Monday, September 27, 2010

Chol Hamoed Outings: The Soundtrack

A Guest Post By E. Fink

For your typical frum family, Chol Hamoed is a time for family outings. (Check out this picture I took of our son on Venice Beach 150 steps away from my Shul.) When the whole family gets together in the car, some disagreements about music can ensue. I am the oldest of seven and my musical tastes matured earlier than that of my younger siblings (obviously) so when they wanted Uncle Moishy, I wanted MBD or Dveykus. Then we got the Marvelous Middos Machine. This was a great compromise because the songs were Abie Rottenberg songs, the story was entertaining for the younger children and the message was wholesome enough that we were (hopefully) learning something during the trip.

When our older son was old enough to understand the story we got all three MMM CDs for him (and us). He loved them and now that he is 7, he appreciates them even more while the almost 2 year old enjoys the music as well. Win / Win!

I recommend MMM for your family. The songs are good enough, the characters are funny enough and the lessons positive enough for everyone. The middos that the songs teach are important. (Not to get angry, not to take revenge, treat animals nicely, not to be greedy, respect your parents, ahavas Yisrael etc. among many others.)

However, listening to the CDs with a critical ear does raise the issue of some pernicious messages. For example, the MMM has a massive satellite on the roof of the home of Dr. Middos. He gets busted for not having a license ("A license? I didn't know I needed a license!?) But instead of requiring the good Doctor to get a license, the officer witnesses a Middos Alert and upon seeing how amazing the MMM is, he grants Dr. Middos a pardon and says that if anyone gives him any trouble - send him to me. Dr. Middos gets off the hook. There is no citation and now he doesn't even need a license. I can't help but think that this a subtle, but wrong message about how some frum people deal with the law and its enforcement. It's almost as if we are doing something so important that the laws don't apply to us... which of course is not the case.

In the end, Dr. Middos was pardoned and was in compliance with the law. It just makes me a little uneasy that Dr. Middos didn't just get the license...

Of course, listening to CDs that were recorded 25 years ago have many funny anachronisms that your kids will not understand and will make you chuckle. (Remember Construx?)

So if you're ears are bleeding from too much Country Yossi and Shmuel Kunda (generally silly CDs with little meaningful content) go and get the Marvelous Middos Machine and enjoy...!

(This was totally not a paid advertisement - just a friendly recommendation)

Search for more information about the Marvelous Middos Machine at

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