Author Archives: TooYoungToTeach

Tznius These Days

“My husband wants to know, maybe you can explain it,” my friend asks. I’m talking to her motziah Shabbos she’s driving home from Shabbos Sheva braches, kids conked out in the back seat, her husband driving and baffled. “My cousin was there, her husband learned a few years in Israel, she went to a top seminary everything and you should have seen how she was dressed. I get the grey lines of tight clothes and long shaitels and knee-skimming skirts, but here she didn’t even try. My husband wants to know what she’s thinking.”

Me the groiyse mind reader, Na, I just have enough opinions and perspectives for five people
“Who said she’s thinking anything,” I started. “These days there such a lack of regard to the authority of halacha maybe she views it as nice but optional.”

Or maybe she’s feeling disenfranchised that her husband’s not learning anymore, so she’s not in the “yeshivish” world anymore.

Or, she’s not in school no one’s telling her what to do, so she’s just acting out like this. Because she’s not an idiot you know, she knows the Halacha, sure, she can recite it and many other lessons that were drilled into her head over the years.

“Na,” my friend counters. “It’s not scandalous for her husband to be in college, it’s ok for her crowd.”

“I dunno,” I muse. “These days no one is tznius and what used to be black is now grey. They always hocked in school about skirt lengths, but have you noticed no one covers their elbows anymore?”

“People in Lakewood still cover their elbows,” She answers.

“Well people on Facebook don’t.” I say, “and these are my ‘friends’.”

“And what about shaitels,” my friend continues.

“What about them?” I ask. I wear short shaitels, not for tznius reasons (although it does work out) but because my bone structure gets lost in long and my face looks fat, so I can discuss it pretty neutrally.

“We came to a consensus on Shabbos that past your bust is prust, past your shoulders to your bust is long and until your shoulders is totally fine.”

I laughed; it’s all so arbitrary.

“My sister n law was hocking about some woman she saw in the pizza store” my friend continued “ ‘her shaitel was till her waist it was disgusting!’ I ripped into her. When you got married, your shaitel was 11 inches, now it’s 16. Her’s was 16 when she got married, add five inches, that’s 21. You started off more yeshivish, but you’re at 16, she started off less so, it’s the same five additional inches, what’s the difference behind the thought? My sister in law was quiet.”

So was I.

“I can’t listen to this sister in law talk about tznius,” my friend started again. “Every day she wears the same long pleated mid-calf skirt. She doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand women when they’re pregnant… When I’m pregnant I struggle with my knees, they’re the only part of me that’s skinny!”

And I’m thinking, does her cousin feel as misunderstood as my friend does by her sister-in-law?

My friend came back to her cousin. “Her skirt wasn’t near her knees with a slit, there’s no grey area, it’s a straight up nisht. What can make a girl just disregard everything she’s been taught.”

And then I remembered. There had been a tznius gathering for educators in my community. “Shaitels shouldn’t be more than 2 inches past the jawbone.” A co-teacher and I exchanged looks and laughed. We both complied with his ruling, but no one else did. I didn’t think much of it until the next day at school when a bunch of teachers were firing off.

“2 inches past, that’s way too short”

“I’m not cutting my shaitel”

“Who is he to make up such random line?”

Then one teacher articulated what everyone felt but couldn’t put words to.

“I’m not a person who doesn’t listen to daas Torah. If I’m told something, I do it. But I’m not cutting my shaitel, so I’m mad that he is turning me into someone who doesn’t listen to Rabbanim; it’s not even Halacha. ”

Four inches were told, hair not past a shirt’s yoke, colorful shoes need not apply. These aren’t Halacha, but it feels like that sometimes, and if we don’t listen long enough, we slowly become people who don’t listen to Rabbanim even when it is Halacha…

I don’t know what my friend’s cousin was thinking. I don’t know why she dresses the way she does, but I walk the streets and she’s not alone. The reason can’t be solitary. What I do know is that tznius is complex. It goes to the root of who we are as women and yidden, and in this modern world that seems to contradict each other even if it shouldn’t. I also, know we’re going about it all wrong. I don’t know right answer and what we should be doing, that many opinions I don’t have, I just know that this isn’t working.

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Posted by on November 22, 2015 in Jewish, Musings, Uncategorized


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The Chair in the Home

The chair is damp. It’s a sticky dampness that clings to my skirt when I stand up. It’s really only water, or milk. Or it was once milk, or orange juice or water, and now it’s all steeped in the yellow spongey cushion inside the chair. Knew I should have put on plastics. Or not have gotten fabric seats, vinyl is all the rage these days. Idiot. But when I got married and bought these chairs, I wasn’t considering children, and their propensity to spill, just that these chairs were pretty, and plastic protector were ugly. Well, they still are ugly, but I’ve gotten pragmatic in my old age. Ugh.


