Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Elul 5765 - September 15, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Home and Family

Nothing Can Stop US
by Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein, Jerusalem

It does not seem to matter where we are living nor what is happening in the world around us, most of us are going to say, at least once or twice a month, "I have a Kiddush to go to this week."

Boruch HaShem.

But for an activity that is so much a part of our Shabbos lives, have we spent enough time training our children in the "do's" and "don'ts" of Kiddush-going? And have we thought about our own behavior there, and the possible 'fallout' from that behavior?

A Kiddush in a hall after davening is easy. You just walk there slowly, gently take whatever foods interest you, and elegantly nibble away on them while balancing your plate and napkin and chatting away with friends and neighbors. Lovely.

A Kiddush that is set up in a shul is another matter. Especially if it's being set up while prayers are still in progress.

It takes a special type of person to be able to remember that other people are still davening when you have food to put out and plates and napkins to arrange. It's amazing how far, and loud, sound travels. And how distracting it can be when, at the same time you or your caterer is setting up, another person is trying to say "Yeheh Shemey rabbah" with kavonoh.

And at the Kiddush itself? Do we remember that our children see, and are going to learn from, our behavior? Do we pay attention to the brochohh of Kiddush no matter how many times it is said, and say Amen afterwards with feeling? Do we stop socializing long enough with our friends and neighbors to demonstrate Kovod haTorah while the Rav is speaking? Or are we chirping away as we grab for another carrot stick even while the Rav is speaking about the parshah? (Yes, speakers at any simchah should be brief, but that doesn't lessen our responsibility to demonstrate respect for Torah and those who speak it, by showing good manners and interrupting our conversations while they are speaking).

Though these are all possible problems that need to be thought about and dealt with, nothing quite compares to the children.

Explain to me: how come so many parents seem to forget to feed their children before an upcoming Kiddush? How is it possible that so many otherwise darling children need to make a mad dash for the elegantly set tables before anyone else manages to get near them?

How are little mouths able to hold so many pieces of cake stuffed inside at one time, and little hands able to hold four to five cookies each, while candies are bulging out of each and every one of all of their pockets? And yet within seconds the children are back for more.

[Your editor does not think it is so drastic, but a pound of prevention is always in place.]

Have you noticed how often those beautifully laid out tables look like a major hurricane hit them before any adult has even approached them? The dirty plates, the turned-over sticky cups, the crumpled candy wrappers, and the leaking bottles of soft drinks . . . ? Where are the parents? If inside davening, is it possible to perhaps maybe think of cautioning our little darlings to wait and not touch anything — not anything at all — until Kiddush is heard and Mommy or Daddy says, "Okay, you can now begin . . . You can take 2-3 pieces of cake . . . "

And here is a wild idea — how about having supplies of taffies at home, so that each child at the Kiddush doesn't need to go home with 42 taffies stuffed into his or her pockets.

Teaching children that other people are paying for what they are eating, and that all of the other people in the shul and/or at the Kiddush are also supposed to have some things left for them, and — in general, that there are limits — is a very important teaching, I believe.

Please: Let's not wait until it is your elegantly laid out table for a Kiddush that is assaulted.

Let's remember to love our neighbor as we do ourselves.


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