Ask Wendy

Jewish World Review April 5, 2001 / 12 Nissan 5761

Celebrating when Passover is inconvenient; What's wrong with the name 'Melvyn,'?; Difference dilemma: Husbands and wives and Passover observance levels

By Wendy Belzberg -- My two sisters and her children travel a great distance to join my family for Passover. This year they want to join us but cannot do so on the exact date that Passover falls. Is there anything wrong with celebrating a few days either before or after the fact so we are all together?

The celebration of Passover is about passing the story of the exodus from Egypt to the next generation. Children are meant ask questions and spur the telling of the tale. Seders are not nearly as lively, and it is rather difficult to pass down the story, if the next generation is not present. So, if it doesn't bother you that the entire Jewish population is celebrating on a different day, enjoy your family reunion.

However, if the Jewish people could manage to leave Pharaoh's Egypt en masse-and rather inconveniently-you might find a way to remember your history in conjunction with the rest of your community. (There is something to be said for sticking together, as the Haggadah makes clear.)

I am pregnant and my husband and I want to give our firstborn a name that will honor the memory of my father, who died last year. My father's name was Melvyn. I don't intend to saddle a child with that name, so we told my mother we would give the baby an "M" name. My mother says that it is disrespectful to my father not to name the baby Melvyn. The discussion has turned into a source of daily conflict between my mother and me -- and we don't even know if the baby is a boy or a girl.

The topic of baby names should be placed off limits until you deliver, G-d willing, a healthy baby. And if G-d is even more obliging, a daughter. But assuming your baby is a boy, try this for a compromise: Give your son your father's Hebrew name. According to the famous Kabbalist, the Ari, ZT"L, a child's Hebrew name is far more significant than the secular name. Tradition has it that the Hebrew name expresses the character of the soul and reveals a child's true spiritual identity. It is by his Hebrew name that your son will be called to the Torah on the day of his bar mitzvah. That is the name that will appear on the Ketubah the day he marries.

Your mother lost her husband and you lost your father. You're pregnant with your first child, growing rounder by the day and weeping at Cola commercials; your mother is still grieving, and possibly facing the fear of living the rest of her life alone. This is not a good time for either of you to be discussing matters of consequence. Don't let your first pregnancy be marred by bickering

And whatever you do, DON'T NAME THE CHILD MELVYN!

Do you have any suggestions for a husband and wife who have different levels of observance for Passover? One of us wants to change to a set of special Passover dishes and the other doesn't.

Look at it this way: Marriage is all about compromise and change. Fortunately for you, this compromise lasts only 8 days. If only all marital issues had an expiration date - and could be addressed with a temporary adjustment. Wash that extra set of dishes. You're getting off easy.

Ask Wendy a question -- any question --- by clicking here.

03/19/01: 7-4=insensitivity?; baby showers and tempting fate; Splitsville before or after marriage?
03/12/01: Passover party-pooper; slapped by a moral dilemma
02/14/01: Human 'mutts,' getting over it, same-sex kesubas
02/08/01: Bar/bat mitzvah blues, homework he-l, from potty to potty-mouth
01/24/01: Naughty neighbor, unprofessional colleague is dead, I'm a Jew, now what?
01/15/01: Rabbis who won't; when the rules of the 'game' change; ungracious grannies
01/08/01: My kid hates Hebrew school; Stay single or abandon heritage?
01/02/01: A Jewish Grinch? Baby bigots and when grandparents call it quits
12/18/00: Babes in Chanukah Land; my husband the kvetch; bad hair marriage?
12/04/00: My niece is a no-goodnik, when lifecycle events become dangerous, Orthodox v. Reform education
11/28/00: My ex is ruining my kids' souls; the mouth that won't stop
11/21/00: Battling brothers; how to keep a nanny
11/08/00: OY VEY! my son wants to become Orthodox; kiddies should avoid family therapy
11/08/00: Rabbi v. therapist, grandparents bearing gifts, I want my son's teacher for a sister-in-law
10/24/00: Let him enlist?, 'My son the actor'? Eating with the 'help'
10/10/00:Tipsy teens, protective spouses, kosher common-sense
10/03/00: I'm not Jewish --- not that there's anything wrong with it; mezuza machlokes; when granddad has cancer
09/25/00: I can't take Rosh Hashanah! Something for nothing? My husband needs a dinner mate
09/18/00: 'My kids' Jewish education stinks', boyfriend bandit, and single mother not by choice
09/11/00: Bris brouhaha breaks my heart, LET ME SLEEP! --- and Why can't I hold a job?
09/05/00: Righteous anger, 'dissed' daughter --- and how not to make a match
08/21/00: When one spouse becomes more religious than the other; "But the cleaning lady is part of the family!"; Why He invented 9-month gestation periods
08/21/00: 'Fessing up to granny about abandoning one's people, non-kosher sis-in-law, and 'my niece is marrying a loser'
08/14/00: Marrying 'in' for questionable motivations; Should a do-gooder be reimbursed?
08/07/00: Communing with the clouds, betrothal, and banishing bosses
07/28/00: Small-city guys, self-centered siblings
07/21/00: When a child takes religion seriously, marriage obsession, and guests who just don't get it
07/14/00: Divorcing brother-in-law, uncampy kids, and a dot.comer who makes it big time
07/07/00: Hypocrites, reality checks, and the 'real estate challenged'


© 2001, Wendy Belzberg