Generational Joy

September 6th, 2018 Posted by Susan's Musings 45 comments

Simcha is usually translated from Hebrew as happiness. I prefer to think of it as joy. I don’t know if an English scholar would agree, but in my mind, happiness is fleeting while joy, even when other events or the passage of time overtakes it, leaves a lasting impression. Eating ice cream makes me happy, but I can summon up the emotional atmosphere of eating ice cream with a good friend long after the treat has been consumed.

We have been blessed with a wonderfully busy summer. It began with the birth of a healthy baby grandson and ended with another similar gift. In between the two births, we celebrated the weddings of two of our children. While our basement flooding was not a highlight of the season, the tireless support of our son-in-law and grandsons in toting, carrying and sorting pounds of water-laden possessions certainly was.

A question mark hung over our annual week of Grandma Camp. Would I get it together in time to follow the tradition of it being a summer event or would we need to shoot for winter camp this year? Would the final baby of summer arrive on time and take priority or would he wait just a bit longer? He waited!

Eventually, it all came together. The five attendees looked much older and more mature than they appear in the photos of last year’s Grandma Camp.   I had a wonderful time spending the week with them. Since camp was at the end of the summer instead of its usual early July date, the fall holy days were just around the corner. I delighted in teaching the girls how to bake a traditional family recipe for Rosh HaShana.

I try to make mandlen (translated as soup nuts but bearing no relationship to items of that name in the supermarket) each year for the beginning of the new Jewish year. I inherited the recipe I use, and a bite transports me to my grandmother’s teensy Brooklyn kitchen where love was an ingredient in every morsel. When my mother-in-law shared her favorite recipes with me, the same recipe was in that treasure trove as well. Isn’t this photo where they are making mandlen wearing their personally designed aprons wonderful?

While one of my daughters, who as of yet has no children of her own, joked about child labor, seeing these little girls take their place in a chain of transmission of Torah, tradition, and, yes, food, brought great joy to me. May the coming year bring joy along with health, prosperity, peace, family and friendship to all of my treasured Musings readers.

 

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45 comments

What beautiful grandchildren!

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Thanks Annette,
That’s nice of you to say the conventional thing but I do try my best to keep Susan from inflicting her grandchild pictures on unsuspecting friends like you. After all, we know that nobody wants to look at pictures of other people’s pets, vacations, or grandchildren. I hope Susan learns this soon; I am trying.
Cordially
RDL

Claire Bradley-Johnston says:

Oh, Rabbi! I disagree! Men love to show off their boats, motorcycles, man caves, etc…We women folk love to share our pictures of our children (and certainly grandchildren when my day hopefully comes). Looking at your granddaughters brought back wonderful memories of my grandparents and cousins. Is there anything more magical and happy when being a child than being around good family and good times? Those memories last a lifetime! When I saw Susan’s pictures, it just is beautiful to see a newborn. I’m 54 and my daughter is getting ready to turn 17 close to 9-11. Even during that tragic time (she was born in 2001), I can still recall the great joy she brought. I homeschool both her and my 15 year old son and I am grateful for the time we share daily. Blessings and continued happiness to you and your family!

Susan Lapin says:

Your daughter is growing up in momentous times, Claire, literally from birth. May you have much blessing from both your children.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

With all due respect, dear Claire,
A baby is not a boat or a motorcycle. Not even close. When you’ve seen one baby you’ve seen ’em all, right? I mean how exactly does one baby look different from another? An extra eye? Two noses? A baby is a baby is a baby–unless it’s your own of course. That I get. But inflicting pictures of your baby upon unsuspecting and innocent bystanders is in very bad taste. It’s right up there with spitting in public. But a motorcycle…now that is different. No two are the same. There is the brand, the color, and the style. Is it an inline engine or a transverse engine. Is it driven by belt, chain, or differential drive? And so on. See my drift? And boats? Let’s not even go there. While you pretend to make polite noises over someone else’s baby, you could instead be gazing upon another example of one of humanity’s finest achievement–the boat. Each perfect in its unique symmetry and beauty. So I invite you and all other motorcycle and boat lovers to join me in putting a stop to this insidious trend of imposing your children’s pictures on other people. It’s just not polite.
Cordially
RDL

Lynn Perrizo says:

No, no, no Rabbi! I wish Susan would show more pictures!

Susan Lapin says:

That’s what I think, Lynn!

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

For heaven’s sake, Lynn,
Please stop encouraging Susan. You are undoing all my work in helping her see that showing everyone grandchild pictures only encourages voyeurism and in any event, bores people beyond endurance. Meanwhile everyone has to express polite enthusiasm while pretending that they find other people’s offspring “absolutely adorable.” Enough already.
Cordially
RDL

Allisa says:

I respectfully (and strongly) disagree my dear friend. I believe these wonderful stories, accompanied by photos, are likely some of the most eagerly read posts. We like to see into your lives. It is extra-special. ❤️

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

What is this, Allisa?
Pick-on-rabbi week?
Cordially
RDL

Susan Lapin says:

Allisa, I’m so happy to hear from you!

Susan Hire says:

Rabbi, I love looking at pics of your family!

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Dear Susan–
You’re probably only saying that to side with my Susan and to irritate me because I am so sure that people are utterly bored by pics of other people’s families. Now if we posted pics of cute things our kitten is doing or the antics of our llama, well then I’d understand your enthusiasm.
Cordially
RDL

Susan Lapin says:

You will not get an argument from me on that, Annette. And my husband actually agrees also. His curmudgeonliness is put on.

Jennifer B.Doliinger says:

…Beautiful family!

