Daily Archives: June 16, 2010

From HSM’s Mail Bag

What do you think of saying the expression “I’ll keep my fingers crossed”.  is this something Jewish people say nowadays?  Do you personally say this?  just was discussing this with someone….thanks!

Thanks for emailing me. I don’t say “I’ll keep my fingers crossed” nor do I say “knock on wood” or anything of that nature. I didn’t hear those expressions in my house growing up, so they wouldn’t be normal parlance for me. However I have heard religious Jews use these phrases without knowing the symbolism behind them. I always thought they both were derived from Christianity – but read the following paragraphs for enlightenment.

From Wikipedia:

Crossing one’s fingers, by curling the middle finger over the index, or the index over the middle, is thought to bring good luck. This dates back to when crossed fingers were used as a gesture to ward off witches and others considered to be or possessed by evil spirits. It is also seen as bad luck to cross your fingers on both hands.

Some believe that the gesture originates from pre-Christian times and, in many early French-Brazilian cultures, two people were required to use their index fingers to form the sign, one to make a wish and the other to send it up to the heavens to the mighty Alah. It was believed that the cross was a symbol of unity and that benign spirits dwelt at its intersecting point—to wish on a cross was a figurative way of securing the wish at the intersection until it came true. Over the years, the custom was modified so one person could cross any part of their body to make the wish.

From Associated Content:
The exact origin of the phrase “knock on wood” is unknown, however many speculate that is could have come from rituals in early times where trees were considered sacred spirits. Others believe the phrase originated in Ireland. To knock on wood was to alert leprechauns that you were thanking them for giving you good luck. Another popular belief is that by knocking on wood you prevent the devil from hearing what you have just said, which in turn prevents the action from occurring. It is possible that the origination of the phrase “knock on wood” is derived from Christianity and the wood is a reference to the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

The earliest reference of the phrase “knock on wood” was recorded in the early 1900’s. There are some references to a similar phrase, “touch wood,” that were recorded in the late 1800’s. “Touch wood” means essentially the same as “knock on wood.” Today we more commonly use “knock on wood” rather that “touch wood”.

Babies – How do you know when you are ready??

Me with one of my babies...

Over the years I have had similar talks with many newlyweds – about when they will know they are ready to have kids. Some of these new brides are on birth control – together with their husband, they have decided to wait a year, or two, or an indefinite amount of time, until they make the big step of deciding to have a family.

I gave birth to my first child 14 months after we were married. It took me 5 months to get pregnant, and every month that I was not pregnant I was disappointed. I had been ready, in my mind anyway, to have a baby since I was 12 years old. I dreamed of babies. I desperately wanted kids of my own. I knew in my soul I was ready. (Was I ready to have 3 kids in two and half years? Nooooo! But hey, I love them all to pieces).

So for me, it was a no brainer. I have since come to understand that most people are not like me, and need time to come to the decision to have kids. In our religious circle, most women fall pregnant or try to within the first year of marriage. We all know of many women who have given birth 9 months after their marriage. Judaism encourages us to have many children.

When I was having the first child, we worried about money – but we knew we would be ok. God would provide. Yes, it sounds very twee, but He did. For each child. BH our kids never went hungry and were always clothed (except when they decided not to be). They were and are surrounded with so much love – and that along with a few basics is all they need.

Many want to wait until they are financially stable. I hear that. But when do you draw that line? When you can afford a house? How many bedrooms? What about tuition? What does financially stable really mean? If you wait until you can afford it all – who knows how easy it will be to get pregnant then? The younger you are the easier it is. But if you don’t have two pennies to rub together, is it responsible to bring a child into this world?

I don’t believe there is a sign from one day to the next saying “you are now ready to be a parent”. For those who want to wait for a while after marriage, I guess it’s a discussion they have to have together about when they want to take that next step.

Let me add this – when you finally hold that little bundle in your arms (whether it’s a biological child or an adoptive one), ready or not, the responsibility hits you – and even though you thought you were ready, the reality of holding a real baby in your arms is like nothing you have ever felt before. This baby will need you, body and soul, for a very long time. It’s an awe-inspiring feeling, and by then it’s too late to change your mind (not that I believe many want to). It’s also the most miraculous feeling I personally have ever had. Knowing that we created this child together, out of love, and we now had the full time job of raising and caring for him – that filled me with such joy. I was on a high for weeks after giving birth the first time. The other three times I was definitely elated, but way too busy to be on a high.

My only advice is this – have a baby because it’s the right thing for you and your spouse. Because you want a family together. Not because of societal pressure. Not because of family nagging.  If you decide you don’t want to have children – so long as you are both ok with that decision – it’s nobody’s business but your own.

Let me open this up to you, my readers. How did you know you were ready? Or did you just leave it up to God (or biology)? What has been your experience? Are you sorry you waited or didn’t wait? Do you think 9 months after marriage is too soon to be having a baby? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Wednesday’s Wacky Signs

More irony, than wackiness:

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