All posts by sunflower

I'm Rebecca. I'm 36 and have 2 children, one on the spectrum. I will blog about several aspects of my life, on several different topics as an ultra orthodox Jewish woman. Feel free to friend me on FB https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.beck.1004 (Rebecca is my pen name)

Pidjon Haben-redemption of the firstborn son.

A pidyon haben, or “redemption of the firstborn son,” is a ceremony wherein the father of a firstborn male redeems his son by giving a kohen (a priestly descendant of Aaron) five silver coins, thirty days after the baby’s birth. -chabad.org

For the exact reasons why we do this, please refer to the following link: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/928156/jewish/What-Why.htm

It’s 30 days after the birth of my little great nephew. He was her first, born naturally so a pidyon haben could be celebrated. It’s a special ceremony as not everyone can do it. No pidjon will be held if the child has been born by cesarean, if she is a girl or if the father is a Kohen. It was a long while since we had a pidjon haben in the family so it’s a special occasion. We all come dressed in our finery and wish each other mazel tov.

The baby is slumbering peacefully, looking regal in an all-white outfit. He is placed on a silver tray to show our love for this mitzvah (commandment) and will be bedecked with jewelry. Everyone eagerly gives a piece.

pidjon blur

He is being carried to the men’s side and the ceremony begins. The exchange between the father and the kohen follows. The father “redeems” his firstborn son by exchanging the equivalent of 5 silver coins with the Kohen, a blessing is recited and the baby is brought back to his mother.

We all sit down to a festive meal. It’s customary to include meat and wine. I’m enjoying a moment of relaxation in the midst of the hectic Passover preparations.

My son was asked to play on his keyboard and the background music adds a lot to the event. I’m grateful to have been a part of this most beautiful tradition of ours.

The Hasidic way of dating and marriage (in honor of Valentine)

As it’s Valentine’s day today, I thought I’d reshare this popular post about my engagement 🙂
Happy Valentine’s day!

Orthodoxsunflower

As Valentine’s day approaches, I was thinking it’s a good time to tell you how my shidduch (a date or match, often leading to marriage. The matching up of a man and a woman for purposes of marriage) went. In the non Jewish world, ours is what you would call an arranged marriage. I dislike that word though because in my mind, that equals a “forced” marriage. And mine, like most others in my community was anything but. At any time you have the option of saying no.

As a girl turns 18, it gives matchmakers a green light to start calling the parents. I belong to a certain Hasidic sect so the suggestions were all going to be eligible young men from the same sect. So, as I turned 18, the phones started ringing with suggestions. If a suggestion sounded promising, my parents went ahead and made many inquiries…

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(food struggle) Irritable bowel syndrome

If you have read my previous entries, you know that I’m in the middle of a treatment called PSE. I’m taking drops every day to unfreeze my emotions. I’m still taking them but besides crying a lot, I don’t feel much of a difference in my blocked head. I’ll have patience, though.

Last time I went to my doctor, I told her about my many cramps and bloated stomach. She diagnosed me with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Finally a name for all my misery!

The first thing I did was research IBS online. Time and again a diet came up as the only solution for relief. It’s called FoDMap diet. The foods are divided into high and low fodmaps. For the first 6-8 weeks, you eliminate all high fodmaps foods. After that, you slowly reintroduce them and see how your body reacts to them.

It’s not easy as one of the things not allowed are onions and garlic. I use onions for everything!! Some fruits aren’t allowed like apple, some vegetables like cauliflower and most gluten. I have been trying to eat gluten free until now and although I wasn’t very successful, it will be easy to get back into it.

Today, I woke up with an upset stomach so I’ll take it easy today but tomorrow it starts in full force!

Keep checking the blog for an update in a week or so.

What did you always want to read about

My writing has been stuck for a while. I have enough ideas, that’s not the problem. But I struggle to find an angle with every subject. I want to tell my stories but I think stories alone are not interesting. I have to learn to find something people can relate to.  Something that makes people say: “Me too!”. That’s the hardest part of writing. To find the lesson, the universal truth or at least something bigger than “I”.

