Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter


Marcia Stark Meth, Miriam Stark Zakon, and Emmy Stark Zitter

Life is a… washing machine? It’s a metaphor, but is it poetic? It’s so mundane. It’s so prosaic. It’s so ordinary. It’s so real.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Delicate Cycle,

Slightly Unbalanced


My Maytag has a useful feature. Stuff in too many towels or overload it with tangle-prone sheets, and a buzzer goes off, telling me that the load is unbalanced.

We live in a complicated world. Sometimes we could use a buzzer to tell us when things are out of balance. And sometimes, when you have to be that warning buzzer, things can get a little… delicate.

As department head in a frum girls’ college, I can spot a newly married kallah across the campus. Ring shining on her finger, face aglow, hands constantly touching sheitel or tichel to make sure it’s straight — all sure signs of the newlywed student.

Then there are signs of shanah rishonah stresses. The student whose grades plummet, the girl dozing through her classes. There are problems to deal with, yet within the range of normal. In a word — balanced.

But when my newly married student, let’s call her Aliza, decided to give up her college degree for a home-baked challah, I knew something was off balance. The question was: Should I start buzzing?

In her final semester of college, Aliza wanted to drop a class scheduled late on Thursday afternoons. This was no small matter. The class was required: Dropping it meant putting off graduation for a year. Since she and her chassan were planning to leave the country the following year, it meant giving up her degree for years — maybe for good.

Her reason for dropping the class? She needed Thursday afternoons to bake challos. Thursday nights she worked, Fridays were short, her freezer was too small to bake them earlier in the week.

Part of me wanted to laugh. Another part wanted to cry. But mostly I wanted to… buzz! To warn Aliza that she had to learn to balance responsibilities, old and new. Buzz! Of course, baking challos was a mitzvah and a great zechus, but the degree meant parnassah to keep her husband in kollel. Buzz! Wouldn’t finishing the degree she had worked so hard for balance a few months of eating store-bought

challos? Buzz!


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time