you to relax.” I was hurt. I know that she really wanted me to take it easy, but suddenly I felt like an old, useless woman. Do you think my daughter was right? How can I tell her how I feel without hurting her? My husband and I are planning to move in with my daughter, son-in-law and their children for Pesach. We always enjoy going there, but I do not feel good when I cannot be useful. I would like to help my daughter over Pesach, and would feel better if she allowed me to help her. Please advise me. A Healthy Grandmother

A Child-Centric Seder

Dear Gary, As Pesach approaches, I get worried because I want to have a great Yom Tov, and yet, every year, the seder ends in some sort of fighting and arguing. My husband wants the seder to be all about divrei Torah and so do I, but between the younger children (who we want to be awake for the whole seder) and guests, we somehow end up in stern looks and squabbles. I'm happy we have guests or else we'd probably start yelling at each other and even Eliyahu Hanavi would bail. I know everyone jokes about how tough Pesach is, but I can't see the humor anymore – and neither can my children. What can we do to manage a calm (I don't even wish for happy) seder? A Sad Mom

Pesach: The End Of Victimhood

6 Nisan 5772 – March 28, 2012
The Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 18:12) describes “leil shimurim,” the “night of watching,” the night before the redemption, as one of the glorious nights in Jewish history.

Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk (Part VI)

29 Adar 5772 – March 22, 2012
The popularity of the rise of chassidus did not go unnoticed by those who did not share the same allegiance. As long as the movement was limited to the commoner and isolated in a few pockets of Poland no one perceived it as a threat. But all of this had changed by 1772.

Purim And The Tyranny Of Beauty: A Plea to Mothers of Girls in Shidduchim

26 Adar 5772 – March 19, 2012
I know I’m going to be crucified, but if the appeal I make below helps even one girl in shidduchim, then it will be worth all the fury and outrage that shall inevitably descend upon my soon-to-be beleaguered head.

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