Nachas Vs Nachos

Nachas vs. Nachos

I like nachas. Of course I like nachas, who doesn’t? But I like more than the experience of Nachas, I also like the word nachas. I write it, say it, bless people that they should have it. In letters I always close with it, “you should have nachas” etc. etc.

The funny thing is that my spell checker doesn’t seem to care for it. As a matter of fact it has its own constant wish that every single time I wish nachas it wishes for its secret desire. It wishes for nachos. Just a difference of one letter but it really makes a world of difference. I want nachas it wants nachos.

What is nachas? If you don’t know then I can help you with a general definition but it won’t do the word true justice. The mainstream dictionaries don’t have a translation. The online Wikipedia research considers it not to be English but rather Yinglish and meaning (נחת) — pride (usage: I have naches from you). So it is Jewish pride. When one gets/gives a sense of joy from/to a relative, usually a parent or grandparent for something they’ve done or accomplished.

It has a lot of similarities to nachos, in the sense that they both make you feel good, they fill you up etc. However, unlike nachos, you can never have too much nachas. It is like “wonder” bread, or even better like the beer, it fills you up and never lets you down.

So, I wonder, why is my computer bent on nachos when I want nachas?

[This column didn’t start out with the intention to be funny or witty or an experiment of the English language, however, let’s see where this leads us.]

As the great Baal Shem Tov taught, everything in life is there to teach us a lesson and ultimately bring us closer to G-d, so I asked myself, what am I to learn from my computers constant peppering me with a choice between nachos and nachas?

We are ending the holy month of Elul, the 30 day preparation period before the high holy days. Where each moment counts and is an opportunity to delve deep within ourselves and find aspects of our character or behavior that needs repair. From the Kabbalistic perspective the last 12 days prior to Rosh Hashanah (that began this past Wednesday) is actually so precious that one can repair a month in a day. I.e. the 18th of Elul corresponds to the Hebrew Month of Tishre and the 19th to Cheshvon etc., so if utilized properly one can genuinely get huge amount accomplished in a very short space of time.

If this is indeed so, perhaps my computer’s friendly reminder is in effect asking me to make a choice; Do you want to give your Father in heaven nachas, true joy, or do you want to give yourself temporal pleasure (nachos), the choice is yours.

The funny thing is that even when I answer the computers question regarding whether I want to use that word, it then asks me do you “really” want to use that word, it’s not in our dictionary, and I have to say yes, yet again, to really affirm how I feel. Perhaps this is G-d’s system of letting us know that giving nachas isn’t easy.

The only way to remove the constant asking of the question “are you sure you meant nachas and not nachos?” is by “adding it to our permanent dictionary.

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