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Inbox: Issue 976

“It is important that a child knows it is normal and human to make mistakes and to support them to learn how to clear up the mess”


Be a Good Guest [Dream Vacation / Double Take — Issue 974]

Here’s my take on the Double Take story: If the baalas simchah was funding her family’s stay, then she “owned” them. They had no right to snub her at her own simchah. If their kids weren’t able to handle the simchah schedule, then they should have been left at home.

If these relatives wanted to create a true family vacation, they should have bankrolled it, extended the time overseas after the simchah, and arranged it themselves. They also should have shown up to most if not all of the simchah events as a matter of pure courtesy and derech eretz. And they should have looked at Eretz Yisrael with an ayin tovah instead of stressing about “speckled tiled floors, wardrobes with chipped wood, and some missing door handles (gasp!).”

To be a good guest, there are several things to be mindful of.

The host’s money: If a host is spending money to have you in any capacity, don’t throw her money in the garbage. This is doubly true when she is making a simchah. I was enraged by the needless waste that this poor baalas simchah endured.

The host’s time: Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there. Don’t show up an hour early or an hour late.

The host’s relationships with her peers (this is true when families loan their apartment for free and then the guests back out): When you change your accommodations, the families in whose homes you are staying may end up having a taanah on the baalas simchah. She needs to maintain her relationships with them after her family goes home. The next time she wants to host different guests, these neighbors won’t be so accommodating. It’s simply not fair to all involved.

If you aren’t a guest with basic derech eretz and good social skills, your overseas family will try to be gracious to you on your next visit. But they will not be looking forward to it.

Name Withheld


True Perspective [Dream Vacation / Double Take — Issue 974]

The story “Dream Vacation” portrayed Kiryat Sefer as an undesirable place to live. The town is portrayed as having substandard accommodations, with small, dilapidated apartments and no decent views from their balconies.

To put matters into true perspective:

  1. There are large, spacious, and well-appointed apartments in Kiryat Sefer, and there are also small, cramped, and dilapidated apartments in Yerushalayim.
  2. There are apartments in Kiryat Sefer that have balconies overlooking miles of countryside, and there are apartments in Yerushalayim whose balconies overlook stone walls.
  3. I am unaware of the vast choice of places of entertainment in Bnei Brak, Ramat Beit Shemesh, Elad, etc. (unless one takes some form of transport from those towns to places of interest), and one can do the same from Kiryat Sefer, whose bus service to Yerushalayim, Bnei Brak, and many other places of interest is very frequent.
  4. Yerushalayim is incomparable to any other city in the world, and while the writer is undoubtedly correct in singling out the praises of Yerushalayim, that is no excuse to disparage a wonderful town like Kiryat Sefer.

Kiryat Sefer is a town saturated with Torah, chesed, and a population who are in the vast majority of cases satisfied with their lifestyles and not seeking to constantly run after the latest appliances and gimmicks (kosher or otherwise) being promoted by your media, despite the fact that there are many residents who are in a financial position to do so.

A happy and contented Kiryat Sefer resident


Step by Step [Guestlines / Issue 974]

I read the article by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, “It’s Time to Retire the Helicopters” with interest. He talks about the phenomenon of helicopter parenting, which he says is the cause of raising young people who don’t know how to take achrayus, to live with responsibility and accountability.

However, I would suggest that there may be occasions when a child wouldn’t be able to cope, and I think that Rabbi Goldberg would agree with me that a different approach may be necessary.

For example: a five-year-old child who is not managing with their peers and is being bullied. Sometimes the right approach would be that the parents empathize with the child and together come up with strategies with the right phrases that the child can say to their peers. Other times the child will drown unless the parents take the responsibility away from their child and speak to the school.

Parents want to help their children become independent and learn responsibility. However, if they do this too quickly it can have the opposite effect. A child who does not have the skills to survive a situation and who is left to sink or swim, might feel insecure and abandoned.

If a parent is able to support their child step by step toward independence, they will, b’ezras Hashem, feel secure, supported, and enabled to make the right decisions, taking responsibility for their actions.

It is, of course, important that a child learns that when they have made a mistake they need to take achrayus for it, but abandoning them and expecting them to sort it out themselves might not be the best derech for the child at that point. I feel it is important that a child knows it is normal and human to make mistakes and to support them to learn how to clear up the mess. This will help them become adults who live with accountability and responsibility.

Mrs. Berocha de Lange

Parenting Practitioner, Koach Parenting

London, UK


Breakneck Protest [By Any Other Name/ Issue 974]

I really enjoyed Rabbi Neuberger’s reminiscences about the Four Roses bungalow colony. But I think he misremembers Mr. Rosza’s protest over the PA system. It really went like this:

‘’Pinkas! If you fall off dat sving and breaka your head… I’ll breaka your neck!’’

A long time 4 Rose-r


Let Children Mourn, Too [Whatever Happened to Aveilus / Issue 972]

I read Dena Mason’s article and the letters written in response. One point that I feel is worth adding is, “What about children and aveilus?” Here’s what happened in my classroom a few years ago:

One of my second graders had recently lost her mother. As I was teaching, we heard music coming from the classroom next door. This girl immediately covered her ears with her hands and uncharacteristically refused to put them down even though I assured her that I understood, but since the music is not for her, it’s okay for her to hear it.

That night I called her father and told him what had happened. I asked him how he would like me to handle it in the future. He responded that he knows that his seven-year-old daughter is being very strict with aveilus, and he had asked his dayan what to do about it. The dayan said that she is not obligated to keep any laws of aveilus, but if she wants to, he shouldn’t stop her. I assured the father that I would respect that, and I added that in her refusal, I felt her need to keep up a connection with her mother. The father agreed.

So although the article was about adults, it is important for us to recognize that children might also need aveilus to help them handle that first year of intense grief and separation from a parent.

May we only experience simchahs.

B. W., New York


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 976)

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