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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

To be alone

Rabbi Dov Fischer





It took my divorce to understand fully all of those sermons that I had preached over the years about caring for the orphan, the widowed, the poor, the stranger

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | With approximately half of American marriages ending in divorce, the social crisis unfolding within the American Family Institution concerned me deeply as a congregational rabbi during the 1980s and '90s, my first two decades in the pulpit. I spoke about it. I wrote about it.

And then I experienced it.

Life suddenly takes on a fascinating aspect when theory steps aside to make place for reality. In theory, for example, we love the Jewish People. In reality, however, do we love the Jew next door? I learned this during my seventeen months between marriages.

During that year and a half, I learned how lonely Sabbath can be as a Single. As an Orthodox Jew, my Sabbath does not include traveling by car, watching TV, shopping for stuff, or blogging. Rather, my Sabbath is a Day of Rest celebrated within the conceptual framework circumscribed by the Written and Oral laws of the Torah, found in the Chumash and Talmud.

When you are married, an Orthodox Sabbath is wonderful. It can be even sweeter with kids growing up at home. The wonderfully long and festive Friday night dinners. Adorning the table with fine china, crystal, and silver. You talk about your week and learn about everyone else's. You discuss the Torah portion, maybe even argue ideas stemming from it. The kids share their drawings of Abraham and Sarah, challah and candlesticks. As they get older, they engage the discussions, too. As the meal starts winding down, we sing the special Sabbath table songs. Afterwards, we relax. Maybe we study Torah. Maybe we read books. Maybe we get on the floor and have a rematch of last week's "Scrabble" game or "Apples to Apples."

On Sabbath morning, we walk to shul. Few memories in a lifetime are as sweet as the parent's twenty-minute walk to shul with his or her child every Sabbath morning. The day is spent with family, with friends. More Torah discussion and learning, more singing and relaxing. Another "Scrabble" rematch.

It took my divorce to teach me that Sabbath, for a Single, can get very, very lonely. You eat by yourself, sing to yourself, play "Scrabble" with yourself. It took my divorce to understand fully all those sermons I had preached over the years about caring for the orphan, the widowed, the poor, the stranger. The contemporary addition: the unmarried adult.

In this week's Torah portion, Ki Seitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19), we read: "Do not pervert the justice due a convert and an orphan, and do not take the garment of a widow wrongly as a pledge for a loan. And remember that you were a slave in Egypt . . . ." (Deut. 24:17-18) Moreover, when you reap your agricultural harvest, leave behind the bundle that you forget, the gleanings that you drop, a corner of your field, some olives on the tree, some grapes on the vine - leave that for the convert, the orphan, and the widow because you were a slave in Egypt. (See, e.g., verses 19-22.)

What does my slavery in Egypt have to do with someone else being a convert, an orphan, or a widow? It is a personalized, raw and grating reminder of what it feels like to be out of normative social status. Sure, everyone "felt" for the widow and orphan, while "admiring" the convert. But feelings and admiration do not sate an appetite or provide shelter from the storm. So the Torah reminds us: You know how it feels. You personally experienced social helplessness and abandonment. You know what it feels like not to be rooted in the same garden where everyone else is planted. Just think back to the days when you were a slave, and you will know what to do.

I often challenge my rabbinic colleagues -- not all -- for failing adequately to sensitize our communities to the needs and social status of the unmarried. Some feel that Singles are not worth the time because, at best, they pay only half a family membership, and they probably will leave the temple anyway if they do marry. Besides, they have JDate and Frumster, and there are "matchmakers." It almost sounds like a bad parody of Ebenezer Scrooge waving off those soliciting alms for the needy: Are there no poor houses?

Are there no "matchmakers"? Are there no websites? Are there no Singles Mixers?

If you know someone unmarried, bring that person into your Sabbath home. Invite him or her regularly to Sabbath meals. Arrange with others in your temple to assure that Singles get to meet others, that the widowed and the divorced enjoy the warmth of the Shabbat home. For this -- and only this -- one issue, become a busybody and ask friends whether they know someone who could be a good match. Not a "matchmakers"? You are hereby deputized.

In my day, two married women saw me through my dark period. Lilli Kahn-Rose made sure that I never had Sabbath meals alone, and Linda Scharlin matched me with the love of my life, Ellen. Ten years later, I have never forgotten what they did. That is how much this mitzvah means: Remember the orphaned, the widowed, the stranger --- and the unmarried. Because you once were single and alone, too.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Dov Fischer is an adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and serves as the rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County.


Previously:


Give Your Rabbi a Break






© 2010, Rabbi Dov Fischer