Stories abound of natural tensions between sons-in-law and their fathers-in-law. One is about the man speaking with his future son-in-law, who was studying to be a rabbi.
Parshat Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:3)
fear of Isaac
A guy gets a Labrador and he can't wait to show him off to his neighbor. So when the neighbor comes over, the guy calls the dog into the house, bragging about how smart the little guy is. The dog quickly comes running and stands looking up at his master, tail wagging furiously, mouth open in classic Lab-smile position, eyes bright with anticipation. The guy points to the newspaper on the couch and commands: "fetch!"
Immediately, the dog sits down, the tail wagging stops, the doggie-smile disappears; he hangs his head, looks balefully up at his master and says in a whiny voice, "Oh! My tail hurts from wagging so much. And that dog food you're feeding me tastes absolutely terrible. And it's so hot in here. And you're not giving me any treats. And I can't remember the last time you took me out for a walk...."
The neighbor's jaw drops.
"Ah," the dog owner explains, "he's a little hard of hearing. He thought I said 'kvetch!'"
Have you ever read in an advertisement inviting you to buy an overpriced suit or necktie that "It's true, clothes do make the man"?
Do clothes make the man or woman? On the one hand, we'd like to think that people aren't affected by something as superficial as clothing. But on the other hand, it does make a big difference when people are appropriately dressed. For example, an undertaker must wear conservative clothing in order to achieve the desired effect. Can you imagine Chuckles, the Mortician Clown, bedecked in red nose and floppy shoes officiating at a funeral? He probably wouldn't stay in business too long (although, this is California).
It's hard to believe that a whole year has passed. Almost one year ago to the day, Dr. David Appelbaum and his daughter, Nava, were murdered when a suicide bomber exploded himself at Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem. Dr. Appelbaum, 50, was the head of emergency medicine at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital, and was a rabbinical scholar to boot. He had treated countless victims of terror, Jewish and Arab patients alike. Nava, 20, was to be wed the next day. Alas, she never made it to her chuppah.
These are painful memories that we are tempted to shelve into the recesses of our distant memories. Yet we dare not, just as we dare not forget the holy martyrs of the Shoah and all other martyrs of our people's past.
One of my most memorable Torah lessons from elementary school was the one about the manna. This was the magical food that the Jews ate while traveling through the desert. It was some kind of amorphous bread that fell from heaven daily, and the Torah describes it as being like honey wafers. Part of the magic of the manna was that it could taste like whatever one wanted it to. And this is where the imagination of the wide-eyed child was piqued: If you were thinking about pizza, the manna tasted like pizza; if you were thinking about a thick, juicy steak -- well, you get the picture.