DovidM

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  • in reply to: Signing Apartment Lease During Omer #942856

    DovidM
    Member

    My rav says that it would be better not to switch jobs or sign contracts during Sefiras haOmer because it is very much like the Three Weeks. Many tragedies have happened in the past to yidden during the Sefiras haOmer, and he does not believe that this is a good time to undertake new commitments. However, if you would face a substantial loss in not signing, then your Rav may counsel differently.

    in reply to: Raising the Pinky #1115305

    DovidM
    Member

    I see non-Sephardim drape the tzitzis of their tallis over their pinky.

    As for trying to find your first initial when someone is doing hagbah, I try to remember where it appeared in the maftir reading since that should be what I am seeing when the Torah is raised.

    in reply to: Carpathian Jewry #943896

    DovidM
    Member

    I thought that there is great overlap between the minhagim of Yekkes and Oberlanders.

    in reply to: Sefardic Rabbonim's Hats #1101441

    DovidM
    Member

    I was told that black dye was at one time more expensive than brown, and that it became a sign of wealth among the goyim. The yidden who first took to wearing black were thus were wearing a color that the goyish gentry were wearing.

    in reply to: Zebra Tallis #942846

    DovidM
    Member

    I thought that black stripes are used because we don’t know the color of teicheles. If, by chance, we happened to have the right color, then we are wearing false teicheles since it is not valid when made from a substitute.

    in reply to: Tzitzis in or Tzitzis out? #984357

    DovidM
    Member

    For me, wearing tzitzis out serves as a constant reminder of who I am, and what I am supposed to do, just as wearing a kippah at work or on the street does. The only situation in which I tuck them in is if I visit a cemetery.

    I certainly don’t look down on anyone who tucks them in, or chooses to do so while at work. If I were in corporate sales, I would be meeting people who never saw a Jew with tzitzis before, and who wouldn’t be able to get past that.

    in reply to: Be careful of School Janitors #897011

    DovidM
    Member

    Even when they mean no harm, janitors and cooks at schools can have unintended influences on kids. My sister’s son would talk to the women serving the food in the cafeteria. They couldn’t understand why his family doesn’t have a TV at a home, why he didn’t know who this or that celebrity was, etc. Of course, these are just the differences in what we value vs. what they value, but my nephew, at 8 years old, was not able to justify why his family was so different.

    in reply to: Fresh Broccoli #897546

    DovidM
    Member

    My family separates the florets from the stalks, puts the florets in a bowl of salted water, let it sit for 10 minutes, then discards the water, and refills the bowl, adding some vinegar and a small amount of dish detergent to the water. The first soak dislodges some bugs, but more are dislodged on the second soak. The final step is to discard the water, and then pour hot, but not boiling, water over the florets. If bugs are still turning up, then we just use the stems.

    in reply to: Guys and Tznius #897008

    DovidM
    Member

    Do bochurim dress in shorts and Crocs on Sundays? If they don’t, then it is probably because, one, they are conscious of representing their Yeshiva, two, there is peer pressure against it, or, three, they see themselves as standing before Hashem at all times. If they dress down while camping or digging in the garden, I can understand.

    Tznius is a matter of dressing with dignity and a degree of self-effacement. In the secular world you can see both the extremes of sweat pants (I dress only for my comfort, and I don’t care if I look like a slob) and to grab attention such as florescent colors.

    Crocs are OK on Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur, but I wouldn’t wear them outside the house other days.

    in reply to: know any frum vegetarians or vegans? #918545

    DovidM
    Member

    When you add vegetarianism and veganism to Judaism, it seems like you are making a statement that the Gedolim of the past were somehow not complete in their observance. I say this as someone whose family Minhag is not to eat meat on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    Reducing the amount of meat for health reasons is certainly commendable, but I don’t think our Gedolim overlooked a huge ethical issue which is only now coming to light.

    in reply to: Tehillim at night #896833

    DovidM
    Member

    For Chabad, the prohibition against saying Tehillim is anytime before Chatzos. However, saying Tehillim at the bedside of the sick is OK and even commendable. I believe the prohibition involves the daily portion of Tehillim. From others (non-Chabad), I have heard that night is the time of gevurah while day is the time of chesed, and that the recitation of Tehillim at night invites judgment rather than chesed. The exceptions would be on Friday night, the 48 hours of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur.

