Many of us have been trying to incorporate more spirituality into our lives since October 7. Our rabbis are trying to come up with new and inventive ways to say pretty much the same thing. If they go on a mission to Israel, it gives them, sadly, new material, but with the same message. We need to be united. We need to be proactive. Asking why is unhelpful and unhealthy. Performing acts of goodness and kindness are both emotionally and psychologically beneficial. Saying tehillim and prayers for the soldiers and hostages can make a difference. We find things in the weekly Torah portion that we can draw comparisons with what is going on today. Those can be a tad eerie and mystical. Son #3’s future grandmother-in-law was sharing parts of Shemot with me about how houses were being built for all the babies who were saved by Miriam and Yocheved, like all of the homes that are going to be rebuilt for those that survived October 7. Rebuilt with even stronger faith and strength and, God willing, most importantly, with peace.
On a lighter note, I did something very exciting last week. I needed to find an Excel spreadsheet on my computer. I had called a friend to help, but the members of the family who could help were unavailable. I would have asked my sons, but they were busy working for Hashem. I asked my brother and he tried to help me, but what he was telling me to do was not working. So there I was. I needed to find this spreadsheet. I knew that it was somewhere in my computer. I clicked and clacked and searched and searched some more, and it wasn’t coming up. I double clicked, triple clicked, prayed a little, and then I went to the mail page.
I noticed that there was a section that said “downloads.” I clicked on it, and that is when I scrolled down to 2019 and found the spreadsheet. I screamed so loudly you would have thought I discovered a cure for the shidduch crisis. I was so proud of myself that anyone who I spoke to that day got to hear the big accomplishment. Yes, I am a middle-aged housewife who gets excited by things like figuring out how to find a spreadsheet. It could be worse. I could spend the day Facetiming my daughter-in-law in the hopes of seeing my Strudel. Wait, I do that also. Bad mother-in-law, very bad mother-in-law.
And speaking of mothers-in-law, and tying this column together after having started it speaking about how people are spending more time going to shiurim (classes) and listening to rabbis, I recently came across a few pages of notes that I took at a class on in-laws. I have no idea when this class was or who gave this class, but it was definitely before any of my kids got married. Or had even reached puberty, for that matter. When the thought of having daughters-in-law hadn’t even entered any realm of possibility. Because I have never been a great note taker, I wanted to share some of the insights that I gained at this class.
The speaker started out with a joke, and here it is. “Why is Gan Eden such a lovely place? Because Adam didn’t have a mother-in-law.” Here are some other direct quotes. Please feel free to discuss these at your Shabbos table. “If you get a difficult daughter-in-law, it is on the parents to act patiently, not to make demands, because if you make demands on someone who is difficult, it will get them upset.” Next quote: “When you acquire a daughter-in-law, you acquire middot.” Now, I have acquired daughters-in-law who have amazing middot. Is that the same thing?
This next one is a goody…. “Wife doesn’t trump husband with his parents and receives an extra bonus for helping him with his parents.” This one actually confused me, because in the gemarah (see how shtark I am) it says that a wife always comes before the mother… Oy, these rabbis can drive you crazy! No offense or disrespect to any rabbis reading this.
But let me just end with these little rules — and remember, I do not remember who gave this class and I found these notes in a closet in the kitchen. Don’t ask me why they were hidden there.
1. Be positive
2. Don’t be negative and constantly complain about his mother
3. Don’t compare your mother to your mother-in-law
4. Don’t complain about your husband to your mother-in-law
5. Don’t complain about your spouse or in-laws to your parents
6. Look for things to be appreciative for. And, finally
7. Think of the effort that the in-laws have put into their son.
Now, for the merit of the safe return of the hostages and peace for our homeland and the safety of our soldiers, I will not make a sarcastic rebuttal to each of the seven items listed above. But you can do whatever you want with them!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck has always had a dream of being a standup comedian and is thinking that this column may just be the springboard to accomplishing that dream…Also, Zadies Bakery in Fair Lawn is the absolute best and yummiest bakery in town!!! Husband #1 has dreams about their diamond cinnamon sugar cookies!!!!