July 20, 2024
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July 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We faced a great dilemma in our household last week. Nina came upon a card sent to her parents for their 50th Anniversary. It was not just any card—the sender was the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. To the male mind in our home this was a no-brainer—throw it out. The female mind of course thinks differently. “Maybe it will be worth something one day. I think we should hold onto it.” Of course the male reminded his wife that one day if we don’t throw it out our beloved children will just put it in the dumpster with everything else. Have they no feeling for memorabilia? Reluctantly it went into the shredder. How do we decide what we throw out and what we save?

Moving is the perfect opportunity to go through one’s belongings and decide what to keep and what to discard. It has only been since we moved here that we have realized how much more we should have gotten rid of. Then again, where is our fondue pot? We loved to use it and are planning to make a cheese fondue for Shavuot. Was that thrown out? We really hope not.

Is this a man/woman thing? Is it a generational disparity? We just returned from our usual Montreal sojourn and stayed with dear friends—both physicians and both in the prime of their careers. It was really funny to see how much “junk” they have. It isn’t really junk, per se—it is what we all collect over the years. Scented candles along shelves in some rooms, dried flowers, the odd picture in a frame, a decorative dish or bowl here and there and tons of other “tchotkes.” We always said that we would not allow ourselves to collect the myriad things that we have seen in other people’s homes. We want just plain and simple lines. No “ungepatchke” for us. Yet what we think is plain and simple our children will probably think is “gross.” We are all guilty of collecting and then collecting more.

We guess that it is human nature.

Last week one of our guests for Shabbos lunch was an 8-year-old boy. Nina immediately went down to the basement to bring up from her stash of toys some things to keep him busy and happy. He mentioned that he liked to build things so right away a barrel of toys appeared—some with connecting toys in plastic, wooden blocks and lo and behold there were the alef bet blocks that Mordechai made for our daughter Malkie while we lived at YU. He purchased the wooden blocks and then took them home to our Washington Heights mansion where he sanded them, painted them and then carefully placed a Hebrew letter on each block. We still have those??? That is crazy. However, they are still being used. Instinct would have said upon moving that we should dispose of them; aside from everything else, they are very heavy. They probably escaped the eagle eye of the person most concerned about getting rid of things by accident. (Guess who?) Here we are with a toy built with love for our first child that is still being used for our grandchildren, great grandchildren and Shabbat company. We still have our original Fisher Price garage and Tonka dump truck. What would we have accomplished by throwing them out? On the other hand we also still have pictures of members of our families that we have no idea whatsoever of who they are. We have pure linen tablecloths from “the old country” that we will never use. We have art work from our grandchildren from the time that they were able to put a crayon in their hands. Even more absurd is that we have letters and art work from our children that they want no part of. When we found a “cute” picture of one of our daughters and left it on her desk she immediately chastised her mother for how she allowed her to wear such ugly clothing when she was a child! It’s time to have two strong drinks (at least) and bite the bullet! THROW IT ALL OUT!

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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