Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the dentist office

She walked in to the room with an air of confidence. She too appeared to be in her mid twenties but seemed to be everything I felt I was not. She was carrying a handbag indicative of a professional. Her outfit was modest yet showed an artistic inner being. Her hair was perfectly blown, side bangs feathered back to perfection. She annoyed me to the core. Here I was in agony and she had the audacity to have it altogether! In contrast, I had just thrown on a long skirt with a sweatshirt, slipped my hair in a pony tail and prayed not to meet anyone I knew. And if I did, too bad. I had a toothache. She approached the busy receptionist and signed her name on the clipboard. I prayed she’d sit on the other side of the room but no, of course not. On a day like this, when everything already seemed to be going wrong, little miss perfect had to sit down right next to me. I knew her type well. Choir head in high school, top seminary graduate and after the quick route through college landed the perfect job. And of course had her pick of perfect boys to go out with. And then to make matters worse, she had to smile at me. She couldn’t just be pretty, she had to be friendly too??? Smile back I ordered myself. And before I could help it I found myself turning and introducing myself, and then asking her her name. I expected a quick easy response but to my horror I watched as she struggled to get the words out. A stutterer. Who would have guessed. Something inside me softened. Perhaps it didn’t all come to her so easily either.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


A friend and I occasionally meet for lunch. As in all kosher restaruants it is inevitable that someone will come over to collect money. I have made it my policy to always give a dollar. I don’t really care whether they need it badly or not, that dollar will make no difference in my lifestyle and if they are asking its worth it to give. I also believe that by virtue of giving regularly it makes you a giving person and aware of others suffering. Early on in my outings with this friend she told me that as a rule she does not give. While I disagree with her stance I do not argue as she is allowed her opinion as I have mine. But last week we went for pizza and sure enough an elderly woman came over asking for money. My friend reached into her pocket and gave a quarter and I gave my customary dollar. After showering us with brachos worth much more than the money given, my friend commented that she is not sure why she chose to give this time when she normally does not. And the question that remains in my mind is how do you consider a quarter giving enough to make you question your motives? I am not saying that its not worthwhile to give a quarter, every bit helps. But don’t make a big deal out of 25 cents while eating your $10 salad.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

chanuka musings

Chanuka is almost over and still I am reflecting on the story. The Greeks were known to celebrate the body. Beauty and strength were considered the most admirable traits. Gymnasiums were the creation and pride of the Greeks. As a child learning this in school it was laughable. Why would someone care so much about these attributes. Yet as an adult I see our own culture mimicking that of the Greeks. Women are chosen for their beauty and shape. It is considered an ultimate accomplishment to spend hours at the gym. New jewish running networks are cropping up and organizations are using marathons and cycling events as fundraisers. i have a hard time making peace with what appears to me to be such diverse tendencies. To live a torah life may mean to take care of the body and appear to others as a regal image of God but it does not mean making a life of physicality. When look become the ultimate goal, they get in the way of being oved Hashem properly. The skirts get shorter and tighter, other things fall to the wayside. And sooner or later we are living like the Greeks. Ki archa lanu hayeshua- we are waiting so damn long. Let’s not get further entrenched in the galus. Let’s make our creator proud so he can finally put an end to all our suffering.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


While out to lunch with a friend last week she mentioned that a certain single guy told her that Chanukah is a depressing yomtov for singles. I laughed it off. Simchas torah, I can hear- all your friends dancing with their kids while you look on. Pesach, its hard to believe you are spending another pesach seder at the parents still single. Rosh Hashana means another year has gone by without the hoped for changes. But Chanukah? I didn’t buy it. Its not a very intrusive holiday. You go to work as usual and when you get home you light some candles. Not much room for depression I said.
And then the first night of Chanukah came. I pulled up to my house just as all the neighbors were gathering around their windows, lighting menorahs with their small children. I sat in the car watching, envious of them all And then I went inside to light my candles alone.