Monthly Archives: April 2011

Royal Wedding and the Chief Rabbi

I loved the wedding. I got up early and watched, and got a little (a lot) misty eyed. But while I was thrilled to see us represented by Rabbi Sacks, Rabbi Plancey and Rabbi Bayfield, I wondered how they were able to be there.

I have always been taught that as a Jew I am not to enter a church, not even to look around. Here they were present during hymns and a religious church service. I was uncomfortable with that.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this matter?

Our son, the budding lawyer (or enforcer? Hmmm)

I overheard a conversation between HockeyFan and ChatterBox, and heard something about someone signing an agreement. Happened to be it was the little one being “encouraged” to sign.

I asked for a look at this document.

Here it is:

__________(first name) _________________(middle name) ________________ (last name) solemnly swear that if I annoy [HockeyFan] this weekend or I sleep on his bed on April 28 2011 I shall be under his command for a week.

Funnily enough they tried to convince me that once signed it is legal and enforceable. Seeing as they are both minors I told them no. However, apparently since they live in my “Queendom” (their word) I can choose whether it is legally binding in our home.

I have the power. Bwah hah hah!

Ima, the Protector

He may be taller than me, but he is still my child.
He may be wider than me, but he is still my little boy.
His voice may be deep, and his beard growing in, but he is still my young son.

That is why, when crossing the parking lot to the car from the supermarket I put my arm in front of him to hold him back when I saw a car coming. To protect my child. It’s instinctive. But yet, apparently embarrassing when you are almost 16.

When I was around his age, I was in the car with my Mum, and we got into a little fender bender, or a near miss – the memory is hazy. As she slammed on the brakes, Mum’s arm went out to hold me back and protect me.

From birth we protect our kids, and there is no law that says we have to stop at a certain age. But there comes a time when we have to step back and allow them to make their own mistakes, yet gently protect them at the same time.

How?

Halachot for Royal Wedding Day 2011

(Hat tip @Noah Roth)

I love this – shamelessly taken from someone’s FB page!

This is the authorised order of the day, as laid out by the Chief Rabbi of Canterbury, Rav H.R.H Williams.

Section A: Tefilla

1. One should dress in one’s finest clothes fitting to meet the Queen.

2. The congregation will join in with the Chazan who will begin the service with Adon Olam to the tune of ‘God Save The Queen’.

3. The service will continue as normal with the morning brachot, however ‘she lo asani goy’ will not be recited.

4. Pezukei D’Zimra will remain the same however Nishmat Kol Chai will be added in after Az Yashir. The Chazan for Shacharit will take over from Hamelech and will do Shacharit in the Yamim Noraim nusach.

5. The Kedusha should be that of Shabbat morning and all parts should be sung to the tune of ‘Rule Britannia’.

6. Hallel will be said, however there are differing opinions as to whether you make a bracha or not, therefore:

a. If you are praying in a United Synagogue (an organisation founded by Royal Decree), you should recite full Hallel with a bracha.

b. If you are in an Affiliated Synagogue, or any other type of synagogue, full Hallel should be said without a bracha.

7. The accepted minhag is for the Chazan to sing the refrains ‘Hodu’ and ‘Ana Hashem’ to the tune of the hymn ‘Jerusalem’.

8. Tachanun and Lamnatzeiach are not recited.

9. There is a special Torah reading for the occasion, which is from Parashat Shoftim where we learn about the Mitzvah of appointing a King – Devarim 17:14 – 18:2. The Torah should be read without a bracha.

10. The Haftorah is from Shmuel 11:1-12:25, which contains the episode of David and Batsheva. Brachot should not be recited.

11. Once the Haftorah is finished, the Torah should be held next to the Bimah and the prayer for the Royal Family should be read. Prince William’s and Princess Catherine’s name should be inserted into the prayer.

12. Psalm 119 will be read as the Shir Shel Yom.

Section B: Minhagei HaYom

1. Women, slaves and children are obligated to celebrate the Royal Wedding with a festive meal.

2. The meal should take place after Chatzot in a public location, preferably a street, because of pirsumei nisuin (publicising the wedding).

3. B’dieved, if one does not have nice neighbours, one can have a meal in one’s garden.

4. If the weather is inclement, the meal can be held indoors. The same rules apply here as for eating in a Succah.

5. Hamotzi should be recited at the start of the meal.

6. Bentsching should be made over a cup of wine, followed by Sheva Toasts. This consists of making the bracha ‘Borei Pri HaGafen’ followed by six toasts to the following recipients: Prince William, Princess Catherine, Queen Elizabeth, Phillip Duke of Edinburgh, Charles Prince of Wales and all the Royal Family.

Mitzvah Time

There is always an opportunity to perform a mitzvah – you just have to be open to it and seize the moment.

This afternoon I was driving my boys back from spending time over Pesach with their Abba. We met at Lake George, and left for the 3 hour return trip  – a six hour trip in total.

TMI – When the boys are at school they don’t go to the bathroom. They will hold it in for hours until they come home, and then pee for 5 minutes straight. The bathrooms at school are apparently gross and disgusterating therefore these unhealthy measures are apparently necessary. On long car trips they seem to be unable to hold it in for longer than 60 minutes at a time. But I digress.

We stopped off in the New Baltimore rest stop to use the facilities, get coffee, and were heartened to see plenty of Jewish people there. This was supposed to be a quick pit stop. As the boys were leaving they were approached by an MoT and asked if they had davened mincha or not. The man was an aveil (a mourner) and needed to daven mincha with a minyan and wasn’t sure he would be able to find one upon reaching his destination.

My boys quickly came to ask me – worried that if they agreed to join that it would delay us. I told them they should of course help out – hey, three barmitzvah boys goes a long way to make up the ten needed for a minyan. Soon enough they had gathered ten men and stood outside the service station davening mincha as the cars whizzed by on the highway and as other people went in and out of the rest stop.

We were delayed only ten minutes, and I told the boys that they did a huge mitzvah and should be proud of themselves.

This was a teachable moment – and I believe we all learned a lesson.

Since I last blogged

  • I met Dr Oz in the flesh – the man has presence!
  • We attended two very different but equally awesome sedarim.
  • We ate several delicious meals with wonderful friends.
  • I consumed about 17 lbs of matzah (ok, maybe less, but my stomach tends to exaggerate)
  • My taste buds were subjected to daily fiestas from different cooks and hope never to recover 🙂
  • We drove hundreds of miles – to drop off the boys with their dad (later today I plan on picking them up), and to spend the last days of chag with family in MD.
  • I slept. I slept a lot. We had a child-free Pesach so I slept as much as I could, banking as much zzzzs as is possible.
  • I bonded even more with the KoD’s great family
  • I appreciated the alone time I had with the KoD – won’t be a while till we have a day or two to ourselves again.

Now, it’s time to hit the ground running, get the house back in order – washing machine will be over worked today, get the pantry and refrigerator filled and get the boys back home. And I am looking forward to getting back to the work grindstone too. How was your holiday?

Weirdest Dream

I woke up exhausted this morning and after I had seen the kids off to school I crawled back into bed for a hour. Not something I do often, but my brain was as slow as molasses. Even coffee did not help.

In my dream I am walking along the beach with my KoD, and happen to glance at the highway that ran parallel to the beach, and saw a car cross the median and crash into a tree.

I yelled to the KoD to call 911 and I sprinted across the highway to see if I could help. The driver met me halfway and I helped her onto the beach. She was wearing ice skates. It was obvious to us all that this was why she had crashed, but it was like the big elephant in the room, no one mentioned it. She said she was tired and lost concentration.

I woke up. I wonder what it all means….

Wednesday’s Wacky Signs

Rabbis Sound Alarm Over Eating Disorders

The NY Times ran an article yesterday “Rabbis Sound Alarm Over Eating Disorders” that brings to light the suffering of many young women in the Orthodox world that are suffering from eating disorders. This paragraph jumped out at me.

“There are a lot of mixed messages,” said a 27-year-old woman from a strict Orthodox community in Brooklyn, who once carried less than 100 pounds on her 5-foot-6 frame. “My grandmother would see me and say, ‘You look so good, you’re so skinny — come eat, eat.’ ”

Our world revolves so much around food and celebratory holiday and Shabbat meals, but unfortunately there is a lot of focus put on the girls to be skinny. One of my Boro Park charedi cousins once told me “you can never be too rich or too skinny” and she totally believed it.

I find it interesting though, that this obsession with being thin does not seem to apply to the boys. Very few mothers of girls are asking the boy’s waist size or weight when they are discussing a shidduch.

Size shouldn’t be a consideration in shidduchim – health is more important. Let me tell you something, being pregnant takes a lot out of a healthy body – if the body is starved of nutrients beforehand in order to maintain that size 2 that got a girl married – that will only lead to problems in the pregnancy and perhaps long term.

We need to focus on health, and how to maintain good eating and exercise habits – but how are we going to get this message through to those who need to hear it? How are we going to help those already suffering from eating disorders as a result of the peer pressure? How do we remove the shame and stigma associated with mental illness in our communities? How can we teach self-acceptance to those who are unwilling to learn?

Picture Perfect

So we got the proofs for the barmitzvah pictures yesterday and they are eleventeen-hundred shades of gorgeous. Our photographer (www.shmuelheinemannphoto.com) did a stellar job. Our memories of that special weekend live on in our hearts, but it is so lovely to see them captured in the pages of our album – well they will be in an album as soon as the stores open and I can go and buy one. Can’t have the kids’ mucky fingerprints all over them…

I couldn’t wait to get the proofs and in the ten hours since we got them I have spent a lot of time looking them over, examining them, trying to figure out which to enlarge, which to frame to grace our currently empty walls.

The kids don’t really seem interested in seeing them – it’s kind of like – uh, we were there? Our memories work fine – who cares about photos? Whatever (insert major eye roll here).

There was one exception. Little prince ChatterBox expressed no interest in seeing the pictures but did ask if he looked cute in all of them.

This seems to be a male thing – I remember when we got our wedding photos I was so excited to show them to the KoD – and got a “very nice” in return. He was there, what are the photos going to show that he won’t remember?!!

Mars vs Venus?