Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Ten Dear Blank Letters

The idea for this post has been floating around the outer recesses of my mind even before I discovered Dear Blank Please Blank. (No link because I'm on my iPhone, and more important because I'm not going to endorse the contents of this very funny but not always 100% kosher site.) I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday in ages, and so I finally sat down to do this one. As funny as that site is, I don't think they would accept submissions related to Shul, yom tov, and shidduchim.

So here are mine. Enjoy, then add yours in the comments!

10) Dear Married friend trying to set me up with a loser,

Oh, how I wish you were still single so I could say "if he's so great, why don't YOU date him?"

Sincerely, single, not desperate.

9) Dear Brother-In-Law,

No offense or anything, but I hate when you come. I feel like I'm under bedroom arrest once my PJ's go on.

Sincerely, your wife's sister.

8) Dear Lady who davens in a loud stage whisper in shul,

Thanks for letting me know where they're up to, without having to embarrass myself and ask.

Sincerely, got here late.

7) Dear Robe Store Owners,

I asked you if you have this in the next size up, but you don't have to scream that across the hoards of pre-yom tov shoppers.

Sincerely, that's not my real size- it runs small!

6) Dear Shadchanim,

When I say "he doesn't sound right for me" and you say "no but he's perfect for you," please realize that I've known me at least twenty years longer than you have.

Sincerely, not gonna happen.

5) Dear Shower,

Oh, how I've missed you.

Sincerely, Motzei three day yom tov.

4) Dear Former high school classmate whom I haven't spoken to in years,

Just because we bump into each other in the grocery store, doesn't mean we have anything to talk about.

Sincerely, next time let's just nod politely.

3) Dear Frum world,

Yep, I wear my hair in a pony, even to weddings and on shabbos, I'm not a teacher, therapist or accountant, and I think for myself.

Sincerely, yes, I still think I'll get married.

2) Dear Erev yom tov shoppers,

There's no need to push. Contrary to popular belief, the world won't end if you don't get that last article of clothing or ingredients for one more kugel.

Sincerely, ouch, you stepped on my toe!

1) Dear Week before pesach,

I really don't like you.

Sincerely, overworked with nothing to eat.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Without Any Injustice

In parshas Ha'azinu, the posuk says:

(I apologize for the English letters. I'm on my iPhone, which is an excuse for being terrible at Hebrew typing.)

"Kel Emunah ve'ein avel."

Describing Hashem, the pasuk says that He is a faithful King who causes no injustices. That seems to be repetitive. Wouldn't it be a fair assumption that a faithful king doesn't cause injustice?

The answer, simply, is that it's not. Here's why. Say the king of a particular country decrees that anyone who breaks a particular law will be thrown in jail for ten years. Not long after that, one of his servants breaks that specific law. There were witnesses, surveillance tapes and a non-coerced confession. The case was clear cut; the man was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison.

Was the king being unfaithful? Surely not. He had ironclad evidence. The man was given a fair trial. He had been warned. And yet, there are some grave injustices being committed, and the best intentioned ruler in the world can't do anything about it.

You see, the man's wife, who knew nothing of his criminal ways, is stuck with a husband in jail, children to raise on her own, and the irreversible stigma that comes along with being married to a criminal.

And think of his poor children. They might be too young to comprehend the meaning of their father's crime, but despite their innocence, they are stripped of a father. They are left to grow up with people pointing and whispering behind their backs, and they did nothing wrong.

His parents, his siblings, his friends, even people who suffer in the smallest of ways due to his imprisonment- each of them is an injustice.

There may not be a solution for a king of flesh and blood, but for Hakadosh Baruch Hu this isn't a problem. Hashem doesn't "forget" the suffering of others when He doles out a punishment, nissayon, or any other form of hardship. Being the Melech Malchei Hamlachim, the omniscient and omnipotent Ruler that He is, Hashem is in the unique position to take every drop of pain and aggravation that any given person will endure as a result of the "punishment."

You see, if a person is sick, you know that G-d meant for him to get sick, but it's easy to forget that G-d also meant for his family to experience their pain, however minimal in comparison.

When you think about it, the whole concept is mind boggling. The web of people who's lives are affected by any given incident is seemingly endless, yet G-d is able to, and indeed He does, calculate each bit of pain.