    My grandparents began Tehillim before shkiah and concluded after nightfall. This was OK because it was just a continuation of an action initiated before nightfall.

    in reply to: presents for teachers #896822

    DovidM
    Member

    If your child has been taught by the same teacher before, or one of your older children was taught by them, and they found them to be an effective teacher and a great role model, then I see no reason not to gift them something now. But if they are basically an unknown quantity, then I would just send them a card.

    in reply to: worms/bugs in fish heads #897031

    DovidM
    Member

    If the parasites are only in the heads, do I cut off the head before cooking it, and then eat what I cooked, or can I cook the fish whole, and dispose of the head before putting it on a plate?

    in reply to: So it's rosh hashanah and the people sitting near you are chatting #897104

    DovidM
    Member

    At my shul, there is always the ability for me to move as not every seat is taken. That being said, I would probably consider the following:

    1) There probably have been times when I disturbed others in the same way, and I was oblivious to the effect I was having on others. I regret any and all times that I have done so.

    2) The people may be “once a year” visitors to the shul. If they are shushed by a regular, they will form an opinion of the relative friendliness of the shul, and this will provide them with a reason not to come on a regular Shabbos.

    3) I might not recognize the person but he could be a generous contributor to the shul, and helps to keep the lights on.

    4) Will my shushing be heard by more people than their talking? Really, this is an issue, since to get their attention, you have to be louder than they are.

    While the Gabbai can’t be everywhere, I have seen people going to the Gabbai when a group wouldn’t knock it off.

    in reply to: kosher foods at Whole Foods #896920

    DovidM
    Member

    Old Fashioned Quaker Oats is cheaper at the local Whole Foods than at any other chain I have found. I am referring to the regular price rather than a “once in a blue moon” sale price. I also have found some spices cheaper there than at, say, Stop & Shop.

    in reply to: Sukkah lighting #896487

    DovidM
    Member

    Construction sites use lighting that gets rained on. Whether the “shop lights” are waterproof and shockproof or just less hazardous than stuff made for indoor use, I don’t know.

    I have seen sukkahs with white Xmas lights intended for use outdoors, hurricane lamps, and a LED camping lantern that runs on batteries.

    in reply to: kosher foods at Whole Foods #896918

    DovidM
    Member

    Whole Foods is generally more expensive, but I have found a few items that are consistently cheaper than at other supermarkets.

    With regard to Cholov Yisroel, I have heard it argued that the heter that Rav Moshe gave Cholov Stam was conditional. For example, if Cholov Yisroel was not easily obtainable, and a doctor had recommended that you drink milk, then Cholov Stam was permissible. If this is the case, those who drink Cholov Stam when Cholov Yisroel is available are not in line with what Rav Moshe intended.

    in reply to: Recommendations for coffee creamer #896485

    DovidM
    Member

    They do last longer than cow’s milk, which is one reason I buy them.

    in reply to: Recommendations for coffee creamer #896482

    DovidM
    Member

    I wonder if such creamers are becoming harder to find because of the increased availability of parve soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, etc.? I stopped buying the creamers since I always have a box of a parve alternative sitting around.

    in reply to: Why are pple voting for Obama #896354

    DovidM
    Member

    As Jews, we don’t see our vote as that significant on the national scale. The number of Jews in the US is less than the population of Massachusetts.

