By Mordechai Schmutter
I think I’ve figured out why I seem to be losing my memory. And it’s not because I’m getting older. I mean, I am getting older. But that might not be it.
My wife heard a shiur about things that are kasha l’shikcha—things that they say make you forget your learning. Anyway, my theory is that maybe doing these things makes you forget not just your learning, but everything else too. I actually didn’t think I’d been doing any of these things, but once I listened to the shiur, I realized that I probably have been. So I’m going to list them here in case you’ve been doing them too, and forgot that it was an issue.
Putting on Two Items
Of Clothing at Once
So most people will say, “I don’t do this one.” Taking off two items at the same time, sure. But taking off is a machlokes.
If it’s a machlokes, does that mean you lose your memory or not?
I would say I hope not, especially when you come up the stairs at night to find your kids’ shirt, undershirt, and tzitzis on the floor of the hallway still attached. And inside out.
But maybe you do it too. For example, I frequently put my Shabbos coat and scarf on at the same time. Single handedly, in shul, while somehow holding my tallis bag. I must be putting my entire tallis bag through the sleeve, because I have no memory of how I get it on otherwise.
Putting Your Clothes Under Your Head When You Sleep
This comes up if for example you’re sleeping in a strange place and they forget to give you a pillow. Like in class. Sleeping on your arm until you have button imprints on your forehead is not a problem, though, because you’re still wearing the garment.
The rabbi did say that if it’s someone else’s clothing, it might be okay to sleep on, so my advice is that if you’re trying to sleep on an airplane or something, you should put your head on someone’s shoulder.
No one does that in class, though.
Sleeping With Shoes On
So you figure, who would do that, right? I mean, when I lie down for a nap on a Shabbos afternoon, the one thing I do take off is my shoes. Great. But what happens when I fall asleep in a chair on Friday night?
And what about sleeping in the car? A lot of people sleep on long car rides, and they don’t think about taking off their shoes. Or they do think about it, and they realize that if you take off your shoes in a car, everybody complains about it, and you can’t fall asleep.
Maybe people have to start washing their feet right before long car trips when they go to the bathroom that last time. And also at all the rest stops.
And falling asleep on airplanes is also an issue. You need to take off your shoes. And then after the plane lands, you find them at the front of the plane. The pilot’s like, “Whose shoes are these? I found them under the brakes.”
Do planes have brakes?
I also don’t think any of the people sleeping in my class have their shoes off.
Wiping Your Hands On Your Clothing
This is the one I do the most, I think. My wife was very quick to point out that after I wash dishes, my shirt is wet. But I don’t think that’s from wiping my hands on my shirt. I think that’s from the spoons in the sink fighting back. (“If I have to get washed, you’re getting washed too.”)
But a lot of people wipe their hands on their clothing. It’s like, “Hey, clothing are basically towels anyway.”
SHAYLAH: What about wiping your hands on somebody else’s clothing?
The poskim actually discuss this. So you might be able to make a deal: I’ll wipe my hands on you, and you wipe yours on me. Or you can suddenly pretend to hug your kids and secretly wipe your hands on them. Make some memories!
Wearing Clothing Inside Out
I rarely do this one, B”H.
I mean, socks are hard to tell in the dark. And honestly, I don’t even really know what inside out is on my tzitzis. Half the time I’m probably wearing them inside out.
But like some people flip their yarmulkes inside out when it rains. Ostensibly to protect the yarmulke? Does that even work? Unless you have a plastic lining on the inside…
“But what should they do?” you ask.
Well, when it looks like rain, you put on an older hat, right?
Eating Olives Regularly
It’s not actually clear what “regularly” means. It’s a huge discussion between the poskim.
So this makes us nervous. Why do the stores even sell olives? Are you just supposed to buy them so you can compare their size to other things for various halachic reasons?
How often is regularly? I mean, I probably have olives every Shabbos. Is that regularly?
If you would ask if I have challah regularly, I’d say yes, and it’s all the same meals.
I don’t know if this is true, but when I was growing up, someone told me they’d heard that we were not supposed to eat seven olives in a single sitting. So okay, you sit down and eat fewer.. How long do you wait before eating more olives? Do you wait six hours? And what do you do if you can’t count the olives? What if you’re having a salad, and there are chopped olives in it? Do you reassemble them to see how many olives you’re eating? Just pull the olives out of the salad, and your host says, “You don’t like olives?”
And you’re like, “No, I love olives! I need to make sure I’m not eating too many!”
And your host says, “Oh. Well, I put 42 olives in, and there are seven people here, so…” and you’re like, “How well did you mix?”
Is it crazy that all this talk is making me crave olives?
Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has published eight books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].