“How do I know this? I was that girl. My mother always wanted me to be perfect, in a way that she defined as perfect”
Mystery Manuscript [A Giant’s Shadow / Issue 944]
I want to commend Riki Goldstein on the wonderful article on Rabbi Kreiswirth.
Rabbi Kreiswirth’s focus on Torah and chesed remains an inspiration for us all, and we have again been reminded of the tremendous zechus we had for him to have graced our city of Chicago.
Though Rabbi Kreiswirth was invited to the yeshivah under the recommendation of Chief Rabbi Herzog, it appears that his arrival in America was to assist in the publication of a commentary on the entire Yerushalmi. I had always wondered what happened to this work and why it was never published. Perhaps this is the lost manuscript mentioned in the article.
I do want to point out one small error: During Rabbi Kreiswirth’s time, the yeshivah was still located on Douglas Boulevard in the West Side of Chicago. The yeshivah moved to its current campus in Skokie in 1958.
Yasher koyach on another quality piece of Torah journalism.
Time to Look Inward [Inbox / Issue 944]
I am writing in response to the letter from “a parent deeply concerned with the ways of our ahavas Yisrael,” who blamed her daughter’s estrangement from her childhood values on a rejection from seminary.
While I am very sorry to hear of the struggles of both you and your daughter, your reference to your “perfect parenting” and claims of your daughter being “more outgoing, energetic, prettier and better than everyone else” are troubling. Perhaps you need a reality check.
It seems like you are blaming others for your daughter’s struggles but refuse to face the fact that perhaps your parenting was less than perfect. It sounds like you forced your daughter into a mold and she felt the pressure to live up to high standards and perfect expectations, leading her to snap. You thought the foundation was strong, but it seems that there were cracks.
How do I know this? I was that girl. My mother always wanted me to be perfect, in a way that she defined as perfect, but did not speak to my true nature as an introvert. She projected her own insecurities on me, instead of allowing me to express myself in my own way.
Unfortunately, this pushed me away from Yiddishkeit and I began to seek other ways to express myself. My mother could not understand that it was she who was pushing me away. She blamed my teachers for not engaging with me and friends for influencing me poorly, instead of looking inward.
Baruch Hashem, through a lot of introspection and guidance, I found my way back and learned to be true to my introverted self. My suggestion to the letter writer and Sheva is to accept and embrace who your children are, and don’t blame others for what you perceive as less than perfect personalities.
A mother who loves her children unconditionally
If It Were Really Perfect [Inbox / Issue 944]
I aspire to be as religious as your columnists and readers, but I’m not yet on that level. I read Mishpacha to inspire me to keep more, but I was shocked by the letter by “a parent deeply concerned with the ways of our ahavas Yisrael.”
She describes her daughter as being “more outgoing, more energetic and prettier” and claims that “the parents couldn’t accept that my daughter was better than theirs.” Is that how Hashem wants a Torah-observant Jew to think? Is her outward appearance so important? How can her mother say she is better that the other girls?
The mother also mentions her “perfect parenting.” There is no such thing as perfect parenting, and if her parenting were in fact perfect, her daughter would feel valued for who she is, rather than how she compares herself to others.
The Angels’ Praise [Connect Four / Issue 944]
I write with reference to Rabbi Glatstein’s column on zemiros. I closely follow all of Rabbi Glatstein’s prolific harbatzas Torah, both in audio and print.
In point three of the abovementioned article, subtitled “Angels’ Wings,” Rabbi Glatstein quotes a Tosafos in Sanhedrin 37b which says that on Shabbos, Klal Yisrael take the place of the angels who only sing six days a week.
As I was singing Keil Adon this past Shabbos it suddenly struck me that it’s not coincidental that on Shabbos many kehillos are noheig to sing both Keil Adon and Kedushah, both of which recount how the malachim sing the praises of Hashem.
I hastily closed my sefer (as this is one of my yetzer haras) and sang with the tzibbur with renewed gusto, as I now truly appreciate how beloved my singing is to HaKadosh Baruch Hu.
Thank you once again for your wonderful publication. I hope it gives chizuk to all your readership like it has given me.
P. Brandeis, Manchester, UK
While They Toil [Second Thoughts / Issue 944]
I wanted to thank Rabbi Emanuel Feldman for his important article regarding the difference between winning and losing close “games,” and how a small amount of extra ameilus goes a huge way.
In the same vein, I want to give a yasher koyach to all of the rebbeim, rabbanim, parents and talmidim who on the upcoming night of the 22nd of Shevat, will be in or will help with sedorim in the beis medrash.
When I was younger, it was uncommon for yeshivah bochurim, especially those still in yeshivah ketanah or elementary school, to give up on the national celebrations here in the USA. Now baruch Hashem, there is a “Super” kol Torah in the batei medrash during these events, with many learning programs geared specifically for that night. Those who participate are the true champions, who are kovesh their yetzer hara.
