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Vacationing - The Jewish Way

One time Rav Moshe zt"zl came to test ten year olds in M.T.J. on the perek of Shnaim Ochazim. When he enterd the classroom the first question he asked them was "What do you do after school?". One child piped up "Mir shpilen ball" - [We play ball]. Rav Moshe enjoyed the childs answer and said "Zayer gut. Ir darft shpilen ball, uber vee a Yid shpilt ball un nicht vee a Goy shpilt ball. Nicht vee vilder chayas, un nicht tzu shryin!! Ir darft shpilen ball, uber vee a Yid shpilt ball." [Very good. You should play ball, but like a Jew plays ball and not like a Goy plays ball. Not like wild animals, and no screaming. You should play ball, but like a Jew.]

Now is vacation time for many of us. And I echo the sentiments of Rav Moshe. Go on vacation. But like a Jew vacations. The food should be kosher. Those in the know will tell you that some establishments with kosher certification are kosher on paper only. The food itself is not. Find out. Remember - hotels are run in order to make money. Not in order to worry about the finer details of Halacha. Therein lies the problem. When it comes to money [as we have written in the past] peoples sense of propriety goes out the window.

Socializing like a Jew should socialize. The Rambam says that they used to appoint POLICEMEN to make sure that men and women do not mingle during the holiday. Indeed it is not a new problem. The fast of B'hab was enacted to atone for sins committed during the holiday. Remember, when we are on vacation our Yetzer Hara works overtime! What constitutes improper socializing? A good place to start is the very first pasuk of Tehillim. And if you don't know what he means I would be happy to privately share with you my understanding. Boys - find nice boys with whom to "hang out". Girls - find nice girls! You can really enjoy the company of someone of the same gender. Some of my best friends are male. If I try to explain to a female that during a certain game it was a "do or die situation" she will wonder why one would die because of a game. Is a game a matter of life and death. But many guys understand that it is!! If a female tries to explain to a male that she was simply MORTIFIED when she walked into shul and not one but TWO other girls were wearing the EXACT same dress that she bought for the yontiff, the male will not understand. He was wearing a navy-blue suit like 80 percent of the other men in shul and it didn't bother him at all!! But many a female will understand why it will take MONTHS to recover from such a humiliating experience.

Learning: What a great opportunity to finally learn Trei Asar. Remember boys, Tanach is not the exclusive domain of girls! Also, if you are single you can impress a girl by quoting Radaks in Yirmiyahu.

Mixed Swimming: Sorry. The steering commitee of the Hebrew Union College has not yet succeeded in convincing G-d that it is O.K.

Davening: Finally, nowhere to rush. Take your time. The words will taste like candy in your mouth.

Family: Get to know your parents, children, siblings etc. They are really neat people. Connect. Pesach is family time. "Seh L'bayis" - A sheep for the household. Listen to them speak. It will be mutually enriching. One of the foremost motifs of Pesach is GRATITUDE. Show your family how much you appreciate them. Mom - thanks for shlepping me around for nine months - and since then too. Dad - thanks for supporting me. According to Torah law you are only obligated to support me until age six. And you generously supported me until the day I told you that I am returning to Israel to learn for a second year! You're the greatest!! My dear sister - thanks for making me dinner when Mom is not home!! You get the picture.

And put on sun-screen. Sunburns can be painful.

Love and blessings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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