Category Archives: heinous or harmless

Heinous or Harmless – Guest Room

From My Email Inbox.

Scenario: You and your spouse are staying at someone’s house for one or two nights and they have a pair of twin beds in the guest room, with a nightstand in between.

Question: Would you even think to move the nightstand to put the beds together? Would it depend on the type of floor (harder to move on carpet…) or if the bed(s) had wheels, etc.

Is rearranging someone’s guest room acceptable or not?

If you *did* rearrange someone’s guest room furniture in this manner during your visit, would you make sure to return the room to its original set up?

Heinous or Harmless to move the furniture? Heinous or Harmless if you moved it and left it that way without putting it back? Discuss.

Heinous, Harmless or just plain yuck?

I stopped to use the facilities while I was at the supermarket doing the weekly shop. There is a downside to all that coffee I drink. Anyways.  There was another stall that was occupied and the woman inside was having an interesting cell phone conversation as she took care of business.

Heinous or harmless? Is talking on the phone one of those things that shold be suspended when nature calls? Or have we sunk so low that even a little tinkle cannot interrupt our conversations? Should I have made a lot of noise so that she would know there was someone else there? Did she have an expectation of privacy to hold her conversation? What are your thoughts?

Conversion is Private

I was taught that you never ever out a convert. Even if everyone knows that so-and-so converted, it is a sin to point it out to anyone.

I just received an invitation to a Tea (read: fundraising event for an educational establishment that already gets most of my money and then some) that is being held locally. Of course there is a guest speaker as there usually is.

The minute I saw GIYORES (translation: female convert) I saw red. That’s how you introduce someone? I did google the speaker and her bio is very open about her spiritual journey but yet I find it distasteful that it’s printed on this very pretty invitation.

So, heinous or harmless, folks?

Heinous or Harmless – Hair Covering and Dating

I have a friend “Roni” who was unfortunately widowed a while ago. She is the mother of young children trying to bring them up as grounded as possible, without a husband at her side. She has finally decided to take the plunge back into the dating world.

Roni is religious, and has continued to cover her hair (mostly with hats and scarves, occasionally a wig). She has spiritual and communal reasons to do so, and is not looking to change that. If she wanted, she could probably get a heter (rabbinical dispensation) to uncover, but she doesn’t want to, and is not interested in it at all.

She recently started dating a nice young man, someone who had never been married before. A man willing to take on her children and to follow a good solid marriage. A tall order!

But the hair covering thing is an issue for him. Officially, he says that he feels that this is a decision left to the woman he marries however on their first date he immediately asked Roni why she still covers, and was concerned that if someone he knew saw them, they would think he was out with a married woman. Roni tried to explain her feelings and conflict to him as best she could. She thought it was tabled.

In her words:

During our last conversation, we really shared a lot and I finally began to feel like we were becoming more comfortable with each other. I was getting high hopes for our third date, which would clearly be more relaxed and maybe help me sort out my feelings about him. Then at the end of the conversation, he asked me if I would consider not covering my hair while out on dates. I told him I needed to think about it, and maybe even consult a Rav.

But here’s the thing. I don’t want to go out in public with my head uncovered. I don’t feel like I am “there.” Also, I find inconsistency in observance due to circumstance to be inauthentic. I know women who don’t cover at work or on vacation and I have always felt it strange and didn’t get the rationale. But I don’t judge them because of how personal this issue is. It is a really hard Halachah for some, and I give them credit for what they are able to do. But to take a stance of I only cover [going to shul, doing carpool and getting groceries] or I don’t cover on dates, doesn’t sit well with me.

Roni asked me what she should do – she likes the guy. He is decent, there is some chemistry, he’d be a great male role model for her kids. But the fact that he asked her to uncover her hair when she is with him in public really poured cold water on the whole deal.

So dear readers, was this heinous or harmless on his part? What would you advise Roni to do?

