Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

27 Elul 5759 - September 8, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Letters, Eitzes, Feedback
A little of each which have accumulated.

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 shoulders back.


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 it.

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 Brak


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 input!]

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 better.

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 completion.]


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.


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