Author’s note: These vignettes are true stories based on true stories. All characters are real; names have been changed to protect the innocent. Hindsight is 20/20. I share my world with you because 1.) my life is crazy and hilarious, 2.) we are so immersed in our mundane hectic lives that we forget to stop and smell the roses, and 3.) by stopping to hear my tales, maybe you’ll be reminded to see the silver lining in your life and take some laughs along the way.
Why does Shabbos lunch have to have so many courses?! I have guests often and I want to just serve one course but I feel pressured to serve an appetizer. Not only that, but what if my guests don’t like the appetizer? I always feel like I need to have another option or two (or more), and then something for the picky kids, and don’t forget about the allergies! I really enjoy entertaining, but it is so overwhelming.
Pesachis a yom tov (holiday) where we talk about many miracles as we retell the story of the Jews leaving Egypt. I am sorry to say, though, there are no miracles contained within this column that will transform your Pesach preparations into something completely different from what you have been used to. Before you sink into depression and think that there is no hope for you other than heading to a Pesachhotel, I am here to cheer you on and tell you that there are two tools that you can use this year that will pay huge dividends in future years.
I learned from my girls that a dear friend’s daughter is texting on Shabbat. This is the kind of news that would crush my friend, who is always bragging about her kids. I am hesitant to share this with her, but on the other hand I feel that she should know this information. What should I do?
Marriage is a special and unique union with ONE and only one person. By definition, that means you will say YES to one individual, and NO to every other option on the planet. This thought should calm you down when you find yourself saying NO to many. You will be saying NO to all people, accept the ONE you marry. With all these turned down relationships, there is bound to be some heartache and heart break in the mix. Let’s discuss how we can minimize this to protect ourselves, protect others, and more quickly find our forever relationship.
Whether you chose to meet people through a shadchan (matchmaker) is a matter of preference. Let’s discuss the benefits. A shadchan is often more aware of guys and girls that would be of the appropriate age range, hashkafic level, family background, and of suitable personality for you to meet. This system is in no way perfect. I’m the first to admit it.
After ignoring many phone calls from the editing team from Kol HaBirah they finally reached me on Tuesday asking about my article. I explained to them how busy I was and would not be able to write an article. They wouldn’t take no for an answer, so here I am during the blizzard, trying to throw this together.
The reason why I am so busy is that aside from all the cows starting to give birth, I already had to help pull a calf out because the mother was having trouble. I went to the city for Purim and wanted to join my family’s seudah (festive meal). This was a big step for me because I was bringing along a girl that I have been dating for some time. I have actually been using the advice from Kol HaBirah’s dating section!
If you were laid off — that is, lost your job through no fault of your own — unfortunately you have lots of company. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 1.6 million people are laid off nationwide in a typical month — that’s more than 70,000 each business day.
Just as your real job interview begins well before your formal interview, which we discussed in the previous column, so too your interview does not end when you leave the interviewer’s office. Rather, your real interview continues through your follow-up actions. At a minimum, you don’t want to burn any bridges by being pushy. Beyond that, through the steps listed below, you can improve your chances of being hired.
Confirm next steps. Before you leave the interviewer’s office, you should ask about the next steps in the hiring process and the timing of those steps. If you have not heard from the company within the stated time frame, it is okay for you to contact the company and ask about it. It is very important that you respect the time frame stated by the company and do not appear pushy (examples: calling to check in before the agreed-upon date, or calling frequently).
Picture the following three real-life situations:
Number One: You’ve delegated the task of baking a cake to you daughter. The only problem is that there is not enough oil in the house. Should she pretend we are watching our fat intake and substitute applesauce? Whoops— we don’t have any applesauce either!
Number Two: You promised your kids eggs for breakfast. However, you ran out of eggs last night. You send your kids in pajamas to knock on the neighbor’s door.
Should robots have to pay taxes? Bill Gates thinks that they should. In a recent interview, he suggested that if a robot replaces a job a human was once paid to do, the robot should have to pay taxes to make up for the lost revenue.
There are legitimate fears and concerns about the adverse economic impact of new job-snatching technologies and what feels like a looming crisis (that’s a nerdy Luddite pun).
While Gates presents what seems like the beginning of a solution, with every solution it’s important to make sure it does not solve one problem and create another.
I make a special effort to attend shiva services. If I have a friend who has suffered a loss, I try very hard to make at least one Shiva service, even if at times I have to cancel meetings or be away from my family for the evening. My wife says that I prioritize shiva over the family. Is she right? What is the best approach to take to attending shiva services?
This is a complex question, and I definitely feel for you. I mean, if you have to go sit with someone who just lost a close relative, which can be awkward and uncomfortable, and then go home to a disgruntled wife, that’s a bad night all around. However, if you choose to be home with your wife and family instead of going to the shiva, you feel badly that you not only missed out on comforting your friend, but you also missed out on an important mitzvah.
The mitzvah of menachem avel (comforting a mourner) is a biggie. In fact, it is considered one of the greatest mitzvot because it is one of the ways we mere mortals can emulate Hashem, as he himself comforted Yitzchak after Yitzchak lost his father (Sota 14a).
There are many factors to consider. Is this a very close friend? Is this someone for whom your wife would like you to be a shaliach (proxy) for her if she can’t go herself to this shiva house? How often do you find yourself missing evenings at home for other things that aren’t exactly top priority right now? Meaning, an extra shiva may just be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back.
Prioritizing your wife, your ezer kenegdo, is a central tenet of Judaism. Listen to what she is saying. Is she trying to tell you that you prioritize shiva over family, or that you prioritize shiva plus other things over family? My husband sometimes takes me with him on a shiva call, also is obsessive about going to shivas, which serves as an albeit somewhat maudlin date from time to time. I’m sure your wife isn’t anti-shiva; she may just be feeling like she needs and wants you around more, and by giving to every mourner you come across you are taking away valuable time at home.
It’s great to go to be menachem avel when you can, but your family needing you is a valid excuse for missing the occasional shiva (and other non-mandatory activities). Call the avel, send a nice note with a story about their loved one if you knew the person, and go to the shivas that fit in with your schedule and don’t cause a rift in your (important above all else) shalom bayit. Good for you for being such a good friend, but remember, keeping your wife happy— that’s number one. As Tony Soprano said, “Happy wife, happy life.”
Best of luck,