Dear Rivkie: Texting Trouble

Written by Super User on . Posted in Advice Columns

Dear Rivkie,

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?

Torn Tirtza


Making a List, Checking it Twice

Written by Chani Feldman on . Posted in Advice Columns

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.

No Other Gods

Written by Rabbi Jonathan Gross on . Posted in Advice Columns

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.

Dear Rivkie

Written by Super User on . Posted in Advice Columns

Dear Rivkie,

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?


Shiva Obsessive


Dear Obsessive,

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,


Making Plans for the Future for a Loved One With Special Needs

Written by Super User on . Posted in Advice Columns

When you have a loved one with special needs, making plans for the future takes on a whole new level of complexity. You need to ensure your loved one is financially provided for throughout his or her life. But there are quality of life issues to consider as well, and knowing where to find the best support systems and resources is vital. That’s why it’s so important to engage professionals, both financial and legal, who have expertise in special needs issues.

Many attorneys have expertise in estate planning, but when selecting a professional to help determine the parameters of care for a loved one with special needs, you will want to be sure the individual has skill and expertise in:

Overwhelmed by Success

Written by Super User on . Posted in Advice Columns

Dear Rivkie,

How do you suggest I handle a project I started that has become much larger than I anticipated so quickly? It is exciting that this is the case, but I am not able to fully handle the onslaught of emails, tasks and interest from all sides that want a piece of me, and I wonder how you suggest I go about dealing with that so I can relieve myself from being overwhelmed?

Heart Broken

Written by Rachel Burnham on . Posted in Advice Columns

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.

Blizzards, Cows, Puppies, Dating and Colostrum: Never a Dull Moment at the Farm

Written by Aryeh Goldschein on . Posted in Advice Columns

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!

Tales From The Shopping Cart

Written by Chani Feldman on . Posted in Advice Columns

In addition to their weekly sales, Shalom Kosher should advertise the social benefit that the store affords its customers by being a social hub on erev Shabbat. The friend you have been meaning to call, the neighbor that you never get to see because of your busy schedules, the woman that always has the nice word to say during an especially challenging week, and, of course, the person you were avoiding at all costs because of the huge time commitment a discussion next to the cantaloupes entails–– all of these people are there on a Friday afternoon. Men and women push carts up and down the aisles, some in a rush, some looking confused, others with a clear mission and purpose to the trip.

One thing about this humdrum piece of daily living, however, is that there is always something that lies deeper than the groceries in the cart.

When Your Interview ‘Really’ Begins

Written by David Marwick for KempMillJobAssist on . Posted in Advice Columns

Your interview for a new job does not begin when you sit down with your prospective employer’s hiring manager. That’s your formal interview. Your real interview includes everything a prospective employer can learn about you before your formal interview.

Cover letter and resume. Expect an employer to review your cover letter and resume with no tolerance for typos and jargon, and to compare these documents for consistency. To protect yourself, you should carefully review these documents. Even better, have two other people review these materials–one, an expert proofreader; the other, someone who knows your industry.

Job Search Nugget: Introducing Chameleon Resumes

Written by David Marwick for KempMillJobAssist on . Posted in Advice Columns

From time to time, we will highlight sources of free online information that can help in your job search. Although these sources are typically for-profit ventures, to interest people in their services they provide some information for free.

Today’s focus is Chameleon Resumes ( Lisa Rangel is the company’s founder and managing director. Her free services include webinars, “cheat sheets” on resumes and LinkedIn, an e-book, weekly podcasts, and a blog. Although she states that executives are her target, there is much of value here for executives and non-executives alike.