Posted by on August 12, 2014 in The Sporadic Side


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The Slow Transition


I’ve been lying to myself for years. Yesterday though, it knocked on my door so nicely, and I couldn’t deny it. I’ve come to accept who I am as a person, it’s hard, it’s always hard acknowledging something you’ve tried to hide and deny. The time has come, and I hope I’ll be better for it.

“I booked you tickets to Florida for Shabbos,” my husband called to me from the couch. There was light intensity in his pitch, and I knew he wasn’t kidding.

“You what?” I asked like I honestly hadn’t heard what he said.

“You need a vacation, you’re dying to go – I booked tickets?”

“Tickets?” I stressed the “s”.

“Ye, I spoke to Roo today, you’re going with her.”

“But, but, what about you and E, and where we gonna stay, what are we gonna eat, I have to teach…” I started protesting, even though I AM dying to go to Florida. And I ruined it, the whole happiness, surprise and spontaneity. That’s it, I am not a spontaneous person as I had led myself to belive. I like to plan and consider. I like to know my options, know I’m doing what’s best and right for me. I don’t jump into things. I’d rather miss it, lost in consideration, than make a hasty decision.

I always thought I was spontaneous, or I always wanted to be light and free – but I’m not, I’m serious, intense and I think too much. Yes, I would walk to my friends on Shabbos with out calling ahead. But I think that’s where it ends

I cant just get up one day and buy my husband a present. I can get up one day and think I’d like to do that, but it’ll take me a while, to find the right one, the right deal, will he really like. Nike is not for me, I NEVER just do it. I never wanted to be that person, they seem so stuffy and rigid, but I really get thrown for a loop when my schedule changes without ample notice. I try to roll with the punches, but it’s a real effort on my part.

My day is always scheduled and planned in my head, what I plan on doing when, how much time I allot to do certain things, and when emergencies come up – not my emergencies, somehow I handle those, but if someone needs an immediate favor from me, it’s very difficult for me to rearrange things in my head, to realign my expectations of what I planned on doing. Going to Florida is wonderful – not on such short notice it just stresses me out!

I remember yelling at my mother when we would run errands, we’d have a list of things to do and then towards the end she’d remember one more stop she wanted to make. I’d get really agitated. In my head I was ready to go home, I was home already doing everything I planned in my head, and the extra 10 minutes, or even two would upset me.

“You’re messing with my head!” I’d tell my mother. She didn’t really get it, because she quite the opposite of me, drop everything, and do something better that comes along.

I equated spontaneity with happiness, and youth. A careless abandon, and truly living life. That’s how it is in books anyway. And the inflexible scheduled people were stuffy bores with no lives, and ruined everything. No wonder I wanted to be spontaneous.

And when I talk about how I feel, it sounds so much worse and severe and stifling than I feel my life is. I love my life, and I think it’s time to graduate from my dreams and recognize that there are worse things in life than slow to transition.


Posted by on July 6, 2014 in The Sporadic Side


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Does the Public Have Any Rights Regarding Your Life

“Tell your husband to be nice to mine, he doesn’t know anyone.” I said lightly and gave her a big smile. She returned the smile, and let out a small laugh. I left the office and headed to the teacher’s room to make a coffee. The secretary followed in soon after,

“Did she say her husband was coming?” she looked at me intently. I shrugged a little bewildered.

“I just assumed so, she didn’t say otherwise.”

“Well, that would be interesting,” she said slowly drawing imaginary lines on the table with her fingers. I measured my coffee.

“Huh?” The secretary looked at me closely again,

“You didn’t hear anything?”

“Hear what?” I poured in ample sugar.

“According to rumors for a while,” she paused, not for effect, but with difficulty, “she’s divorced.”

“What?” was my dumb response and suddenly felt terribly foolish. Her wedding, little over a year ago, flashed across my mind. “Nobody tells me anything!”

I didn’t drink my coffee.

Come the Shabbaton, the teacher assumed (correctly) that I had been apprised of her circumstances and made veiled references to it at times. I just nodded and said nothing



But I wonder, should someone have said something? I didn’t have to make an insensitive comment to her, had I known. Or maybe she’s rather deal with the in-sensitiveness, than the invasion of privacy.

I know there are things I’ve experienced that I don’t care to share. And when someone mentions similar circumstance I act like I know nothing of the sort. It’s my life to own, my story to tell, or not.