Anu ameilim v’heim ameilim.
Eli Blum, Lawrence, NY
Walk the Walk [Worldview / Issue 943]
Thank you to Mr. Gedalia Guttentag for correctly framing the picture of how the New York Times holds chassidim to a different standard than other minorities. You noted how Agudath Israel of America is actively promoting PR in a “Know Us” campaign.
I wonder what would happen if we all, in-towners and out-of-towners alike, would decide to not only talk the PR talk, but walk the walk. What would happen if the beauty of a Torah lifestyle were as readily apparent to everyone we would interact with? What would happen if our pleasantness, compassion, integrity, and menschlichkeit would be apparent both indoors and outdoors? What would happen if the way we conduct business, hire workers, drive on the streets, and utilize government programs would reflect our inner nobility?
I have a vision in which kavod Shamayim is taught as a subject matter in schools, and it is practiced by all frum Jews, no matter where. We are diamonds. Let our polish shine for all to see and our sparkles will speak for themselves.
Mrs. Ilana Orange
Inspired Beyond Words [Happily Ever After / True Account — Issue 943]
Thank you for publishing such an outstanding magazine with informative, inspiring, and professional content each week. Though usually I am content to simply absorb Mishpacha cover to cover, laughing, smiling, and tearing up at all the right points, after reading last week’s true account “Happily Ever After,” I felt spurred to contribute my own thoughts.
There are times in a person’s life when he is privileged to witness greatness, and it is these times that one must bottle up and keep forever, never letting go of that memory, of that experience, of that appreciation. I feel that this story illustrates a unique kind of greatness rarely seen in our world today; it is of a level to which few humans can relate.
It is the story of a girl who has experienced, and is continuing to experience, a deluge of shame, pain, and the unknown. A single girl waiting; then a girl offering her “potential backup shidduch” to her sister; then, finally, a kallah, beaming and glowing; and then, abruptly, a world crashing down, a member of the painful “singles-with-married-younger-siblings society.”
No more flowers and daydreams, no more white lace and exquisite diamonds. Just a void of emptiness, embarrassment, and heartache. And within this raging ocean of suffering and emotional upheaval, in an abyss of pain which most at such an age have never come close to knowing or understanding, to where does a young bas Yisrael turn?
With grace and maturity and an inner strength few are worthy to possess, she turns to her parents, teachers, and mentors, and ultimately, to Hashem. She speaks of strengthening her bitachon, of feeling Hashem even in the deepest pain.
I must say, I am inspired beyond words. I am a single girl in shidduchim, and this level of closeness and trust in Hashem, this sort of maturity and acceptance and belief — it is awe-inspiring. Reading this story, I couldn’t stop the tears from leaking out; this story is a timeless treasure. I want to let the hero of this story know: Your zechus for inspiring us is truly tremendous.
May Hashem grant you your own yeshuah b’karov.
When They Close a Deal [Open Mic / Issue 941]
In response to the recent article about paying shadchanim, I disagree with the idea of paying shadchanim hourly salaries.
In the sales industry, it is common for salespeople to be paid on a commission basis, receiving compensation only when they close a deal. This motivates sales people to work hard and close as many deals as possible.
The problem in the shadchanim industry is not the lack of an hourly salary, but rather the minimal amount being paid to shadchanim, even when they successfully broker a shidduch. This compensation is not proportional to the talent and effort required to successfully match individuals.
To attract more talented, full-time shadchanim who are seeking a career rather than just a side income, we need to start compensating shadchanim according to market standards, similarly to what one would receive for brokering a mortgage, property, or selling medical supplies, etc.
This would not only encourage more individuals to begin working with shidduchim, it would also encourage businesses that can create lists, meetings, and online databases to enter the industry.
Why shouldn’t a shadchan earn a similar amount for successfully brokering a shidduch for one’s son or daughter as the same individual would pay a broker for a building mortgage or headhunter employment recruiting services? Aren’t our children just as valuable?
A Liaison for Each School [Open Mic / Issue 941]
Referring to the Open Mic article by Rabbi Moshe Bender about a better system for shadchanim, I actually have a somewhat different idea. I suggested it to my fellow high school teachers at a summer meeting a few years back, as we tried to address the challenging shidduch situation facing our alumnae.
I suggested that each girls’ high school hire a full-time person, preferably a middle-aged woman, to act as a liaison to the many popular shadchanim.
This liaison would meet every graduate after she returns from seminary, develop a relationship with each girl, and advocate for her to the shadchanim. She would develop a sophisticated database and compile and update all information and resumes.
Twice a year, the school would host an event where all available shadchanim meet all alumnae. This would allow the shadchanim to put a face to a resume, and have an opportunity to update any changes in what the girl is looking for.
Of course this would require an additional full-time salary, which is a challenge in itself due to the financial struggles our yeshivos already face. Still, it’s a great idea — maybe the parents and school could partner in this initiative.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 945)
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