I hear writing a lot improves writing. I really should be posting more on my blog. But I’m stuck here as well. I don’t know what to write about on here. Any suggestions as to what you’d like to read more of? I think I covered most of our holidays by now. I can’t be too personal as this blog is public and as much as I’d like to think that I’m anonymous, I’m sure it doesn’t take much to figure me out.

So I’d like to hear from you guys what you’d like to get out of this blog.

Thanks in advance!

Rebecca x

G-d knows what’s best for us.

I just reread my last blog entry. I remember that night. The heartfelt prayers by the holy candles, wishing for clarity and a solution.

I’m so glad to be able to tell you that our prayers have been answered. My son was accepted into a great yeshivah overseas. It looks like it was created just for him. He is one of 8 boys. This school was created for those boys who do not fit into our mainstream yeshivas where the program is rigorous. The learning is much less, they get plenty of individual warmth and attention, there is a psychologist on staff and they have a lot of fun and outings too. They dorm there too. So far, it’s been going really well! He sounds so happy when we speak to him. That makes our hearts happy.

Sometimes, when a bad thing happens; we question why. It’s hard to see the good in those moments. But I always got strength of something I once heard. Life is like a tapestry. The back of a tapestry looks terrible. Lots of tangled strings and knots and it is just one big mess. That’s what we humans see down here below. But when you look at it from the other side, there is a beautiful picture. G-d sees that picture. Our life unfolds as it should, with a beautiful tapestry but we don’t always see the big picture. We need to trust that everything that happens is for our good. I hope I don’t sound preachy because I’m actually talking to myself here.

I can now say that as hard as that whole situation was, it was ultimately for his own good. Had he stayed in his old school, who knows how things would have turned out? I would not have found that incredible school. He is only there for a short while but I can already hear him sound less stressed, more relaxed and overall happy. I kept telling myself that whole story WILL have a silver lining because G-d ultimately does what’s best for us and it’s not always the easy way. But we have all grown from this, my husband and me as a couple and my son and my husband too. As a family, this has really brought us together.

And that is the blessing in disguise.

Thank you all for the support and for reading what I have to say!

Rebecca

My prayer for the 8th night of Hannukah

It’s the 8th night of Hannukah. It’s written in our holy books that on the last night, you can ask G-d for anything you need. It’s an auspicious time for prayer and prayer requests. I am sitting by the menorah, together with my husband and children.

The candles are flickering slightly and as my husband sings the Psalms I gaze deeply into the holy flames, letting my mind wander. I have lots to pray for. I think of my dear son, who has such difficulty controlling his impulses, some of them downright harmful. One of his impulses got him kicked out of yeshivah. I’m praying for him to understand the gravity of his impulse and what his future could be if he doesn’t learn how to control it. I’m asking G-d to please help the psychiatrist find good meds to help him overcome his obsessions/compulsions and not to have to go through the same dance we had while trying to find the right meds for his ADD. (which we still haven’t).

Tears are starting to flow as I beseech G-d to find him the right Yeshivah which will accept him as he is and will be willing to help him as he confronts and works through his issues. My heart cannot accept that I will have to send him away from home that young but I can only hope that G-d made all this happen so that he could end up in the Yeshivah that will be best for him. I pray that G-d gives me the strength to have faith that this is all for the best and that we can see it sooner rather than later.

I hear my husband’s voice starting to shake. My heart goes out to him, too. This is very hard on him, much harder than it’s for me. A father has high hopes for his son. All he wants is to see him successful and happy. His heart breaks seeing his son at home all day. I can hear the prayer in his voice, no doubt praying the same as me.

The Chanukah candles are special, the whole holiday of Chanukah is special. We celebrate the miracle that’s happened many years ago. We can only hope that our prayers by the candles will go straight to heaven and that we may merit our own personal salvation as well.

Happy last day of Chanukah!