    If I am running for office, and I know that a group will usually vote for my party or against my party 9 times out of 10 no matter what I say or do, then I will take for granted that a certain number of votes are either coming my way or going to my opponent. Our mistake is to hand the Dems a blank check without getting much in return.

    I don’t think that people expect “moral leadership” from goyish politicians. We have our rebbeim, and we don’t expect a politician to be cut from the same cloth.

    in reply to: Are Heimish Foods Unhealthy? #870004

    DovidM
    Member

    When people did back-breaking labor, they had higher calorie requirements than we do now. Things like schmaltz, gribenes and kishke seem unhealthy to us but these may have been shabbos luxuries in the shtetl. A weekday meal may have been short on meat and fat.

    in reply to: The Unspoken Promise #841901

    DovidM
    Member

    Another thing that I have seen drive people OTD is poor health. If you see your health declining, it may be hard to accept this as a challenge rather than a punishment. For a few, this can lead them to question the effectiveness of prayer and teshuvah. When you reach that point, you may not even want to hear words of consolation or advice from chavrusim. Better to separate yourself from the frum community than to be reminded of the gulf between you and the others.

    in reply to: Refusing someone who's collecting tzedakah #845181

    DovidM
    Member

    At weddings, there can be so many people collecting that if I gave five dollars to every person who asked I would be giving out 80 to 100 dollars in tzedekah. After a point, I just shake my head, and say, sorry. Since the people collecting saw me give to others, they know I have reached my limit.

    As for those you see on the street, I caught one guy standing on the street with a crutch. When he asked me for money, he didn’t realize that I had seen him get on the same train I took, but then in perfect health. I thought at the time he was returning the crutch or bringing it to a friend. Now, he was coughing and leaning on the crutch for support. I couldn’t resist saying, “Aren’t you the guy who got on at such-and-such stop around 10 am?”

    I do think that there is merit to not subjecting a request for money as if I was a loan officer in a bank. A dollar here or there to someone who might be undeserving is not worth my time or trouble to cross-examine them. A dollar I give to someone willingly is counted in my merit whether the man or woman is a phony or not. Hopefully, it will also set aside harsh judgment later on.

    in reply to: Sun and The Moon..Forbiden Image? #841703

    DovidM
    Member

    When we were kids we would color the sun green in our coloring books to avoid a faithful representation of the sun. This was something our parents suggested.

    in reply to: Would you take a job in the 'boondocks' ? #834277

    DovidM
    Member

    I suppose that what we would call the boondocks now is nowhere as bad as it would have been in our grandparents’ day. Is the exile to the boonie’s permanent, or more like 5 to 7 years?

    in reply to: Colored Shirts #985590

    DovidM
    Member

    Some of the pre-Shoah Yeshivot in Europe did have bochurim in “modern” dress. I have seen photos of bochurim in straw hats, bow ties and striped suits. I assume that the choice of wearing a regular tie vs. a bow tie did not carry much significance. It was the clothing that was considered respectable in goyish society. However, photos of bochurim at other yeshivot show a different dress code, so their rosh yeshivah probably would have judged the dress code followed elsewhere as lax.

    in reply to: Why I'm going to let my kids run around in shul #824482

    DovidM
    Member

    I went to shul regularly starting at six. Did I understand everything going on around me? No, but I could see how important it was to my Zayde, and I did take an interest in what was going on, and being discussed. I didn’t run around, yell, or throw temper tantrums because I knew that this would not be tolerated. I was taught the shul was not just someone’s living room but a sanctuary of special holiness. Before passing from the men’s cloakroom to the shul itself, I would say the “How goodly are your tents, O Yisrael…” that generations of Jews have said upon entering a shul.

    I do have sympathy for people who have really bad memories of going to shul as kids, and want something better for their children. Many shuls have a children’s service in the basement or social hall of the shul. These seem to be fairly abbreviated, and kids aren’t there from the beginning to the end of davening. I also don’t know whether kids find this to be more than a temporary diversion or if there is a long lasting value.