This thought is an incredible comfort to a person who is struggling, but there's another whole side to this thought, and that is the immense complexity if the calculations involved in Hashem's actions.

That's why I find myself horrified every time I hear people attempt to understand the inner workings of Hashem's plans.

You've probably heard the talk. An earthquake hits Japan, and immediately the thoughts of frum yidden turn to the bochurim imprisoned there. That's natural, even commendable. We want to ensure that our people are okay.

But as soon as people's thoughts turn to a possibly connection, they are stepping into dangerous territory. I'm not here to make an argument for or against a connection between the incarcerated bochurim and a natural disaster that uprooted an entire country. I'm simply trying to point out that none of us have a right to presume we know that.

How can you explain the thousands of people who lost their lives, most of whom were probably unaware of the bochurim involved in their country's legal system? And, however minor it may seem, how do you explain the frum man in New York who's small electronics store is unable to get stock of the many items manufactured in Japan? The ripple effects are endless, and we certainly have no right to presume to calculate it.

Perhaps the bochurim played a part in the disaster, but to make a statement such as "the reason they had another earthquake is that they didn't learn their lesson and release the bochurim" is nothing short of chutzpah. And when someone proclaimed that "someone should tell the Japanese that if they just release the bochurim the earthquakes will stop" I can't imagine they thought about what they were saying.

I think that this time of year, when we are trying to remember the incredible nissim that Hashem performed for us, it's important to remember that Hashem's power extends past the actions. Let's all try to remember that Hashem's love, care and careful calculations extend from the very first second of our perceived trouble, up until the very last ripple effect.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A New Method of Looking Into Shidduchim

I was having a discussion with a woman I know about the idiocy of shidduchim and shadchanim, when she mentioned the following gem of a phone call.

It started when the Nosey Shadchan thought of a Shidduch for the woman's daughter. Before we get started though, I should probably note that her daughter is 17 years old; many years away from any form of shidduch related desperation.

That being said, the NS decided to give the boy a shot. And so she called. And she redt a ger to the mother of the 17 year old. Without even giving the mother a chance to express any sort of hesitation, she rushed to validate her suggestion.

"Aren't you or your husband geirim? Or ba'alei teshuvah?" Not to knock geirim, ba'alei Teshuvah, or anyone else of unremarkable ancestry, but the family in question is from a long line of prominent rabbinical figures, and so she answered, truthfully but emphatically, "No, we aren't."

The Shadchan didn't miss a beat. "Are you sure?!"

One can't help but laugh. Was it desperation? Or was it just the smooth-talking of a pushy Shadchan?

Either way, I say we should all take our bets on how long it will be before a normal, perhaps expected part of the looking-into-shidduchim process will be past-life regression therapy.

All I can say is, I hope I'm married before then.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weddings and Pity- a Terrible Combination

It's no secret that I hate weddings. I won't enumerate the various things I dislike about them; I've done that many times in the past. (Sorry, no links. I'm writing this on my iPhone.)

Tonight's wedding is worse than usual though. You may think I'm referring to lack of familiar faces I anticipate seeing, but you are mistaken. I hate weddings at which I don't know people, but that isn't the real problem.

If you were, however, thinking that the Choson is youger than me, causing me to dread this wedding, you are partially correct.

You're correct in assuming that it's because of the age difference between myself and the (very young) Choson and Kallah that will make this wedding worse than average, but the problem, as a matter of fact, is you.

Well, ok, not just you- that would be pretty silly. I don't know you. I don't know most of the people who think it should be torturous for me, but nonetheless, they are the collective problem.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, I'm pretty sure it won't come as a shock to you that I hate pity. Be it from high school girls who think I'm ancient, Nosey Shadchanim who had three kids when they were my age, or Chizuk Ladies who understand that I'm not getting any younger, pity makes me sick- any way you slice it.

And a night like tonight is a pity party for interested parties. (I'm starting to confuse myself now.) Doesn't it stand to reason that my feelings tonight should be a mixture of resentment, jealousy and sadness? Oh, wait, they aren't. Right now I feel a lot of boredom and just a wee bit of impatience.

"But even the- gasp- Choson is younger than you!" you may exclaim. Yep. And nothing I was looking for in a boy. Why should it bother me?

But thanks to the wonderous efforts of the annoying people I know, tonight will be a tedious blur of "im yirtzeh Hashem by you"s.

What's not to dread?