Thursday, November 11, 2010


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayetzei

5 Kislev 5771/November 12, 2010

There is an ongoing raging debate whether our contemporary educational system is adequately preparing our children for life. Many of the skills necessary for success in school are simply not so important in life, and vice-versa. The question thus becomes how can we best utilize our children’s formative years to give them practical tools and knowledge that they will be able to use for the rest of their lives.

Personally I have a few propositions for topics and classes that I believe our yeshivos should be adopting. I, for one, would have had an easier time if I was better trained in these areas. Following are just a few of my suggestions:

“Jewelry and Shaitels 101” –Fifty bucks just doesn’t cut it! And, as ancient wisdom teaches, if you want to remember your anniversary, just forget it once! My mother once quipped to me that she could buy four women’s hats for the price of one of my hats. I responded that I could buy five expensive hats for the price of her cheapest shaitel. Part of the class should include a field trip to a local jewelry store. The students should look at all of the various types of jewelry and at the price tags. Then, when they get back from the store their Rabbeim should convince them that they still must get married.

“Vegetables and Grocery Shopping 101” Have you ever seen a man shopping without holding a cell-phone? Yes, women talk on their phones too while they are shopping, but their conversations are about everything and anything under the sun. A man’s shopping conversation however, is centered around trying to figure out: which brand, which aisle, and how many?

Truthfully, how is a former yeshiva bochur supposed to know what a parsnip looks like? The first time Chani told me to bring home parsnip I brought home horseradish. [I was wondering why she was putting fresh marror in the chicken soup…] Now when I shop I often ask a passing female shopper about certain vegetables. When the woman invariably laughs at the question I reply that the gemara doesn’t discuss what a scallion looks like, or that a sweet potato is called a southern yam.

“Flowers 101” – Before getting married yeshiva guys have to realize that flour is not only the stuff that goes into cake and kugel. The first time I walked into a florist after I got married (which incidentally was the first time I walked into a florist in my life) and the florist asked me what I wanted, I replied that I wanted to buy flowers. When she asked me what kind, I told her the ones that go in a vase and die a week later. Boy would it have saved me some embarrassment if I knew the difference between a rose, a hydrangea, and a cactus.

Last week I went to my usual florist to purchase Shabbos flowers. She asked me if I wanted Baby’s Breath as filler, but I replied that, thank G-d, we now have our own source of baby’s breath (and baby crying) at home.

If our yeshivos gave these three classes it would help our young men tremendously. Good luck finding male teachers to teach the classes...

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum