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Readers’ Perceptions



A Straightforward Take…

Dear Rachel,

I’ve always admired your ability to be outspoken yet tactful at the same time, but you really outdid yourself in your recent response to “Thanks for Nothing” (Chronicles, 12-19 2014). The letter writer raked you over the coals for what she regarded as a lack of empathy with her plight in your reply to her earlier letter (Chronicles, 11-7).

While I agree that she failed to make herself clear the first time around, what impressed me most was the lesson you brought out when you admitted to having been a bit too harsh in your original response (to her first letter). This really hit home for me.

Your words bear repeating: Many of us frequently tend to be unfairly critical of others, simply going by what we perceive or the lashon hora we are fed when in truth we may be so off the mark as to have completely misconstrued a situation or misjudged a person.

Though by nature I like to keep to myself and steer clear of so-called coffee klatches (which too often turn into gossip-fests), I confess to sometimes forming conclusions based on appearances versus first-hand knowledge and solid facts.

I’d also like to point out that people should be wary of making assumptions based on hearing only one side of a dispute.

An Appreciative Fan


Dear Appreciative,

Thank you for taking the time to express your appreciation and opinion. You hit the nail on the head by characterizing the “coffee klatch” as a potential gossip-fest. Did you know that the word “klatch” is German for “gossip”?



A Good Sport for a Good Cause…

Dear Rachel,

Mr. Perturbed (the party-pooper who resented being invited out for “dancing and dessert” – Chronicles, 12-5) is behind the times. Wedding invitations have for years been incorporating this concept. Some people go so far as to have two types of invitations printed: one that invites the recipient to the entire wedding, and another that specifies the time for reception/chuppah and for after-dinner mesameach chosson v’kalla (basically, dancing and dessert).

This is a practical and ideal solution for families that can’t afford or don’t wish to have a very large affair yet sincerely wish to have friends and neighbors taking part in their simcha. I, for one, appreciate the gesture and have often sensed genuine appreciation on the part of the baal simcha (for my taking the trouble to attend only the chuppah or only the dancing).

Kindness Breeds Goodwill


Dear Kindness,

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks for reinforcing my message.



Regarding Remarriage After a Loss: The Real and the Surreal


Dear Rachel,

A few weeks ago your column addressed the subject of remarriage following the death of a spouse. It started with a male reader who was of the opinion that a surviving spouse needed to get on with his or her life and should therefore not hesitate to remarry once the required mourning period was up (Chronicles, Oct. 24). Others disagreed and advised not to rush into remarriage after the loss of a spouse (Chronicles, Nov. 21).

I heard an interesting story many years ago that concerned a bed-ridden wife who couldn’t take the thought of her husband remarrying after she was gone and made him promise he wouldn’t. I am hoping you are familiar with this episode and might be able to shed some light on the details that escape me.

A Grateful Reader


Dear Grateful,

You may be referring to an incident that occurred in the days of the tzaddik, Rav Shlomo Luria (also known as the Maharshal), when he was head of the Lublin Yeshiva. One of his elite students had encountered tragedy shortly after his marriage. It began when his young wife took ill and subsequently passed on.

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