Daily Archives: April 26, 2010

the Yamulkap

(hat tip @DovEmerson) – is this for realz? Click on picture to embiggen.

The Yamulkap

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Asking a Shaila (a question)

This one is for the #JewCrew.

Let’s say there is a brother and sister who have a halachic shaila about family matters they need to ask of a rav. The sister follows one rav, the brother another. He asks his rav, she asks hers, and the answers are different. Who do they go according to?

EDITED TO ADD – this is something that they have to do together, not separately.

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Why is it?

Why is it that when you tell someone you don’t want to talk about it, they proceed to talk about it? Or when you say you don’t want to discuss something, the other person has a need to understand why it is that you don’t want to talk about it? Why do people just not accept your statement at face value and leave the touchy subject alone??


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What Would Moshe Think?

On my long drive back to Montreal yesterday my mind travelled a lot, as it generally does. But it kept coming back to one central thought. How is the Judaism that we practice today similar / different to the Judaism that Moshe brought with him from his time on Mount Sinai? If Moshe were to show up at any of the religious Jewish communities today, or on Shabbat or a holiday, would he recognize this as the same Judaism he adhered to millennia ago?

There has been so much emphasis by different factions on chumras (stringencies) in various different areas. Tzniut, kashrut, mikvah observance etc. Yes, there have always been 613 mitzvot, and we cannot keep them all these days because we have no Bet HaMikdash. But the ones that we can keep – do we keep them to the right levels? In the right way? In the right spirit?

One of my favourite lines to say is that Moshe’s sister Miriam did not wear panty hose in the desert. She didn’t. She was probably dressed extremely modestly, but I bet she wore sandals. These days sandals with bare feet are scandalous, apparently. This is but one example.

So, folks, what do you think? Would Moshe recognize our Judaism?

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Border guards

I always seem to flummox them to some degree. See, in my head it makes perfect sense that I am going to NY to see my husband, and that my kids are back in Montreal with their father. Apparently, if you are not HSM it is not that obvious what the family dynamic is!!

On my way down to NY on Friday the border guard looked like he was just about old enough to start shaving, but was very stern and asked me a whole lot of questions. Then he asked me what I do. What do I do? I am a mommy – I always say this proudly. (Someone once asked why I don’t tell the border guards I am a writer – I said, my writing career isn’t paying yet. They pointed out, however, that I also don’t get paid to be a mom. Hmm). So saying one is a mommy leads to questions about why I am travelling alone. Where are the children? I am always so tempted to say “kids, what kids?” but one does not joke at the border.

I need to work out a brief paragraph that explains the situation, without the border guard getting all confused, and me tripping over my words to try to explain. I came up with this “Visiting my husband – second marriage. He lives in NY, I live in Montreal. Kids from my first marriage live with me and are visiting with their father this weekend, he lives in Montreal too”. Coherent enough, right? But who can be coherent when you have just been grilled about what your husband does for a living and where and how much money does he make and do you have any weapons on you or 10,000 dollars?

The dude finally understood, wished me luck, and have a nice day.

I cannot wait till this border crossing thing is over and I don’t have to deal with heart-in-mouth syndrome on a regular basis.

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