Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Shevat 5762 - January 30, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network












Can You Call Her Mama?
The Shvigger Syndrome

by A. Ross

The term `mother-in-law' or shvigger has slightly negative connotations. Mothers-in-law have been the butt for humorists since time immemorial and jokes, sometimes unkind, often hilariously funny, abound in many Western cultures. What has caused this antipathy towards someone who is, after all, one's partner's mother? Presumably, in most cases, a son loves his mother. He gets married and his wife does NOT love her. Why is this and what can we do to foster good relationships with parents-in-law?

Water Purification Systems: Let the Buyer Beware!

To The Editor:

Salesmen for several water purification systems are making the rounds of late, offering home systems at inflated prices and gouging the public. One of these super salesmen offered a reverse osmosis system along with five filters manufactured in the United States. His price? NIS 4680 and an additional NIS 280 for installation. Altogether: NIS 4970.

The Spiritual Down Side
by Rosally Saltsman

My down comforter was ripping here and there, scattering feathers all over my room. So I decided I would go to a place that sold and fixed comforters. When I got there, I was told that they couldn't fix it, but they would give me a free down pillow if I were to purchase a new comforter which was now on sale at half price and they would donate my old comforter to a needy family.

No Different Than You: Shevi's Story
by Yehudis Bogatz
Published by Targum, Distributed by Feldheim
Reviewed by Judith Weil

Every now and again we meet real goodness. Such is the situation with Shevi Gura, nee Wittow, whose story was published in Hebrew three years ago, shortly after her passing, and which has now finally been made available to the English-reading public in a book entitled, No Different Than You: Shevi's Story.

Tu Bishvat Toffee-Taffy Fruits

by Devora Piha

[It may sometimes be too late for coffee, but it's never too late for (Tu Bishvat) toffee...]

In America we call these candies taffy and in Israel we call them toffee. Either way, these pliable sweet treats make great miniature Tu Bishvat fruits. They can be used for a post Tu Bishvat activity, for cake decorations or m'shloach monos [see -- we can even be EARLY].

Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

Anthrax is all over the news today, so we should speak about it. Anthrax is a disease of cattle and other plant-eating animals. It has the ability to make spores that can turn into seeds and wait until conditions are optimal to sprout. If that happens in the skin, it can cause an ugly sore that fortunately heals well. If the spores are swallowed, it can cause a severe diarrhea and sepsis -- that is blood poisoning, but this is unusual unless a sick animal's meat is eaten, and that is rare for those who eat kosher meat.

Poet's Corner

See Saw

by Margery Daw

Why was the Torah given on Mt. Sinai? Because it is lowly and humble. Humility, I guess, is like an onion: you peel off one layer of vanity and think you've grasped humility, only to discover that there is yet another layer hidden beneath...

Once there was a lady who was quite humble.
In fact, she took great pride in her humility.
Great pride?
Oh, dear.
She humbly acknowledged how wrong that was.
And for that humble acknowledgement,
she felt -- you guessed it --
so proud.

It seemed to this lady that everything she did --
each gesture, every word --
was only for other people,
(which, she knew, made no sense).
So she determind that
from now on,
once and for all,
no matter what,
she would do everything only for the sake of Heaven.
She pictured herself doing everything for the sake of Heaven.
She pictured how everyone would sit up and take notice, and...
Oh, dear, she thought humbly.

Feeling not a little dizzy,
this lady decided to drop the subject,
and clean the bedroom closet.
Action! she told herself, that's what's called for!
I'll get moving!
I'll clean up a storm!
That'll take me out of all
my dusty deliberations.

Well, I have to tell you: that lady cleaned up a storm.
And it worked!
For a while.
She got two-and-a-half shelves all clean and orderly!
She felt great!
A breakthrough! she exulted. A sure cure
for depression, confusion, and whatever-ails-you!

The lady felt so...

Here we go again...

And another one by Ruth Lewis, also on humility...)

Oh, to Be A Frog

The frogs in Egypt even jumped into the ovens,
so eager were those frogs to do His will;
Moshe had to shout to make them stop.
The wild animals also did His will,
but not with so much eagerness, self-sacrifice.
I thought of why:

If you're a lion, mighty, maned,
a tiger, muscled, powerful,
you know you're really Something.
But, I mean, what are frogs, ever,
in their lifetime?
Small, green, slimy, lowly nothings,
hideous, squat, warty, ugly-voiced.
The only power granted them is to jump.

And so they jumped and jumped to do His will --
their one and only chance, they knew,
at doing, being, anything.

And if you ask me how I know --
I know.

High Voltage --
Lightning Reminders

a sonnet by Tzipora Zien

The Force which bids the tides to fall and rise
And causes snow to dress the mountain's peak
Gave us a brain to register surprise
When darkest clouds are rent by lightning's streak!

A flash more bright than day might light the world,
And 'ere we have the time to ask, "From whence?",
The thund'rous grand response our conscience hurls
Into a frenzied query. "Recompense?"

Indeed, that voltage crashing close to home
Begs us to recognize that life is short,
And Sinai's echo rocks the heaven's dome
Reminding us to mend our lives' report.

The calm after repentance is so sweet,
We'll fear no more, but welcome storm's repeat.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.

Click here for conditions of use.