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Thank you Jennifer,
it may be beautiful (to us) in the same way that most people find their own families beautiful. But posting public pictures of our family, I constantly advise Susan, is merely attempting to solicit those mandatory polite comments that we all find ourselves compelled to make when others bore us beyond endurance with pics of their little Barbara enjoying a lollipop or their little Freddy holding a frog.
Cordially
RDL

Tracy says:

Oh, you are so very blessed! Congratulations on your new babies and the marriages. Your grand daughters are beautiful!

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Thanks Tracy
You’re most kind; though she doesn’t yet realize it, I do keep telling Susan that nobody, absolutely nobody has the slightest interest in pictures of other people’s g’children.
Cordially
RDL

Susan Lapin says:

Yes, we are blessed, Tracy. And as I told Annette, my husband is a complete softie for these little girls.

James says:

Grandchildren are such a joy! We wish you great joy with yours in the coming year. And no more floods! Arks have gone out of fashion these days.

Susan Lapin says:

Thank you, James.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Thanks James,
Yes, they are but only to their grandparents. To everyone else they’re nothing but screaming blobs of protoplasm or rambunctious rogues. I’m still working on getting Susan to see this simple truth.
Cordially
RDL

James says:

Well, I myself am naught but a screaming blob of rambunctious rogue protoplasm. Or is that the infamous Second Childhood?

Still Waiting says:

What a wonderful idea: “Grandma Camp”! I love it! I’m still waiting for my eldest to marry, the younger two are in school…so no grandchildren for me for a least a few more years…but I will certainly remember this idea!

Susan Lapin says:

In retrospect, time really does pass in the blink of an eye.

Don Gher says:

Love the column, Susan! Mary normally doesn’t allow me in her kitchen and relegates me to only grill duty, she does consent to letting me make a crustless blueberry (or other berry) pie that we learned to make in a Sur La Table cooking class. Over the past few months I have had the pleasure of making it a few times with our four granddaughters on the Sammamish Plateau and our two granddaughters in London. I feel your joy!

Susan Lapin says:

Sounds delicious, Don. We miss the Sammamish Plateau!

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Dear Don–
You don’t know how incompetent I feel when summer and BBQ season rolls around. I must be the only human with XY chromosomes who wasn’t born with superior outdoor culinary skills. Oh I do my best, and the family politely smiles and then everyone encourages one of my sons-in-law to take over.
We miss seeing you,
Blessings,
RDL

Janice says:

Your pictures and the bantering of Rabbi Dan literally brought a tear to my eye! I’m sorry but I actually LOVE seeing pictures of other people’s grand-babies and the JOY they bring. I would only agree with Rabbi Dan on this point, that pictures of others grandbabies should be dosed our like medicine – in limited amounts. You got it just right Susan!

Susan Lapin says:

I also like seeing pictures of friends’ babies and children. That is the future.

Janice says:

Absolutely. And Rabbi Dan plays the curmudgeon role so well but he doesn’t fool me! ;). L’shanah tovah to you both and your family.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Dear Janice–
How dare you?
Cordially
RDL

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Dear Janice–
Yes, I know how you feel. When I saw that Susan had posted baby pics all over her Musings, it literally brought a tear to my eye also. In fact, a veritable Niagara-like cascade of tears. I know just how you felt. And by the way, you don’t have to pretend with me. You can just be yourself and acknowledge that pictures of other people’s children goads you to speechless fury. The best amount is none.
Cordially
RDL

Kathy says:

Oh, what a wonderful post! Passing traditions to grandchildren is a treasure I had no idea was so deeply precious till my own grandchildren got old enough to receive them. Thanks for sharing about this year’s Grandma camp, and your joy. L’shanah Tovah!

Susan Lapin says:

Thank you, Kathy. I don’t build each camp (4 days/summer) around a theme, but this year we did many things around family, including reading a book my aunt wrote about her childhood and having the girls make scrapbooks from pictures of their mother’s childhood. That led to talking about the people in the pictures with my daughters and it was very special.

Edward Rubinstein says:

Chag sameach to Susan, Rabbi Lapin, all of your children, and ESPECIALLy your adorable grandchildren.

Susan Lapin says:

And to you, Edward.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Thank you Edward–
You can’t really go wrong calling people’s grandchildren adorable but as an objective statement of fact…well, let’s just say it falls a tiny bit short. But meanwhile, your warm and welcome wishes are heartily reciprocated.
Cordially
RDL

Karen says:

Susan, I love to read your grandma stories and enjoy seeing your photos! Please keep them coming! They are giving me ideas for the future.

Susan Lapin says:

Thank you, Karen!

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Dear Karen–
This is me! You don’t have to pretend to enjoy those baby pics that Susan misguidedly posts. We value truth here so feel free to express your repugnance for photos of other people’s babies and if you feel that one (or both) of those baby pics depicts a pretty rusty specimen, just go ahead and say so.
Cordially
RDL

Susan Gilliland says:

Pretty sure I saw a certain Rabbi friend of ours o Instagram this very day with a grandchild in tow! I completely agree with Susan. We women, love the babies! It keeps us in touch with our youth and keeps happiness within our grasp. However, your friend here, will discuss airplanes with you at a moments notice.! ❤️

Susan Lapin says:

I didn’t even know my husband had an Instagram account.

Susan Gilliland says:

lol I believe he has 2. one is the official business one and the other is a personal. lol. Hope he doesn’t get annoyed with me. 😁❤️

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Well, thanks a lot Susan!
I’ve managed to keep that secret all this time and now it’s out!
That’s the last secret I entrust to you. Oh well….
Blessings,
RDL

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