We are now married, with new jobs, a new home and a renewed appreciation for the strength we draw from each other… Ani L’Dodi, v’Dodi Li
Giving gifts to men can be as confusing as multivariable calculus. In this case, less is more. The ideal gift says, “I care, but I’m not trying to buy your affection.” The gift-giving formula all depends on how well you know him and how long you’ve been dating. Unless you’ve been together for at least four months, taking him out for a romantic dinner on his birthday is going overboard. Here are some guidelines to help hone in on that perfect gift to prevent him from fleeing in the opposite direction
When the Oral Law was first codified, most Jews lived in agrarian settings. Today, being less familiar with agrarian culture, some people find it difficult to relate to some of the discussions in the Mishna (Oral Law) regarding planting or livestock. Although we may no longer farm or herd flocks, the importance of responsible land ownership and use is a value that has remained throughout time.
For Jewish farmers in the land of Israel, one of the mitzvot that is part of the cycle of crop production is that of bikkurim, the first fruit offering. The first fruit to blossom on each plant of the seven species of the land of Israel (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates) is marked (with a string) to be set aside for an offering at the Temple. One might assume that this mitzvah would apply to all farmers, but, in fact, the rabbis understood the pronouns in this commandment to be very specific: “You shall take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you shall bring in from your land” (Deuteronomy 26:2).
The Mishna (Bikkurim 1:2) states that “tenants, lessees, or occupiers of confiscated property–or a robber–may not bring them…because it says, ‘the first-fruits of your land.’” As significant as the first fruits are, the relationship of the farmer to the land upon which the plant grows is also important.
But ownership of the land is not the only criteria. “These may not bring them [bikkurim]: He who plants on his own soil, but sinks [a shoot] so that [it] nourishes from the territory belonging to an individual or to the public…[or similarly]…so that it grows on his own property”(Bikkurim 1:1). In other words, this mitzvah can only be performed by one who makes certain not to infringe of the property rights of others or the public.
Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.
Okay girls, are you ready for this? (because I know I’m not): My son here in NY thinks it’s time for me to get fat!!! And he is not alone. My other son in LA thinks the same thing. How do I know? The boys tell me so. They say, “Mom, isn’t it time to just relax?” (when I am, for instance, trying to resist that second cupcake at my granddaughter’s birthday party). “Enjoy yourself, Mom!” they add. “Who are you staying skinny for?”
Not many things are perfect in life; but JDate, along with destiny and a little luck, is. Maybe luck runs in the circle? Heather’s sister Jennifer is married to Scott (both former JDaters) and they know other people married and/or dating from JDate.
From a distance, halacha, Jewish law, appears to be black and white. In reality, however, much of Jewish law is left to the subjective interpretation of experts. A person with a legal question (such as how to attend a business lunch in a non-kosher establishment) asks his/her rabbi who either paskens (renders a legal decision) or refers the question to someone of greater learning and authority.
There is usually something that keeps non-baker types from actually making desserts. The die-hards will make dessert no matter what, but non-baker types have their “lines in the sand”. I find that rolling out or making a pie crust is a top contender for non-baker types as the leading reason to: purchase dessert from the store, con someone else into making it or to skip it and buy some Ben and Jerry’s!
We’ve survived moving, living at both sets of parents’ houses for an extended period of time, buying and renovating a house…
The youngest of twelve brothers and one sister, Benjamin, the son of Jacob, appears in the Biblical narrative to be a passive personality whose life is seemingly dictated by the fate of those around him. His mother, Rachel, died while giving birth to him. Knowing that she would not survive, with her last breath she called him Ben-Onee, the son of my mourning. His father, however, called him Binyamin (Benjamin), which means son of my right hand.
Eight years younger than his charismatic brother Joseph, Benjamin was only nine when their father was informed that Joseph had been killed. The sole surviving son of Rachel, Benjamin took Joseph’s place as his father’s beloved child.
After their first trip to Egypt to buy grain because of the famine in Canaan, Jacob’s 10 eldest sons were afraid to return to Egypt for more food, since the Viceroy (really Joseph incognito) had commanded that they not appear before him again without their brother Benjamin. But when the grain ran out, and with great reluctance–only after Judah vowed to protect Benjamin–Jacob allowed his youngest to leave.
When the brothers arrived in Egypt with Benjamin, they were greeted with a feast at which “Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of them” (Genesis 43:34). Afterward, however, Joseph planted a cup in Benjamin’s sack and had Benjamin arrested for theft. Horrified, the brothers returned to Joseph, pleading Benjamin’s innocence. Judah even offered serve as a slave for life in Benjamin’s stead. Seeing the brothers’ strong commitment to protect Benjamin spurred Joseph to reveal himself.
Oddly, throughout all this action, nothing is actually heard from Benjamin himself. Benjamin is an enigmatic character. According to one Midrash, he knew all along that Joseph was alive but did not tell Jacob. Passive as he may seem, the Midrash reveals that Benjamin was one of the few completely righteous individuals to ever live.
Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.
When I was in junior high school, I read the book Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse and became fascinated with the idea of setting forth on my own spiritual quest. During spring vacations, when our family would drive from Chicago to Florida, I began the practice of looking out the window at various landscapes trying to find the perfect place for me to live like a hermit and reach enlightenment. The minimum requirements included a grassy area by a stream and a tree. My requirements for a hotel in Florida, however, included a vending machine and a swimming pool. As I got older, my spiritual search led me away from trips to Boca to treks in the Himalayas where my soul soared in the heart of Buddhist teachings while the rest of my body kvetched from the affects of altitude. From Nepal to Bhutan, I saw myself as an adventurer and seeker, always looking out for that perfect moment of Nirvana, just around the corner, or keeping a watchful eye for the perfect Buddhist monk or nun with a shaved head who would, through word or action, invite me into the world of enlightenment.