    I am bugged by parents allowing kids, sometimes as old as ten, to start eating the Kiddush before the adults have even had time to wash for bread. Some of the parents will be eating with their kids, not having washed for bread themselves. This is really bad Chinuch.

    in reply to: Favorite Yiddish Words #832242

    DovidM
    Member

    Farfalin means lost or hopeless.

    Opgrunt is an abyss.

    Fahrblungit means to go astray.

    Ahnshpurin means to lean or to incline towards.

    I know kapusta as the word for cabbage and dishes made from cabbage such as stuffed cabbage and sauerkraut. I think that it is a Slavic word used by Yiddish speakers.

    in reply to: What is MO? #792448

    DovidM
    Member

    I have visited several MO shuls, and found that they didn’t have a valid mechitzah. I am referring here to mechitzahs that are four feet high and mechitzahs that are nothing but a lattice work with five inch gaps in the lattice. I only daven there if it is Shacharit and there are no women present. The MO also sometimes have mixed seating at weddings.

    in reply to: Davening Aloud #792414

    DovidM
    Member

    It drives me nuts when one guy in shul prays loudly enough during Shemoneh Esreh that it sounds like a swarm of bees. He is ten rows in back of me, and he is loud enough that I can’t tune it out. I thought at first that he was loud because the guys who just come to shmooze are back there talking, but he is the same when there are empty seats in the rows around him.

    in reply to: What happens after they leave for Shul Friday night. #792219

    DovidM
    Member

    A similar thing happens on Yom Kippur. Kids are there for the whole service. No one has planned ahead to make some kind of arrangements for them such as to take them out for a walk or have set up a room where they can take a nap. Inevitably, they make a nuisance of themselves.

    As far as kids thinking that you are a goy, I have heard kids ask this because the person was taller than their Tatie, or because they had red hair or black hair. Their measuring stick for all things Jewish is their own home, so if their Tatie is 5’5” and blue-eyed, then those who aren’t don’t fit the mold. The parents are at fault if they observe this, and make no effort to explain that frum yidden don’t all sound or look alike.

    in reply to: Chasidish-Litvish Intermarriage #1043913

    DovidM
    Member

    Although the Minhagim of the husband might be followed, the mother’s father can have a big influence on the chinuch of the children.

    in reply to: Horrifying coverage in The Jewish Week #792070

    DovidM
    Member

    The one value to continuing your column is that none of the readers would otherwise hear an Orthodox viewpoint. How many Jewish Week subscribers also buy the occasional issue of the Jewish Press or Hamodia?

    in reply to: Do u belive in Ayin Harah? #802943

    DovidM
    Member

    I had heard that you shouldn’t talk about the vacations you took, about how smart your kid is, etc., because it will arouse ayin hara in the person you are talking to. You will share in the blame if the other person is caused to think about why is this guy so lucky or fortunate? You cause them to be judged, and are judged in turn.

    In practical terms, it is hard to not kvell over a sister’s upcoming marriage. We are simply expected to have some sensitivity about whether this news might cause some small amount of jealousy or annoyance or resentment. Watching what you say goes farther to protecting you from ayin hara than something you wear.

    in reply to: NAME OF HAT LITTLE CHASSIDISH BOYS WEAR #790353

    DovidM
    Member

    France and Germany are the Ashkenaz homeland, so it would not be surprising that as Ashkenazim moved into Poland that there might be a few French words.

    in reply to: Raising the Pinky #1115290

    DovidM
    Member

    The Sephardic custom is to point with the pinky with the tzitzit of the tallis draped over it. The pinky is angled towards the Torah. I routinely this.

    I had heard the explanation growing up that to point with the index finger would be disrespectful.

    in reply to: Crocs on Tisha Ba’av #789800

    DovidM
    Member

    I have a pair of all-black Chucks that I wear only twice a year.

