The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Goofing on the Vance

The Vance is very lucky to have two (much) older sisters who love her very much, play with her, fool around with her, have "sister parties" with her and generally serve as wonderful role models.

But, every once in a while, like any older sisters, they play mind games with her. Last night was such an ocassion.

Fresh off her pre-school lesson, The Vance approached OOD and said, "You can't eat chametz on Pesach, right?" To which OOD said, "Right. And you also can't talk on Pesach."

Vance, with a worried look: "You can't talk on Pesach?"

OOD: "Yup. Ask OYD".

Vance to OYD: "You can't talk on Pesach?"

OYD: "Nope"

Vance, really concerned now: "Ima, can you talk on Pesach?"


Chazaring for Pesach

With only a week to go before Pesach (the week that my Rebbe calls the holiest week of the year), many people are spending a few minutes a day chazaring (reviewing) their hagadahs in preparation for the seders.

That's admirable.

What I suggest, in addition, is that you chazar my old Pesach posts. There's some very deep stuff there.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Very Shtoddy

Right before Shabbos, OOD polished The Vance's nails (in keeping with her status as an almost-four-year old going on 17).

As we assembled downstairs a few minutes later to get ready to leave to shul, The Vance was prancing around showing off her new manicure.

I complimented her on her nails, to which she replied, "Very shtoddy".


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lost Opportunity

As expected, the Yeshiva hockey league commissioner, presumably caving in to pressure, copped out and will let HAFTR play the chamionship game without imposing any penalty whatsoever. What a joke.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On the Horns of a Hockey Dilemma

A number of my hocker sources have informed me that there was a brawl at the recent HAFTR/Magen David hockey semi-final playoff game. Apparently, with about 90 seconds to go and HAFTR up 2-0, one of the MD guys put a very aggressive hit on one of the HAFTR players who retaliated. The benches cleared and, I am told, all heck broke loose and there was fighting among players (and even parents). After order was restored, the game was called as it was, and HAFTR won 2-0.

As a keen observer of the human condition, I have been asked to weigh in on l'affair HAFTR/MD Brawl.

This is tough one (that really isn't). Normally, a player who is involved in a fight is automatically suspended from at least the next game (Indeed, when OYS was a senior, an opposing player viciously smashed him into a wall out of frustration and was suspended for the next game). So, do you suspend the entire team and forfeit the championship game? I think the answer is a resounding yes. This is one of those important chinuch moments where a strong administration has to step up and do the right thing, as painful as it is.

The only reason the decision is tough is because it penalizes innocent kids; i.e., the team from DRS who would much prefer to win the championship on the gym floor.

It will be interesting to see how the administration comes out but I don't see that they have any real choice.


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Monday, March 23, 2009

A Sparkling Example of Hashavas Aveida

Last night I had the privilege of dancing at the wedding of the son of a good friend. It was very leibidig. At the beginning of the second dance set I was in the middle of the dance floor when I noticed, on the floor, what looked like a ring. Not missing a step, I swooped down, and picked it up. It was a ring. A diamond engagement ring and not a small one at that. My first reaction was , holy cow! What's this doing here on the men's side of the mechitzah? My second was, wow, someones missing a diamond ring!

I put the ring in my pocket and, after the set, went to the ba'al simcha who asked the band leader to announce a found ring.

Very quickly, my first question was answered. A young man claimed the ring. I asked him how it ended up on the men's side of the dance floor. He said that when he and his wife went to wash for hamotzi, she gave him her ring and he put it in his shirt pocket. If apparently flew out during the dancing. He was very grateful, saying something along the lines of "I would have been a dead man", or something like that. I said I was pleased to have been an agent of T'chias Ha'maisim.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

M'shenichnas Adar Marbim B'....

While we were eating the main course at Friday evening s'udah, The Vance (who had eaten most of her dinner while we were in shul) traipsed off into the garage and reappeared in the dinning room holding a package of candy in each hand (no doubt leftovers from her Purim stash).

She looked at MHW and then at me and said, "I can have bofh of these, right, cause it's Adar?"

She's learned her lessons well.


Friday, March 13, 2009

The System, One Year Later

I am now almost two years removed from my last game as a hockey dad. But, on Wednesday night, I went back to the Greenhouse to watch OYS's school play in a playoff semi-final.

Pretty much everything I wrote here pertains to Wednesday's game as well. The Good Guys won 3-1. The System worked and THE GOALTENDER WAS GREAT!

But I have to admit. I miss watching OYS play. There was simply no one on either side who played with his panache. I always knew he was a special player but I am getting a better sense of it as the years pass by.

Finally, it was great to see the coaches who played a such an important role in OYS's high school experience. And Mazal Tov to MD.

(Speaking of MD, highlight of the night: With about 4 minutes remaining and the Good Guys protecting a one-goal lead, MD gathered the players and warned them that the other team would be sending their third and fourth men deep. He told them if you lose your man you won't play again "and, I don't mean tonight..I mean EVER!". But he said it with love.

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Punching Your Ticket For The Big Dance

I listen to about ten minutes of sports radio each day. On my way to shul, from shul to the train station and from the train station home. Nevertheless, I have heard the NCAA basketball tournament referred to as the "Big Dance" about 6,000 times in the last week. This, coupled with hearing some iteration of the phrase "XYZ University just had their ticket punched for the Big Dance" is making me ill.

Enough already with the Big Dance. I'd rather listen to Shiny Shoe Music than have to hear "Big Dance" or "Ticket Punched" one more time . (Not really, but it sounds good).


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Know Your Role

Yesterday, I had the privilege of driving The Vance around to deliver shalach maons to a few of her friends from Pre-school. For each package we dropped off, we received, in return, a package laden with candy and junk.

While it's true that The Vance generally has very adult tastes, she also knows a good candy opportunity when she sees one. So, at every stop, she asked me to open one of the items that she received from her friends.

She started with a large lollypop. Then a foot-long Laffy Taffy. At the third stop she asked me to open a bag of Dipsey Doodles.

I turned around from the drivers seat and as I handed her the chips, I said, "Vance, that's the last snack for today. You have to leave the rest for another time."

The Vance, not skipping a beat, said, "Only Ima tells me that!!"

She sure knows how to put me in my place.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Shidduchim: Two Types of Married Friends

This letter addresses a topic I've been meaning to raise for a while.

I have observed that OOD has two types of married friends. Those who remembered her and those didn't.

As the letter points out (and as I have observed with my own eyes, repeatedly), newly married couples are in the best position, by far, to figure out who among their respective friends might click. And, while not every proposed shidduch works out, matches suggested in this way are much less likely to bomb and result in horrible dates (as often happens when older adults are the matchmakers).

So, if you're in that category, you have a choice. You can remember your friends. Or not.

HT: Chaim Rubin


Five Years

Today is the fifth anniversary of my first post.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Where Does She Get This Stuff?

The Vance is addicted to her pacifier.

We've long since managed to wean her off the bottle and toilet train her but have had more limited success when it comes to her "paci".

The rule, which we enforce very consistently, is that she is only able to use the paci when she sleeps but never during the day. (How and when we get her to give it up completely is still up in the air; I am confident that she will not be using one on her wedding night but can't pinpoint and end date short of that).

Last Shabbos morning, I was drinking my traditional cup of coffee before going to shul. I heard her little steps descending the stairs. But, rather than coming to the kitchen, she went to the den circumventing the kitchen by going through the living and dining rooms.

Being no fool, I realized that she was up to something.

I peaked my head into the den. She was lying on the couch with her blanket and paci.

She looked me in the eye, big smile on her face, and said, "Ima's gonna kill me!"