But but, is there an achrayis and obligation not to put people in uncomfortable situations.

“We were due the same time, what’s your baby up to?


“When’s your daughter’s wedding, she looked so radiant at the vort?”


“Tell your husband to me nice to mine – he doesn’t know anyone”

Crickets                and a laugh.

There are some things that can be tucked away and denied forever, others not. And for the latter, should others subtley inform people when they are getting close enough, or is a life private and only the owner can disclose its contents?

I’m leaning heavily toward the latter, but I felt so awful about my comments, it’s lending some credence to the former. I can’t really make it all out. I think I’ll just blame it all on the secretary.


Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Uncategorized


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The Problem with Nostalgia

It was this book!

It’s really terrible; there’s an Ebola outbreak in Guinea and I’m getting nostalgic. This hemorrhagic fever has held legendary status in my mind since about 4th or 5th grade. I heard about it from my brother who heard about it from his teacher.

“Nine days. Boom. Dead!” he bulged his eyes out and flexed then flicked his fingers at the word boom for effect. He was imitating his teacher. He then described to a rapt audience (me) how when they cut the person open everything would just be mush. All their organs turned to goop.

“It starts with diarrhea…” he said in a low voice and then rose to “And then nine days, Boom. Dead!”

I’ve been paranoid of diarrhea since.

And then Mack Bolan (are those books still in print?), who was my brother’s favorite fictional character at the time, was infected with the virus by a sinister foe, but he had the antidote in the green tipped syringe (or was it red? I don’t remember, one of them was the virus the other the antidote) and he lived.

I didn’t like Mack Bolan,too much action and machismo, but I took that book and read the last chapter or so, just to take in more about Ebola. I’m not sure why it fascinated me. Was is my brother’s animation or the body’s disintegration, or the anticipatory fear, I don’t know.

I don’t know if anything that hooked me in the first place is even true. Diarrhea only comes after joint pain muscle weakness and an assortment of other symptoms. And nothing comes up when I Google Ebola 9 day. Maybe it’s because I left out the word Boom.

But while Liberia is closing its borders, and the WHO is issuing recommendations and people are dying, I have a small smile on my face.

I’m terrible, I know.


Posted by on March 31, 2014 in The Sporadic Side


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Purim 2014

You have seen the slow evolution. You probably predicted it. And it happened.

I went all out this year.

It came to me on Succos. My son was playing with cars and trucks outside when he wailed,

“I dropped my mordechaicyle!” turning the soft ‘c’ into a glutteral ‘ch’.

And it hit me, right then – a motorcycle gang – or Mordechai-cycle gang! Kids will be bikers, handing out beer and gum cigarettes. And throw in cupcakes for a carb.

So with a good idea, too many Google searches, and an awesome Graphic Artist sister-in –law, my shalach manos was well….you tell me. (Actually the final pics aren’t so good because the cellophane was too glare-ee, so I broke it down to parts)





I think I’ve peaked though. It’s all downhill from here.


Posted by on March 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Just Passing Through

I want window valances. Not pretty, frilly delicate ones. Bold ones, with sharp lines. Possibly emerald, or in that family.

I also want new paint. My walls are white. Not stark. But the dulling gray white, that just makes you think off crumple generic tissues. I’d paint my dining room a neutral sort of yellow. I’d put mauve in my bedroom. And for my kids room I want one wall electric blue, the others a light shade. And really, I want one wall to be a cork board.

I also want a coffee table.

And light fixtures. I have no light fixtures, just bare bulbs. It’s a little to industrial looking to be hip.

It’s not about the money. Or the shallowness. I’d do it all in a heartbeat, if it was my house, but it’s not. It’s a rental; it would be foolish to invest in this space. I’m just passing through until my dream home (with too many windows) becomes my own. And until that happens, I’m happy to wait with bare windows.

There was this story about the Chofetz Chaim that I never fully appreciated. A visitor came and commented on his sparsely furnished home. The Chofetz Chaim inquired of his guest where his furniture was. The guest looked at him quizzically; I’m just a visitor, passing though. The Chofetz Chaim nodded in agreement. He too was just a visitor, passing though, waiting to go home, for Mashiach and Yerushlayim.

As a child, I was never the one shrieking along to the song “We want Mashiach, we want Mashiach now” not because I didn’t want it, but that I didn’t totally get it(also I’m not a shrieker, too self-conscious for that).  I’m not all there yet either.

But I’m not buying valances or painting, because I’m just passing through, waiting for my real home.


Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Jewish, Musings


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