Thursday, June 18, 2015

Five Rabbinic Suggestions for Father's Day

While Jewish mothers usually get all the attention, this is the weekend to celebrate Jewish fathers.

1) A child should not stand or sit in a place where his father is accustomed to standing or sitting (Kiddishin 31b).  Some call this the “Archie Bunker Law.”

  2) A child should not support his father’s opponents in a scholarly dispute. In other words, they forbade “Patrilinial Dissent.” (Sorry for that groan inducing pun)

   3) The rabbis praised Duma, a heathen who refused to awaken his father, although he needed a key lying under his father’s pillow in order to conclude a transaction that would have netted him a profit of 600,000 gold coins. One can imagine how proud Dama’s father was of his son when he woke up…

  4) The rabbis state firmly that a child is obligated to attend to the material needs of his parents while they are alive and to mourn for them properly when they die.

   5) One more suggestion not mentioned in the Talmud: on Father’s Day, let your dad sleep nice and late!

-          Also, read how Jewish fathers are the opposite of TV dads.

-          Check out this historical survey of Jews and fathers

-          Two favorite articles I’ve written about fatherhood, following the births of my two sons: Birth Rite” and “Fathers and Sons

-          The Forward asked for Six Word Memoirs about Jewish fathers. Here are a few of them:

Actor, scrap man, embellisher of of stories.
— Ilene Stein, 64, Riverside, Calif., about Max M. Fields

He lives generously. That’s my inheritance.
— Paula Chaiken, 42, Kingston, Pa., about Gene Chaiken

Dad’s matzo balls? Hard. Heart? Soft.
— Cheryl Levine, 48, Yellow Springs, Ohio, about Barry Levine

Dad, homework done, healthy. Don’t worry!
— Debbie Wasserman Schultz, 46, congresswoman, Weston, Fla., about Larry Wasserman

Always making puns, always causing groans.   (See “Patrilineal Dissent,” above)
— Julie Grossman, 26, North Bethesda, Md., about Garry Grossman

Sense of humor, debt-free educations.
— Alexandra Schmidt, 44, Niskayuna, N.Y. about John Lutch

Eating ice cream in underwear. 5 a.m.
— Rich Cohen, 45, author of “Israel is Real,” Ridgefield, Conn., about Herb Cohen

Captivated by Alharizi, Job and Frost.
— Jonathan Reichert, 81, physics professor and businessman, Buffalo, N.Y. about Victor Reichert, close 
friend and mentor to Robert Frost

Zayde shined my shoes and heart.
— Donna Erbs, 52, Portland, Ore., about Max Joffee

Waiter, I ordered the kosher lobster.
— Shira Kaiserman, 28, New York, about Ronald Kaiserman

Clean linen handkerchiefs comfort me still.
— Roberta Rosenberg, 58, Clarksville, Md., about Harry Rosenberg

Brimming bookshelves — bent, leant and shmoozed.
— Wayne Firestone, 49, president of the Genesis Prize Foundation, Rockville, Md., about Bruce Firestone

Mel Brooks movie marathon: perfect Shabbos.
— Casey Stein, 25, New York, about Alan Stein

Dude dug prunes, melbas and mama.
— Henry Greenspan, 65, Ann Arbor, Mich., about Albert Lewis Greenspan

Theirs — writer, scholar, lecturer. Mine — Aba. 

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