First, RE: our article on CHEVRA KADISHA, a friend of your
editor who grew up in small-town America to a Holocaust
survivor family, reminisces how her mother initiated her into
chessed shel emes by performing a tahara-
purification at the age of twelve!
"We were a small community with many needs," M. recalls. It
was a Yekkishe Kehilla where everything had its proper place
and appointment, and very little people-power to mobilize. At
any rate, her mother thought it the proper thing to expose
her daughter to this aspect of Jewish life, as a
mitzva which you never knew you might be called upon
to carry out.
"Did you know the person upon whom this was performed?"
Luckily, no, for it might have been an even more almost-
traumatically memorable experience. But M. grew up to become,
of all things, a registered nurse. Who knows if this
introduction had an effect upon her future career? As for
further involvement with this mitzva, she admits she
never had occasion to do so again.
D. F., a past contributor of great ideas, has one more for
the oldsters who find it difficult to CLIMB STAIRS: Breathe
in two steps and exhale for the next two steps, keeping
Another frequent contributor, A. Reader, pseudonym, has this
to say about clothing gemachs:
Occasionally, I go into the local clothing gemach. This is a
particularly well run gemach which sells only good items for
amounts ranging from one shekel to five. In this way,
customers do not feel they are taking charity, but feel they
bought a bargain, something everyone enjoys! The clothes are
either hung or folded neatly, but due to a bustling
clientele, it rarely remains neat for long. My occupation
there is to fold clothes which have been pulled from the
shelves and to hang up items which have been left,
unfortunately, on the floor.
One morning, a woman came in with a beautful outfit she had
made for herself for her daughter's wedding. She had wanted
to buy a particular sort of button, but in Israel, good
buttons are very expensive. She looked around at the
collection until she found a dress which had many buttons, of
the particular kind that captured her fancy. She paid five
shekels for the item, only to return the next day, to donate
the dress back to the gemach, as she did not really need
She had taken the buttons, but had gone to the trouble of
sewing different ones (and there were many of them!) onto the
dress to make it wearable for someone else. The dress was
subsequently sold, that very day, for another five shekel, to
a very pleased customer!
[Which goes to prove what we maintain all along, that
clothing gemachs generate a full cycle of chessed
extending far beyond the mere item sold.]
Frummie S. enjoys the Recipe column and has her own to add: a
transplanted American addicted to ketchup, which she finds
too expensive for her family, she makes her own. She takes
some tomato paste, very economical, adds a dash of vinegar
and some brown sugar, mixes, and voila! An excellent dip for
chips etc. This concoction does not have any preservatives
and so will not keep for longer than a few days in the frig.
But on the other hand, it is not difficult to make a new
batch, either. Besides which, a large can of tomato paste may
also spoil after a week in the frig., so you had better make
some of that ketchup!
And now, a whole LETTER, from D.K., Bnei
This article is in response to R' Zvi Zobin's "Preparing for
the Future," re: the spoiled child.
What an excellent article! Its beauty lies in the detailed
case outlining Eli's poor behavior, exactly how his mother
(mis)handles it, and how it was dealt with successfully by a
different family. Instead of general guidelines and common
sense ideas about education, which can definitely be very
valuable, here we finally get a specific framework in which
to fit these guidelines. By the way, "Loving Chezky" also
gave an excellent concrete example of how to handle a
difficult child -- prayer. [Which, we saw, is not a panacea,
but a KEY to dealing with it. You still need your own
It would be of great benefit to many, I feel, to expand on
this story of Eli, and similar case histories. For example,
what is likely to happen to Eli if Mrs. Karin's responses
remain status quo throughout his childhood? Exactly where can
such behavior lead? Are there any long term case histories
that show the outcome of consistent manipulation by the child
- on the child himself?
What about if one parent disciplines correctly, but the other
either undoes the discipline (since she cannot bear to see
the child `suffer' or is too embarrassed by `what will the
neighbors think') or opposes strictness as an approach?
And here's a biggie: What if the child doesn't merely scream
when isolated, but damages and destroys as many objects in
his isolation room as he can get his hands on? (Even a 2x2
bathroom has in it plenty to abuse.)
Many superb books on chinuch have been written, yet in
order to implement the suggestions, we need specific
instructions on how to proceed, the more detailed, the
As R' Zobin succinctly points out, "Our generation is not the
first to have naughty children." Nevertheless, we seem to be
producing more than previous generations and need practical,
finely tuned help in how to deal with this all-too- common
phenomenon. Could R' Zobin, R. Chadshai or another expert
please respond in greater depth?
Thank you very much. Your newspaper is read cover-to-cover
and enjoyed thoroughly in our family, and has given us much
food for thought, as well as information and entertainment.
Keep up the good work!
[We have forwarded your letter to R' Zobin and hope he will
come up with more specific examples carried through to
And finally, a response to Dr. Bruner's article on hearing --
with an Elul application. Shuli D. is very enthusiastic about
the idea of listening to one's own davening and has
her own successful application, which she would like to pass
on to the readers.
In picking out a small area, last year, in which to improve,
she zeroed in on the simple brocha acharona of
borei nefoshos. Since she is in and out of the kitchen
all the time with a large family to actually feed and prepare
meals for, she found that she was noshing a lot and
forgetting to make a borei nefoshos. Or she could not
always remember if she had! Her EITZA, which she says
has worked wonderfully, is to stop at one point and say:
Enough noshing for a while, and RECITE THE BROCHA
ACHARONA OUT LOUD. This way, she hears herself saying it,
and can remember later if she did or didn't.
We appreciate all of your comments and look forward to them,
as do our readers, we are sure. We are sure you have lots to
say, so just slip a small note into an envelope and send to
Weinbach, Panim Meirot 1, or FAX to 02-538-7998.