Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Teenagers- Wow.

Over the past couple of years our grocery bill has almost doubled.  Some of it can be attributed to cost of living, and some to Gavriel and Keren, but the majority goes straight to Jesse. 

Having a teenage boy is an experience.  I never was one myself, and by brother didn't seem to go through food in the same way.  Maybe it was because we were involved with drama and sports and USY, and so we were rarely home, but it wasn't like this. 

All too often the food I've bought for the kids' lunches disappears overnight.  I no longer worry about strange noises in the middle of the night.  It's just Jesse raiding the fridge (and the cabinets).  We can see the aftermath of dishes and food waste claiming the kitchen in the morning.  There are the candy wrappers (that was for my mishloach manot) in the various garbages or the large mass of them shoved above the DVD's on our shelf, the massive numbers of empty yogurt containers in the sink, or bones left from a raiding party on the counter (or worse- on the floor becasue the car stole them).

On Friday I purchased 24 yogurts for school lunches this week.  By motzei Shabbat they were gone, 18 of them consumed in 2 sittings (12 and 6) by Jesse and 6 by his friend.  So much for lunch. 

Yesterday Sean purchased 36 more yogurts for lunches and 2 large containers for Jesse to eat at home.  At 9:45 PM there was Jesse scrapping out the last dregs from the first container, and about to dive into the second had i not wrestled it from him forbidding him from eating it that night (There are 6 others in the house currently, and some would like a shot at getting a taste.).

Of course this is the flip side of when he forgets to eat, like last Friday.  Last Friday Jesse had a music show at Wonderland with the CHAT band.  He had to be at school early, so he came running upstairs just a few minutes before we had to leave, not having time for breakfast.  We ran to school, dropped him at school, and off he went.  The concert was first thing in the day, followed by lunch (finished by 10:30), followed by a hot, hot day at Wonderland.  Although I'd given him money for drinks, he didn't drink.  By the time he cam home he was exhausted, barely able to stand.  Still, he was begging for ping pong in the odd moments he was awake.  In between he slept like a log, sleeping right through Shabbat dinner, waking only briefly though the night.  Saturday he felt lousy, and spent most of the day teenage catatonic, interspersed with moments of ping pong begging.

So then there is the sleeping.  No matter the time, no matter the amount of sleep, Jesse cannot seem to get up on time.  A bomb blast next door wouldn't wake him.  I understand.  I am NOT a morning person.  What I do not understand is his inststance that his alarm be set for 6:00 AM (It used to be set for 5 AM.) when it does nothing but wake me three floors up.  As he began to get in trouble for waking a sleeping bear (ie-me) he finally started to get up.  It has not helped.  When the alarm goes off, Jesse climbs down from his upper bunk; walks across the floor to the alarm, and turns it off.  He then walks back across the floor, and climbs back into bed, sleeping soundly.  He has also set the time 10 minutes ahead, claiming it'll help him get up earlier, but it only serves to keep him in bed longer ("Oh, I have 10 more minutes.").

Wow.  Teens are definitely an experience.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kedoshim Tih'yu ki Betzelem Ehlokim- You will be holy for you are in my image

Vayivra Ehlohim et ha’adam b’tzalmo; b’tzelem Ehlohim bara oto zachar u’n’keivah bara otam.
And God created the man in His image; in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them.
Reading this verse one might think it is out of place for parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim. This would be because the verse comes from Breishit (1:27), speaking to the origin of humankind. We are created in the image of God, but given no further explanation as to what it means to be in God’s image until now.
Dabeir el kol adat b’nei Yisrael v’amarta aleihem kedoshim tih’yu ki kadosh Ani Adonai Ehloheichem.
Speak to the entire community of the children of Israel, and say to them “You shall be holy for I, Adonai your God, am holy.
What does is mean to be in God’s image? We shall be holy because God is holy.
The inclusion of Vayikra in the Torah for all of the community rather than a book just for the kohanim stresses this point. The laws throughout Vayikra, but especially in this week’s parasha, come to teach us how to be holy, in other words, how to act in God’s image. Acharei Mot begins with the Holiness Code, a user guide for Levitical law and practice. Kedoshim spells out practice for us as a holy society: protecting the weak and needy, ensuring justice, preserving Judaism, respecting the natural order.
It is a wonder that not until now is such an instruction given, and more unfortunate that we, humans, require the instruction. Much of what appears in Kedoshim is given in relation to that which occurs in the society around us. Ad hayom hazeh, until today, holiness is measured not on its own merits, but in relation to the evils of the world. Still, our parasha reminds us that holiness is that for which we strive.

Image is Everything or What Makes a Leader- Ben Zion Netanyahu, z"l

This week Jews around the world will be reading Achrei Mot/Kedoshim on Shabbat.  The parasha begins Achrei mot shnei b'nei Aharon, after the death of the two sons of Aaron.  what follows is instruction on how Aaron is to approach God and serve the people Israel.  Aaron's sons died in parashat Shemini, three parshiyot prior.  At no time do we get a glimpse of Aaron's (or Elisheva's, Aaron's wife, or their uncle Moshe's) reaction.  As leaders in the community, and our immediate conduit to God, they are expected to put on a stiff upper lip and be always in control.

Contrast this with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reaction to his father's death on Monday. A great historian and Zionist who made aliyah with his parents at age 10.  He became a follower of and aide to Ze'ev Jabotinsky.  Ben Zion Netanyahu cared deeply about his family, both his personal family, Tzila z"l, his wife who passed away in 2000, and his sons, Yoni z"l, Benjamin, and Ido, and the greater Jewish community.

V'nifkadita ki yipakeid moshavecha, you will be missed because your seat is empty.
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke movingly of his father and the impact his father continued to have on him throughout his life.  He shared memories, personal and national. The Prime Minister's love and pain can be felt in his words.

Even more telling perhaps, are the pictures: Prime Minister Netanyahu in a short-sleeved shirt and slacks supporting his father last summer, A choked-up PM Netanyahu standing by his father's graveside, and a picture of PM Netanyahu with his son Yair, all the pain of loss on the PM's face and Yair's hand on his father's shoulder as they lean into each other, heads touching, sharing the moment and the emotion.

This year in the Diaspora Achrei Mot is a doubled parasha reading with Kedoshim.  Together they are to teach us how to be holy.  PM Netanyahu shows us, by sharing his own pain, that it is not only to our leaders of old that we should look for instruction, but to our leaders of today.