Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Adar II 5760 - March 29, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
The Empty Nest and the Big Pot

There is absolutely no such thing as an empty nest syndrome in our society. Having heard so much about this phenomenon over the years, I was duly anxious about the approach of the day when all or most of the children would have married and settled off somewhere on their own. Now that the time is here, I can reliably report that there is no such thing. Maybe in America children go off to far away cities or their jobs take them to distant places, but in Jerusalem the Golden and Bnei Brak the City of Torah, we find our children places in projects at a maximum distance of twenty minutes from the old nest. Mostly we choose from Beitar, Beit Shemesh and Kiryat Sefer. Some are beginning to brave Tel Zion or Elad and one may go as far as Ashdod. A forty minute drive to those of us who used to drive an hour to and from work in the old country doesn't seem too disturbing. None of my contemporaries can be found sitting home alone, depressed and rejected. In short, the little birds that flew out of the nest find their way back home with the greatest of ease and in the course of time, bring more baby birds to fill up the nest even more.

I recently attended a meeting in the City Hall for the purpose of discussing the proposed joint addition of rooms to every apartment in my building. My younger neighbors smilingly approached me with the thought that, "Of course, you need lots less room now that almost all of your children are out of the house." Actually, said I, I find that I need more bedrooms now than when they were small. I could put three young daughters in a triple bunk bed, but now each one has a husband and, bli ayin hora, some children, and the bunk bed business just won't work any more. My upstairs neighbor, who is at a similar stage in life, purported that she wants to extend the borders of her living room because the size of the table that was once large enough for the whole family is no longer adequate for when what-should- be-the-empty- nest is full to oveflowing. The upshot is that we two older ladies were more enthusiastic about adding on space than the younger people at the meeting.

To be sure, there are some quiet times in between the Shabbosim and Yomim Tovim and the bein hazmanim, when the house seems a little calmer. But a little serenity at this point is necessary to rest up for the next event. My co-worker, Chana, reports that they were enjoying a bit of peace and quiet when one daughter produced a new member of the family. In her house, this translates to receiving that whole family for an extended period of recuperation. Two weeks later, her daughter-in- law also needed the same service and she had to juggle an extra group of people into her schedule. That was followed by the next-to-last-but-two getting married. She reports that it was absolute bliss to come home from that wedding with one son walking with his father and a young teenage daughter at her side. She is now enjoying another short period of calm before the next `storm,' kein yirbu.

And what does all this have to do with the size of your pots? The fact is that as the family shrank, I started cooking during the week in those little one liter or two liter pots that came with the sets we got way back when. They were almost in new condition. The sixes and eights that were used for thirty years got pushed to the back. So now, along comes a Shabbos and the amount of food just won't fit into the eight liter pot. For a while, I kept trying, and the soup and cholent kept boiling over every Friday and making a mess of my stove. I finally got smart and went out and got a ten and a sixteen liter pot which I don't fill all the way and my stove top stays sparkling while Shabbos is cooking. During the week, it's back to the miniatures again.

So the next time someone tries to frighten you with visions of loneliness and despair, tell them to take down the sixteen liter pot and put their empty nest syndrome in it and cook on medium heat. Bon appetit.


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