    I have seen people wearing Crocs or the Crocs knock-offs (I can’t tell the difference) on Tisha b’Av. As long as they aren’t in primary colors, I never give them too much thought.

    in reply to: "top boys" #787172

    DovidM
    Member

    I remember when my cousin was looking her parents passed on one boy because his two older brothers are now far from frumkeit. I don’t think that this was so unreasonable a decision since a guy with older brothers who aren’t serious or even disdainful about their heritage will have a tougher time holding on to the right values.

    in reply to: swimming on 17 Tammuz #787339

    DovidM
    Member

    Would they swim on the same day as their Zayde’s levayah? While they are not obligated to fast, think about the destruction of the temple, etc., I believe most people don’t give their kids candy or meat on the 17th of Tammuz, and stick to basic, simple foods. There is a value in getting kids familiar with the mitzvot that they will later have to undertake. The 17th of Tammuz sets the tone for the Three Weeks, and maybe there are alternatives to taking kids to the pool.

    in reply to: Why do people lie? #777159

    DovidM
    Member

    Is the issue a lack of Yiras HaShamayim? Someone who has a problem with stealing (for example, keeping silent when the grocery store clerk fails to charge you for an item), with swearing (after all, I was really angry, and the words just came out), or with lashon hara (I wasn’t the first to speak lashon hara at the Kiddush) has the same basic issue as someone with a problem with lying: they act as if there is no eye to see or ear to hear what goes on.

    It is hard to face the problem you have to struggle with day-to-day. It is much easier to see that something that is not a challenge for yourself can be a real problem for other people. This can then lead you to reflect that if you don’t have a problem with stealing because you know that the Abishter is watching, then you should apply the same insight to the thing you need to work on.

    Perhaps the girl will respond if she sees that she has the strength to resist challenges that others have.

    in reply to: Destruction of Property #774855

    DovidM
    Member

    A co-worker brought his two kids to work. Both seemed to be nice, polite kids, and didn’t make a nuisance of themselves. However, after their visit (they were there all day) I found that the handful of change that I kept in my desk was gone. Although I have never had a problem with even a pen going missing before this, I can’t say for sure that it was his kids. I am more concerned about one of his kids persisting in doing things like this since it went unreported and unpunished. It could set a pattern.

    When I saw my co-worker next with one other person present I mentioned that someone had swiped my stash of coins from my desk, and asked if they had noticed anything missing. Of course, unless he is already aware of a problem one of his kids has with rifling through people’s desks, I don’t think he will think much about it.

    in reply to: Introverts thread #1193437

    DovidM
    Member

    Rabbi Eli Melech’s Tzetel Katan recommends that someone who is shy practice praying in a loud voice for 40 days. He says that you should say the blessing over the Torah in a loud voice as well. I have made this a practice, and noted some benefits:

    1) By saying Boruch Hu U’Voruch Sh’mou and Amen more forcefully after the chazzan rather than just mumbling it, I get more people at the minyan to say Amen.

    2) By projecting more confidence, I seem to be getting more aliyot.

    3) Outside the minyan, I find myself speaking up more.

    in reply to: How much davening do you say from the siddur, how much by heart? #774951

    DovidM
    Member

    I read that Vilna Gaon emphasized the need to read the Shema from the Siddur rather than to say it by heart. This from a man who had a photographic memory of Gemara. I assume the reason he insisted on this is the chance that we could unintentionally leave out or misremember passages we have been saying since we were small.

    I get the point about closing your eyes while saying Ashrei, etc. I find myself doing this at Shacharit and Mincha.

    in reply to: Cultural differences – sepharadim vs ashkenazim #793722

    DovidM
    Member

    I’ve heard that there are many Ashkenazim who fill teaching posts at Sephardic Yeshivot. I am sure that they are very worthy teachers, but whether they know the Ben Ish Chai backwards and forwards like they do the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch is another matter. Some Sephardim must see leaving the training of the next generation of pulpit rabbis in the hands of Ashkenazim, however well intentioned, as a threat to their continuity and cultural traditions.

