I am sitting here with my third grader as he does his English homework. He had to use each of his spelling words in their own individual sentence. He is still at the stage that forming the letters with his pencil requires a ton of concentration. I love watching him. The tongue is tucked into the cheek, and the eyes follow the pencil as it forms those shaky letters, using his finger to make a space between words.
He had to use the word “nice” in a sentence. I had to let him know that he couldn’t change it to “nicelier” as in “I want to learn to write nicelier”. He finally settled on “my mother looks very nice”.
I’ll take it….that IS a compliment, right?
A friend of mine shared recently that she rarely goes to menachem aveil (comfort a mourner) at a shiva (the 7 day mourning period following burial). It is traditional for family and friends to come and sit with the bereaved, to give them comfort, to listen, to just be there. I asked my friend why she doesn’t go. She told me she feels uncomfortable and out of place. “It’s awkward”. She doesn’t know what to say, what to do.
I explained to her that everyone feels that way. It is a hard thing to do, to try to comfort someone who has had a profound loss, who is bereaved. Nothing you can say or do will bring back their loved one. However, they need to know that their friends and family care about them.
I told her that what she says isn’t so important, that her words are not what the mourners will remember. What they will remember is that she took time out of her day to be there.
What would you tell my friend to help her get over her awkwardness in order to be able to perform this mitzvah? What helps you in this particular situation?
This is an interesting one. I have several friends who have similar issues too. As you know I just recently moved all my stuff down to NY. I was happy to get reacquainted with many things, including my jewelry that I had packed away. I don’t have a lot, but have some favourite pieces.
After a day or two I realized that the earrings I was wearing had been a gift from my ex husband, years ago, on a birthday or an anniversary. Now, they have absolutely no emotional attachment to me whatsoever. They are just a pair of earrings. They certainly have no sentimental value. But I cannot help but wonder if it’s not fair to the KoD that I am wearing something that another man gave me.
Is it heinous or harmless to wear jewelry (I really want to spell it jewellery, the way I was taught. Sigh) given to you by a previous partner? What about if we extend this to a favourite leather jacket, or even a vehicle? Should an ex partner still wear a watch that he was given? Cufflinks? Tallit?
As usual, I am interested in your thoughts….