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Enduring and Endearing Thoughts



Dear Rachel,

As I was cleaning out accumulated debris from closets and storage places, such as magazines and newspaper articles that I’d found interesting enough to save, or which I’d never gotten around to reading at all, I came across the Chronicles column of September 23, 2022. Intrigued as to what had made me set it aside, I did a speed read and – bingo! – knew immediately.

“On my agenda for this summer was closet cleaning. Though we constantly read about minimizing, let alone to rid ourselves of clothing we haven’t worn for entire year, I’ve never followed suit. Good thing, too. Having recently lost some weight, the clothes I’d worn 15 to 20 years ago now fit me again. And they’re back in style to boot.”

I had so identified with you on this subject. For years now, it’s taken me forever to decide what to give away and what to save. I’d argue with myself: so when is exactly the last time you wore this, if ever… The skirts looked brand new (were once either too short or too long, or I’d put on weight before I’d had a chance to ever wear them…), yet something had repeatedly told me to let them keep hanging in the closet.

Then there’s that black cotton sweater, with such pretty, delicate pink embroidery. This I knew I’d worn and recalled loving it. Last time I’d tried it on and looked in the mirror, I’d remarked to the reflection staring back at me: Are you kidding? Bulky shoulder pads? Sleeves so loose that two of your arms can fit in? What are you thinking?! I couldn’t shed it fast enough. But still didn’t have the heart to give it away.

Fast forward to this past/post Pesach. Things called life happen. And sometimes these things cause emotional upheaval, with weight loss as its side effect. Then there’s the turnover of style and “fashionable.” Once upon a time it was either/or. Today it’s anything goes.

This time around the skirts were a perfect fit and the perfect length: not short, not too long. And the sweater no longer so bulky. As I met up with a neighbor to go shopping for Pesach fare, she remarked: Wow! You look so good! I thought you had nothing to wear!

I told her I didn’t and that the ensemble I’d hurriedly pieced together I’d bought over 30 years ago. We concluded that they don’t make things as they used to. Bottom line is I’m amazed not only at the perfect fits but at the hashgacha of consistently, year after year, stubbornly not giving it to the small voice trying hard to convince me to give away my classic and vintage wear. Not to worry: there were plenty of buyer-regret shmattas that filled up plenty bags to give away.

I realize this is all inconsequential things to be discussing but thought you’d appreciate feedback referencing a column dated over seven months back!

An old Fan


Dear Fan,

It’s actually nice to be dwelling on these “inconsequential things.” They’re what keep us sane and grounded. Life goes on.

A close friend of mine recently lamented the loss of her old electric oven. A fuse or coils or something or other had helplessly burned out. Repair would be costly with no guarantee of a successful outcome. In came the brand new model. Was desperately needed for challah baking. This was last year. Turned out that the oven, same brand, same model, had been redesigned, modernized. No visible coils at bottom, supposedly hidden under the metal floor.

So the challah tops kept getting browned and burnt, while the bottoms remained raw and white. Useless. Why do they fix things that don’t need fixing. Cheaper material? Cost-cutting design? They sure don’t make things as they used to.

All things considered, how fortunate we are to have closets containing clothes and problems like having only one (gas, fleishig) oven in which to bake our challahs. And let’s not forget the roof over our heads, the ability to dress ourselves, the vision to behold the golden topped challahs, the agility of our hands and nimbleness of our fingers to braid the challah, and the endless chassadim and wondrous gifts our Creator endows us with! Thank You, Hashem!


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