    I would also point out that post-Shoah yeshivot have gone back to the sources, and have de-emphasized learning the minhagim. After so many years of this, we are hardly aware that it was not always so. Inevitably, the products of Ashkenazic yeshivot would teach as they were taught, whether that is at an Ashkenazic or Sephardic Yeshiva.

    in reply to: Time to Daven for Childless Couples? #772095

    DovidM
    Member

    I was taught that Tehillim 20 should be said for couples that are either childless, or have had one child, B’H, but want another. I was also told that it should be said for those with cancer or other life-threatening conditions.

    in reply to: Avoiding Even The Appearance of Impropriety… #777604

    DovidM
    Member

    I have had others ahead of me in line find out that a soft drink was included in the deal, leave the line, get the soda, and return to finish paying. It had not occurred to me that they were trying to avoid the appearance of having gotten something for nothing, since, if you are a regular customer, you would know that a soda comes with, and, if you aren’t, you have been to places with the same arrangement. I just thought they were oblivious to those behind them in line waiting to pay for their food. This, of course, probably reflects on me more than them.

    in reply to: Driveway Blocking In Borough Park #710580

    DovidM
    Member

    A couple of months ago, I was in Boro Park for a function at Ateres Chyna. We parked six blocks away. My friend was careful to park his SUV midway between two driveways so that neither party would be inconvenienced. We saw a lot of cars on this and other streets parked so that it would have been possible but a bit tricky for the homeowner to enter or leave via the driveway.

    To me, the illegal driveways don’t matter. They take one or two cars off the street, and so improve the parking situation somewhat. I also don’t think that I have a right to park carelessly because I am in a hurry or I don’t know the Yid whose house I have my car in front of.

    in reply to: Tips On How To "Calm Down" #710766

    DovidM
    Member

    If you believe that everything happens for a reason, then you will be able to step back a bit from the current situation. When I am in a stressful situation, I reflect on how the Avot all had their trials. Those who gave them grief were only instruments of Hashem’s will. While I certainly don’t put myself on the same level as the Avot, I know that Hashem wants to see what things I am capable of, and whether I have learned from past mistakes.

    In stressful situations at work, I try to see if some of the stress may be due to my own faults. For example, could I be more flexible and rethink the way I do things? If someone is rude to me, is this payback for some lashon hara that I may have spoken outside the workplace or some less than generous thoughts about others that I kept to myself? I am not saying that you should automatically accept negative comments made by others. However, none of us are able at the end of a long day to take pride in everything we did and said. There are too many unworthy thoughts and missed opportunities.

    in reply to: Inviting Non-Jewish Co-Workers To A Simcha? #1143892

    DovidM
    Member

    I heard two non-Jews at a bar mitzvah comment on how much was spent. This bar mitzvah was not an over the top affair, by any means. The family of the boy is strapped for cash, and their biggest expenses were flying in a grandparent from out of state, buying a tallis and tefillin for their son and paying a caterer to provide a modest buffet. They didn’t hire a hall (it was held in shul), provide an open bar or host a live band. Still, these two non-Jews took pleasure in discussing the extravagance of the affair. Being guests simply reinforced their prejudices.

    in reply to: Kids or teens who leave the Shabbos table to go read… #709411

    DovidM
    Member

    A teenager who takes themselves away from the family table to occupy a separate space on the couch is making a statement. One friend’s daughter is like this because she is the oldest child, and about five years older than the next child. What the younger kids enjoy she can’t enjoy. A nephew was like this as a teen. His father didn’t want to confront him about it. Even when it is your son, it hard to say what is going on. My nephew’s behavior on Shabbos had an influence on one of his younger brothers. Both have struggled finding a place in life, despite being good academically. Neither has seen the inside of a shul since becoming adults, and they limit their contact with religious people.

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