It's 3 am. I fell asleep with Ely at 8 pm. That's 7 hours of sleep, more than I usually get in one night. I'm wide-awake now! It's cold and quiet in the house now. I can hear cars passing by on the road outside the yishuv. The only other sound is the hum of the ceiling fan, my typing keys and a random MOSQUITO! What? How come there are mosquitoes in the house in this cold?!?!
I just turned my itunes (80's station) on very low so it wouldn't be so quiet in here. Amazing modern technology - I can turn on an Internet radio station on my computer while I'm working and listen to music from my high school years. "Oh Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey!!!" :)
I miss my husband. I would call him now; except our portable phone is dead and I couldn't talk quietly enough in the living room where our Internet phone is. Our entire living space is very wide open and I'm afraid I would wake the girls. I hope Ari remembers to buy a new phone. Ours just burnt out. Maybe it was from being dropped on the hard tile floors a billion times? Who knows, but this is highly inconvenient! How we become accustomed to modern technology...being able to have a private conversation on a portable phone.
Did I tell you we have only had two phones in this house since we started renting it one and a half years ago? One in the living room and one in the dining room (if you can call them that!) It was simple, there were only two working phone jacks and it would cost a fortune to run more lines. Since it was only a rental, we dealt. Having a portable made it a little more manageable. But now... it's so restrictive!
OK, I can hear you saying, “Stop complaining. People are dying of real diseases; there are real tragedies out there!”
And you are right! So I'll move on...
What I originally intended to post here was a conversation I had with my son on Saturday night. So if I haven't bored you until now and you are still reading...read on.
This is basically how the conversation progressed with my 15 year old DB.
Sitting at the table after making havdalah (the prayer we say on a candle, spices and wine to separate the Sabbath from the weekday) DB started the conversation -
DB: Did you buy a new candle at the candle factory in Tzfat?
Me: No, we don't need a new one yet. When we do, we'll go back up to Tzfat. We can't spend money just to be spending. We are running out of money.
DB: Abba (hebrew for Father) doesn't make a lot of money?
Me: No, he makes an Israeli salary and I need to get a job.
Me: That's another reason it's hard to live here. It’s hard to live amongst people who seem to have a lot more money than we do. (I was speaking about living on this yishuv) It makes you feel like you have to have what they have. 'Keeping up with the Joneses' is what they call it.
DB: (with a little sarcasm) So why don't we move to Neve Yaakov? (Neve Yaakov is the ultra-orthodox, somewhat poverty-stricken neighborhood on Jerusalem where my brother lives)
Me: I don't want to live in Neve Yaakov. I wouldn’t fit in there. We wouldn’t want to live there.
DB: Just like I don’t fit into Nehora (his Yeshiva).
Me: what do you mean? There are guys like you there. They’re not all weirdoes. (I knew that was what he was implying)
DB: Yeah, guys that were put there like I was by there parents (I’m thinking’ NOW you have an opinion? Why couldn’t you have had an opinion when we were looking for schools?! But I didn’t say that!)
Me: Oh, you mean parents who want their sons to have a decent education? (He knew what I was implying. We were not satisfied with the education he was getting from the school he was in last year – he wasn’t either, but it’s hard because most of his friends from the yishuv are still there.)
DB: (stopped and looked at me) Yeah, I guess. But they are trying to make us charedi there.
**I wish I could explain the label charedi easily. It is an abbreviation for the Hebrew phrase, “Those who tremble before G-d”. Otherwise derogatorily known as the ultra-orthodox.**
Me: Why do you say that DB?
DB: They are. Rav Grxxxx (the Rosh Hayeshiva or head of the yeshiva) gave a talk last night and said that Internet is evil, SMS is bad and that parents who let their children use them are murderers.
Me: (I wasn’t surprised, but not upset to hear that the rav would say this) Well, DB, I agree with him in part. Everything G-d has given us can be used for the good or abused for the bad.
Ari chimed in here. He was packing for his trip and I couldn’t get him to sit down and be apart of the convo. I needed him to be there, but he just couldn’t sit. At this point though, he came to the table and said, “DB, you know that Abba could not do his job if he didn’t have the Internet. You know that most Jewish kiruv (outreach) organizations out there depend on their access to the Internet. There are Torah classes you can download off the Internet, etc. People are becoming interested in Judaism from the Internet. There is a lot of good out there. And you also know how much bad there is, also. It’s up to us as your parents to make sure you’re looking at the proper things and to instill in you the values to do so when you are not in out home.”
At this point DB was starting to get upset. He is such a deeply sensitive and passionate kid.
DB: But he called you murderers. Why would he say that?
Me: Because, I think, if a parent allows their child to look at inappropriate things, they are like murdering their children’s souls. I agree with that. There is so much out there that damages our souls. Listen, DB, all through your life, you will here people say things that you don’t like or that doesn’t make sense to you. When that happens, you need to come to us. We are your parents. We are here to help you understand the world. You are at the age where you are beginning to form your own opinions. But if there is something confusing, then you need to know that you can come to us, and we will help you understand. I think you should go back to your Rav and tell him what we have told you. You can, I think, respectfully tell Rav Grxxxxx that you disagree with what he is saying to an extent.
I remember when I was in seminary, straight out of public school, and I sat in a class where my teacher told us that non-Jews were bad and that we shouldn’t socialize with them. I was so upset! My best friends were non-Jews and they were some of the most wonderful people I knew. I also knew that my hometown Rabbi, would never have said anything like that! I went to my Rosh Hayeshiva and told him how upset I was. I requested that he tell his teachers to be more careful and more aware of who they were teaching to. I spoke my opinion, and he heard it. The teacher apologized to me. Why she said such a thing to me, now, is irrelevant. My point to DB was that I spoke up.
Getting DB to speak up is tough. I don’t know whether it is because he is a boy, or shy or insecure? I want him to be able to go to his Rav and say, “I respectfully disagree with what you said.”
Our conversation continued and became about how I was sure he has friends today who are doing, watching or looking at things that he knows are inappropriate. I explained how he will begin, if he hasn’t already, to find himself in situations that he knows he shouldn’t be in. And it will be up to him to decide whether he will follow or not. He will make mistakes – just like I did and his father did. But hopefully they won’t be dangerous or stupid mistakes. Choices and consequences – my motto.
So that was basically the gist. He was in tears. I was feeling so helpless that I couldn’t protect him anymore. I was missing and still am, our hours spent on the rocking chair when he was little. He loved to snuggle and read books with me. Rocking back and forth, back and forth!
This growing up thing stinks! No one told me having babies was going to lead to this!
How did my parents survive?!