Heinous or Harmless – Parental Nudity

I received an email from a buddy of mine whose girlfriend, let’s call her Sally, challenged him to survey all of his female friends on this scenario…(I have paraphrased some parts of his email but the content is mostly his)

Sally bought some skin cream [for her daughter] consisting of things like aloe, shea butter, and oatmeal. Well, apparently this stuff is supposed to be fantastic.  Sally was raving about it. Sally was SO taken by it that she went into her younger daughter’s room (all of 10), stripped butt naked in front of her, and started lathering this stuff on herself.

Buddy’s reaction was simple. EWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!! However Sally says this is a mother / daughter bonding thing, and sees nothing wrong with stripping naked in front of her little girl.

What say you, oh loyal and opinionated blog readers?

I don’t have a daughter, and personally, I would never even think of being under-dressed in front of my step daughters. I didn’t grow up in a house where nudity was common in front of anyone. So I am very curious to read your responses.

Heinous or Harmless – Using Ex’s Name by Mistake

I am terrible with names. I only have four kids, but I can hardly ever get their names right, even when they are standing right there in front of me. When you have been married for umpteen years, you get used to using your spouse’s name, often, mostly by reflex.

I have heard recently from a few of my friends who have been divorced and remarried that they mistakenly have called their new spouse by their old spouse’s name. Or their new spouse has called them by their ex’s name.

I am fortunate that although there have been a couple of close calls, I have never called the KoD by the ex’s name. I am sure it could happen on either side, but so long as it’s really just a slip of the tongue and not in an intimate situation, I think it’s harmless.

Has this happened to you? How did you react? Is it heinous? Or harmless?

Heinous or Harmless – Sweatshirt

My son catches the school bus at 7.23 to take him to high school. The bus stops outside our house, and he leaves the house a few minutes earlier just in case the bus is early. Today it was a few minutes late. When he left I was putting a load of laundry in the washer so I didn’t see him leave, he just called out his goodbyes. As I passed by my front room window soon after I noticed he was waiting for the bus without a jacket or a sweatshirt. It was cold this morning, I was wearing a wrap at 7.50 while waiting with the little one for the bus, and I was still freezing. (The cars were dusted with a light frost!!)

I briefly considered going outside with his sweatshirt and making him put it on. But he was waiting with a friend (who WAS wearing a sweater) and I didn’t want to embarrass him. The boys have told me they can handle the cold a lot better due to their experience of the Montreal winters, and that just because I am cold, it doesn’t mean they are.

Would it have been so heinous and embarrassing for me to have brought him a sweater? Should I just let him freeze repeatedly until he learns his lesson? Is 15 old enough for him to make these decisions himself? Is wanting to have brought him a sweatshirt coddling him, or caring about him? Where does one draw the line?

Heinous or Harmless – Grocery Store

I just got back from doing some of the preShabbat grocery shopping. Slowly I am learning which stores sell what products, and I visit a few different stores to get what we need.

This morning I was at Monsey Glatt loading up the shopping cart (I bypassed the chicken feet although they looked really fresh) and the store was very busy, what with it being Thursday and all.

I stood in line to pay and at one of the check-outs I saw a teen girl loading up the conveyor belt thingie with all her stuff, while balancing a toddler on her hip. Her mother came back after a minute, her arms full of more things, dropped them on the belt, went back into the aisles, got more things, and repeated this a time or two.

I felt this was a tremendous chutzpah – we are all waiting in line to pay for our purchases, and she stationed her daughter at the front of the line so she wouldn’t have to wait and could complete her shopping in record time. She should have filled up her cart with everything and then stood in line.

I understand standing in line and then remembering one item. We’ve all been there. But this was ridiculous.

So I say this was Heinous – what do you say?

Heinous or Harmless – Jewelry

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….

Heinous or Harmless – Affectionate Teacher

Yesterday I saw this tweet:

I was asked for my opinion, and have yet to give it. Apparently the children were around seven or eight years old.

I am not sure how I feel. What are your thoughts? Is it appropriate for a teacher to hug your child at this age? Is it no big deal? Is it an invasion of the children’s space, especially if they didn’t seek out the affection themselves?